The Cemetery Crown Jewel of Cincinnati: Visiting Ohio’s Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Part III

Are you ready for more stories from Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum? Because I’ve got many more! The first one I’m going to share is important because I’m told this statue is one of the most visited in the entire cemetery.

Thomas Singleton is unique among all the people I’ve ever researched. His records indicate he was born “on the sea” in 1842, meaning his family was traveling to America at the time. His occupation was listed as “tea dealer” when he enlisted to serve in the Union Army in 1861.

In 1879, Thomas married widow Mathilda “Tillie” Herbert Jordan. Tillie had given birth to a daughter with her first husband (who died of tuberculosis in 1870) but little Viola died in 1871. The 1880 Census notes Thomas and Tillie had two little girls, Anna and Alice, born only 10 months apart. Thomas was working for A. Montgomery & Company and the family lived just across the Ohio River in Covington, Ky.

Chunkie Singleton’s grave is one of the most visited in Spring Grove.

“Only God Knows How We Miss Her”

I don’t know which daughter garnered the name “Chunkie” but I suspect it was Alice, the younger one. Chunkie died of “malignant scarlet fever” on March 28, 1884 at the age of three. Even on her death certificate, her name is listed as Chunkie.

Chunkie’s monument strikes a chord with everyone who sees it. She wears a dress with a pinafore and a bowed sash. In her left hand she holds a parasol. At the base are the words “Only God Knows How We Miss Her.” People leave coins and trinkets next to her little feet.

Anna never appears in records again and in the 1900 Census, it notes that Tillie had four children with only one surviving. That one child would be Bessie, who was born in June 1883. Thomas died on July 1, 1897 of “congestion of the brain”. By 1910, Bessie had married Elwood Cree and had a daughter, Susan. Tillie lived with Bessie and her family until her death in 1918. She and Thomas share a monument beside Chunkie’s at Spring Grove.

A Faithful Companion

Much less is known about William Boon Redman, whose marker is notable because it is accompanied by a separate one that I can only guess was his faithful companion.

Born on Aug. 14, 1846, William was the youngest of three children born to tailor Benjamin T. Redman, Sr. and Henrietta Boon Redman. William died at the age of seven on March 7, 1854 for unknown reasons.

William shares a marker with his grandfather, Josiah Redman (1785-1860), who died six years after William. You can barely see Josiah’s name inscribed on the open book on the top of the marker.

William Redman died six years before his grandfather, Josiah.

Not far away is a small statue of a dog with a broken chain at its paws. I suspect it is for William but was it possibly for Josiah instead? I don’t know for sure.

Was this dog meant for William Redman or Josiah?

According to the 1880 U.S. Census, Benjamin was sick with “sun stroke”, so I suspect that he was an invalid by this time. The family fortunes must have taken a turn for the worse in the years that followed. An 1893 Cincinnati directory noted that Benjamin was living in the “Old Men’s Home” and Henrietta resided in the “Widow’s Home”. Benjamin died in 1906 at the age of 93 while Henrietta died in 1903 at age 90. Both are buried in unmarked graves with William and Josiah.

A Controversial Monument

One of the more unusual markers at Spring Grove is the Lawler family monument. It was installed around 1847 by Davis Bevan Lawler to honor his parents, former Philadelphia mayor Matthew Lawler (1755-1831) and Ann Bevan Lawler (1761-1835). The Lawlers were previously buried in Cincinnati’s Episcopal Burial Ground but Davis Lawler had their remains moved to Spring Grove not long after it opened. Lawler was instrumental in the establishment of Spring Grove.

Some Cincinnati residents were dismayed by the installation of the Lawler monument in 1850, which featured an Egyptian sphinx on the top.

Davis B. Lawler was born in 1786 in Philadelphia and traveled the world when he reached adulthood. That led to his being appointed consul to Berlin, where he met his wife, Augusta Kreutz. The couple married around 1815 and had a son, Nicholas, in 1818 before returning to Cincinnati around 1819.  Son Benjamin was born soon after but only lived a month. They also adopted a German child, Rudolph, born in 1824, who died in California in 1864.

Davis operated a successful dry good store in Cincinnati until around 1826 when his purchase of an interest in the local water works made him a wealthy man after he sold it to the city years later.

Son Nicholas died of “bilious fever” in 1837. Augusta passed away at age 70 on Feb. 25, 1869. Davis, paralyzed due to a stroke since 1867, soon followed on Aug. 26, 1869 at age 83. He left an estate estimated at half a million dollars at the time.

Made of blue marble, the Lawler sphinx created quite a stir when it was installed and considered “anti-Christian” at the time.

Fighting Over the Will

Davis Lawler’s original will left everything to Augusta. But later codicils claimed that if she died before him, his estate should go to her German relatives. That did not sit well with his American kin, who filed claims that Davis was mentally unstable when he wrote the codicils. I was unable to find out how that touchy issue was resolved.

The Lawlers’ blue marble Egyptian sphinx caused a great stir when it was installed, with many calling it pagan and “anti-Christian”. But some lauded it as a pleasant change from the usual Christian iconography of crosses and urns. In truth, I believe it was a reflection of Davis Lawler’s interest in world cultures and history. When he died, he left a vast book collection reflecting his wide range of tastes. So choosing a sphinx to top the family monument is not that surprising.

A Master Craftsman

I’ll wrap up this installment with the story of a monument Ken made sure to show me during the tour and I’m very glad he did. It has the power to truly tug at the heart strings. Thanks to a blogger named Dan who writes Queen City Survey, I found some great information on Charles “Carl” Dannenfelser and his family.

The Dannenfelser monument is one of the few I’ve ever seen featuring a woman kneeling next to a draped chair.

Born in 1854 in Germany, Carl arrived in America around 1871 and married another German immigrant, Louisa Geiskimeyer. Together they had six children. Carl was a master carver and cabinet maker, opening a business called the Art Joinery Co. That interested me a great deal because my own great-grandfather, Bernard Muller, was a carpenter and cabinet maker. I own a chiffarobe he made in 1940 for my father.

This ad for Carl Dannenfelser’s business was in the The American Israelite, a Cincinnati newspaper, on Nov. 16, 1922. By that time, his oldest son Phillip was running it.

Carl is credited by historian Walter Langsam as the craftsman for the library woodwork in the Charles Phelps Taft home, now the Taft Museum (see below), and the woodwork in the Marcus Fechheimer Residence on Garfield Place. I found this picture of the library at the Taft Museum, which shows off that beautiful woodwork.

Carl Dannenfelser’s work can be seen in the woodwork of the library of the Carl Phelps Taft Home (now the Taft Museum). (Photo source: Taft Museum web site)

He also carved this tableau of the Good Samaritan on the ablo (pulpit) at the Mother of God Church in Covington, Ky. (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati) that is still there today.

Dannenfelser’s carved panel of the parable of the Good Samaritan is on the ablo (pulpit) at Mother of God Church in Covington, Ky. (Photo source: Elyce Feliz, Flickr)

Carl died in 1916 of rectal cancer at the age of 61. Louisa died of kidney disease in 1936 at the age of 81. Sons Phillip and Ceasar were running the business, with Phillip also undertaking interior decorating. He died from a long-term heart ailment less than a month after his mother in 1936. Ceasar died in 1969. Dannenfelser siblings Phillip, Ceasar, and Elsa are buried with their parents in the Dannenfelser plot with their spouses.

The face of the statue kneeling beside the chair reflects grief and sadness. Note the rose in her hand.

The inscription on the side of the chair reads “The best is yet to be. The last of life for which the world is made” and comes from a poem written by British poet Robert Browning.

“The best is yet to be.”

More tales from Spring Grove are coming!

Stained glass from the Joseph Carew family mausoleum. A wealthy businessman, Carew was the namesake of the second-tallest building in Cincinnati, the Carew Tower. Built in 1930, it cost $33 million dollars (amid the Great Depression) and is 49 stories tall.



The Cemetery Crown Jewel of Cincinnati: Visiting Ohio’s Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Part II

I’m still at Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today I’ll share the stories of three different families with striking monuments that match their histories. This first one is actually not a monument but a mausoleum.

When you first see the Dexter family mausoleum as I did in 2013, you might mistake it for a chapel. This commanding edifice is the final resting place for 20 members of the Dexter family. And it does contain a small chapel.

Built in 1870, the Dexter mausoleum was never fully completed.

Edmund Dexter’s Grand Visions

Born in 1801 in England, Edmund Dexter, Sr. came to America in the 1820s. He married New Yorker Mary Ann Dellinger in 1829 and they had a large family: five sons and four daughters. Dexter became a prosperous businessman as a liquor distributor.

The Dexters purchased land on the corner of Fourth and Broadway in 1838 but the grand mansion they built there was not fully completed until 1858. Some sources I found say that the Dexters entertained author Charles Dickens there in 1842. Later, it would be purchased by the Western & Southern Life Insurance Company. It was torn down around 1914.

Completion of the Dexter Mansion was in 1858, only a few years before Edmund Dexter, Sr. died. (Photo source: The Enquirer Magazine, Sept. 28, 1924)

When Edmund Dexter, Sr. died in 1862 at age 61, he left his widow and heirs a considerable sum. He was buried at Spring Grove but in 1870, the grand mausoleum that would eventually contain the remains of most of his family was built. Cincinnati architect James Keys Wilson was in charge of designing the Gothic Revival masterpiece, which may have been inspired by the famous Parisian church, Sainte-Chapelle.

Edmund Dexter, Sr. died in 1862 at the age of 61.

The mausoleum’s locked lower level has 12 marble catacombs where four generations of Dexters reside. Behind the locked door to the top level is a marble-lined chapel that is 12 feet wide, 30 feet long, and 34 feet high.

The Dexter mausoleum cost about $100,000, which would equal about $1.7 million today.

The $100,000 it cost to build the family mausoleum equals about $1.7 million in today’s money. But the Dexter mausoleum was never finished by builder Joseph Foster. Unknown financial issues left it without its planned stained glass windows and a manual elevator that was to reach down into the catacombs.

So how many people are inside the Dexter Mausoleum besides Edmund Sr. and Mary Ann (who died in 1875)? According to a newspaper article, there are thought to be a total of 20 people. That list includes Edmund Dexter Jr. (1835-1879), the second of the Dexter sons, who helped took over running the family business after his father’s death. He would die in 1879 at age 43 of “tuberculosis of the bowels.”

A Contested Will

Also interred within the Dexter Mausoleum is Annie L. Dexter (1856-1916), the eldest of Charles Dexter’s four daughters and Edmund Sr.’s granddaughter. Annie, who was single and died of pneumonia in 1916 in Quebec, left her younger sister, Alice Dexter Walker, out of her will. Annie’s estate was around $700,000. Alice challenged Annie’s will and settled out of court. “She had never shown me any affection,” Annie said of Alice in her will.

Granddaughter Alice (1863-1944) was married to University of Cincinnati Spanish professor Paul F. Walker. She had one son, Carroll “Deck” Dexter Walker, (1906-1960) who had to change his name to Charles Dexter in order to collect a $20,000 inheritance from his Aunt Annie. He is buried elsewhere at Spring Grove with his wife, Dorothy.

The Eyes Have It

My next story involves another prosperous Cincinnati businessman but his story is much more troubling than the Dexter family’s.

If you walk by C.C. Breuer’s monument, his eyes may be following you.

What drew me to Charles Breuer (thanks to Ken’s guidance) was the fact that the bust of the man himself that’s on the side of his monument contains a pair of glass eyes. There are a few stories behind why he requested that his bust’s eyes have real glass eyes inserted in them. One was because he wanted to “keep an eye on things” after he was gone.

But the more I read about C.C. Breuer’s past, the more I realized this man had issues that went way beyond requests like this one. He apparently thought about his eventual demise quite a bit, purchasing plots at Spring Grove years in advance.

From Butcher to Real Estate Baron

Born in 1845 in Germany, Charles C. Breuer made his way to America sometime before the Civil War. Settling in Cincinnati, he married Annie Burkart in the 1860s and worked as a butcher in the 1870s. As he prospered, the couple had at least seven children together.

By the time Charles divorced Annie in the 1880s, he had switched from operating a butcher shop to dabbling in real estate. He married Katherine Grotenkemper in 1889. Together, they had two daughters, Ruth (1893) and Helen (1895). It was only about six months after Helen’s birth that Katherine died of pneumonia at the age of 36. Charles was amassing several properties and gaining wealth rapidly.

Charles C. Breuer went from simple butcher to wealthy real estate mogul but he was often at odds with his business associates.

It was in 1904 that Charles’ name began hitting the newspapers for various court cases, including a charge of assault against him when he cut a tenant he disagreed with. He also began entrusting his housekeeper, Georgia Lee Gholson (who was from Cobb County, Ga., where I once lived), with some of his properties and guardianship of Ruth and Helen, who were none too keen on their father’s new love interest.

Sleeping on His Casket

By 1905, Charles had married Georgia and his two teenage daughters were living in an apartment across the Ohio River in Covington, Ky., being cared for by neighbors. Charles had the girls brought into juvenile court under the charge of “incorrigibility” and the family’s dirty laundry was aired.

During this time, Breuer became obsessed with his own death. The story of how he purchased two copper-lined caskets (costing $500 each) for he and Georgia and then stored them under their bed made headlines in several newspapers.

The article got his daughters’ names wrong but the story of C.C. Breuer sleeping on his own coffin was true. (Photo source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 26, 1908)

Eventually, Charles dropped the case against the girls but the judge ruled that Charles had to provide his daughters with a living via the rental of one of his many buildings. While this was being finalized, an infuriated Breuer plotted to blow up the building to keep his daughters from receiving it. Fortunately, he was discovered before he could complete the job. The story even made headlines in the New York Times.

Charles C. Breuer attempted to burn down his own building to keep his daughters from getting the income from its rental. (Photo source: Chillicothe (Ohio) Gazette, Jan. 18, 1908.)

Beginning of the End

In court, Charles was judged insane and put in the custody of Georgia. One article noted he was reunited with Ruth and Helen in court, their legal matters resolved. But his mental state continued to rapidly deteriorate. By July, Georgia had reached her limit and Charles was taken to Longview Hospital, a Cincinnati mental institution. He died on August 20, 1908.

According to newspaper accounts, Charles was embroiled in 50 different court cases at the time of his death so I have a feeling there wasn’t much money left to leave his family.

One story claims that Charles Breuer requested that his own eyes be removed from his corpse and placed within the glass eyes inserted in his bust.

I traced Ruth and Helen to 1910 when they were boarding in a home in Cincinnati. Ruth was working as a stenographer and Helen as a bookkeeper. I lost track of Ruth but Helen married and eventually moved to Tennessee where she died in 1966.

Georgia lived to the age of 77 and died in 1948. She is buried beside Charle, along with some of his children from his first wife, Annie. But I don’t know if Georgia was buried in that $500 copper-lined casket.

A Young Family on the Rise

Fortunately, the Emery family wasn’t nearly as dysfunctional as the Breuers. But they did know their fair share of tragedy, which resulted in the creation of one of Spring Grove’s most beautiful statues.

Born in Wales in 1830, Thomas J. Emery came to America with his family at the age of 6. Thomas was the eldest son of the founder of a soon-to-be developed empire built on candle manufacturing, real estate, and housing construction. Around 1865, he married accomplished New Yorker Mary Muhlenberg Hopkins.

Photo of the Emery boys in their childhood. (Photo source:

The couples’ fortunes rose as their family grew, with Sheldon arriving in 1867 and Albert being born in 1868. Eventually, both boys were sent to St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. to continue their education.

Tragedy Strikes

On Feb. 6, 1884, Albert went sledding with some classmates and was in an accident. Sadly, he died a few days later on Feb. 11, 1884 at the age of 15.

This newspaper clipping is the only mention I could find related to Albert Emery’s death. (Photo source: The Dayton Herald, Feb. 6, 1884)

One source I found said that Sheldon graduated from Harvard Law School but I wasn’t able to find anything to support that. City directories place him living with his parents until his early 20s when he began to work as a clerk in his father’s thriving real estate business. Thomas also owned a candle-making factory that employed many people.

Sheldon died of pneumonia on Oct. 26, 1890, leaving his parents childless. They were understandably devastated.

The original statue held a clamshell in its hands.

In response, the Emerys commissioned a baptismal statue in memory of their sons, Sheldon and Albert. The bronze angel, which originally held an elaborate clamshell, served the congregation of Christ Church Cathedral until 1955, when the statue was then moved to Spring Grove Cemetery.

In its new home, the Emery Angel is often referred to as “The Weeping Angel” due to her striking tear-stained face.

The effects of aging makes it appear that the Emery angel is weeping.

It was only six years later that Thomas Emery would die of pneumonia on Jan. 5, 1906 at the age of 75 while visiting Cairo, Egypt. The news must have hit Mary hard back in Cincinnati, especially since newspaper reports said she had begged him not to go. His remains were sent home to Ohio for burial at Spring Grove.

The Emery family cross bears the names of Thomas Emery’s parents on the front. Thomas, Mary, Sheldon, and Albert Emery’s names are on the back. (Photo courtesy of Ken Naegele.)

Thomas’ will included many bequests to various charitable organizations, including the Cincinnati Orphan Asylum he’d established 30 years previous and severak employees of his candle factory.

Mary reportedly inherited $20 million. Not a woman to rest on her laurels, she used the money to continue several philanthropic projects begun by Thomas and started many new ventures. She supported the Cincinnati Zoo, was the force behind the creation of Children’s Hospital, and donated a wing to the Cincinnati Art Museum to showcase the art she had collected and bequeathed to the museum.

Mary Emery was as committed to charitable causes as her late husband. (Photo source:

Mary’s biggest project was the creation of the model town of Mariemont. Shocked by the unsanitary housing conditions in downtown Cincinnati, she used her funds to create a template for a community planned in every detail to provide its residents with a high quality of life.

Mary and her business manager hired John Nolen, an internationally known town planner, who developed the plan for the Village of Mariemont (named after the Emery family’s summer home in Rhode Island). Mariemont is one of relatively few planned communities in the U.S., and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007.

I knew nothing about Mary’s involvement in Mariemont so when later that day my sister suggested we drive through it before heading to Dayton, I didn’t make the connection. It’s still a beautiful development with Tudor-style homes and tree-lined streets. This was the only photo I took, unfortunately.

After her husband’s death in 1906, Mary Emery poured her energies into creating the Village of Mariemont. Her sister, Isabella, inherited must of her estate when Mary died in 1927.

When Mary died of pneumonia at age 82 in 1927, she left much of her estate (after many charitable bequests) to her sister Isabella, with whom she was very close in her last years.

I’ve still got plenty of stories to share from Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. Stay tuned for Part III!

The only child of confectioner Alexander M. Day and Mary Johnson Day, six-year-old Alice Day died 10 months after her father on April 27, 1864. The Days were a wealthy family that included Alex’s brother, Ohio Congressman Timothy Day.









The Cemetery Crown Jewel of Cincinnati: Visiting Ohio’s Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Part I

I’ve visited Cincinnati, Ohio’s Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum twice. The first time was in June 2013 before my blogging career had really taken off, so we didn’t stay long. Plus my then five-year-old son’s attention span for cemetery hopping was pretty low.

The second time was in October 2018 when I came up to Ohio to visit family (and cemeteries) with my mother and sister. I purposefully planned our journey so that our first night was spent in Cincinnati so I could get up early the next morning while they were still asleep to visit Spring Grove with friend Ken Naegele (aka The Necro Tourist) as my tour guide. We’d met on Facebook some time before and he kindly offered to give me a tour with what limited time I had.

Front entrance gates to Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. This is where I entered in 2013. (Photo source: Chris Rylands, 2013)

What I will be sharing with you in this series will include photos from both visits because some things I saw in 2013 I skipped in 2018 due to time constraints.

Birth of Spring Grove

Until the 1840s, Cincinnati had no large city cemetery to speak of but a collection of about 22 small church burial grounds. The growing metropolis had gone through a number of epidemics so some town fathers were concerned about having enough burial space.

In 1844, Cincinnati Horticultural Society members formed a cemetery association with the hope of creating a suitable park-like institution, a rural cemetery, close to the city yet remote enough not to be touched by expansion. They traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe visiting cemeteries as they planned a burial ground that would equal the famed beauty of Pere-Lachaise in Paris, and various outstanding cemeteries on America’s East Coast.

This 1858 painting depicts Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum.

On December 1, 1844, Salmon P. Chase and others prepared the Articles of Incorporation. Chase persuaded legislators to grant a charter for a non-profit non-denominational corporation, which was granted by a special act on January 21, 1845.  Spring Grove’s first interment was made September 1, 1845.

A bit of trivia for you, Salmon P. Chase went on to become a U.S. Senator, Governor of Ohio, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and a Supreme Court Justice serving from 1864-1873. He is buried at Spring Grove. Thanks to Ken, I saw his grave.

Salmon P. Chase had quite an impressive resume.

In 1987, Spring Grove officially changed its name to Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum to include the collection of both native and exotic plant materials as well as its State and National Champion Trees and its Centenarian Collection. Today, Spring Grove encompasses 733 acres of which approximately 450 acres are landscaped and maintained. It includes 15 lakes and an estimated 225,000 burials. I’m betting there’s more than that.

Spring Grove 2018

When I went to meet Ken, I ended up arriving through the North Gate in the rear of the cemetery. We managed to connect and knowing I didn’t have much time, he started showing me around.

The North Gate entrance is in the rear of the cemetery.

Today I’m going to try to feature some of the more famous residents at Spring Grove like Salmon P. Chase. Another is a pair of gentlemen whose legacy continues to give millions a good night’s sleep even today. That would be mighty mattress masters Stearns & Foster.

Sweet Dreams Started Humbly

So how did this duo meet? Poor Kentucky native Seth Cutter Foster (1823-1914) moved to Cincinnati as a young man. After gaining some education by attending a night school, he found work in a dry goods store. That’s where he met Maryland native and prosperous printer George Sullivan Stearns (1816-1889). That meeting would lead to a partnership forged around 1846.

George Stearns had already achieved success as a printer when he met Seth Foster in the 1840s. (Photo source: Wyoming [Ohio] Historical Society.)

Stearns, engaged in the manufacturing of printers’ ink and being naturally mechanical, was experimenting with producing cotton wadding and other cotton goods (especially in the cushions of carriages). Foster was selling cotton goods over the counter and he suggested to Stearns that he could find a market for the goods the latter was manufacturing.

Postcard of the Lockland, Ohio Stearns and Foster Mattress Co. plant. It has since been demolished. (Photo source:

Their factory first produced cotton wadding and was located at the corner of Clay and Liberty streets for about 15 years. They moved to Lockland, still retaining offices in Cincinnati. By this time, they were expanding to batting, mattresses, and other related cotton products.

At the Lockland factory’s peak in the 1970s, Stearns & Foster employed more than 1,200 people who produced 200 mattresses and spring sets daily under the Stearns & Foster and Sealy brands. It was acquired by the Ohio-Sealy Mattress Manufacturing Company on December 21, 1983. The mattress manufacturing operation at its Lockland plant was shut down in September 30, 1993. Sealy continues to market Stearns & Foster brand mattresses today.

Ken related the good news to me that Sterns and Foster are actually buried quite close to each others. Even in death, they were close.

George Foster died on Nov. 24, 1889 at the age of 74, leaving behind a widow (Amelia) and eight grown children (one child died young).

George Stearns was a native of Arlington, Mass. He moved to Cincinnati around 1840.

Amelia Stearns, George’s widow, died about 10 years after he did in 1909. Their son, Edwin, would take over his father’s leadership role in the business.

Seth Foster died on July 8, 1914 at the age of 90. His monument is a bit grander than his partner’s.

Seth C. Foster died in 1914 at age 90. Like his partner George Stearns, he gave generously to local charities.

Julia Resor Foster, Seth’s widow, died about a year after he did in 1915. Their daughter Julia, born in 1862, died in 1935 at age 74.

Candles and Soap?

Another great business partnership has its roots in Cincinnati and both men are buried at Spring Grove Cemetery.

A native of England born in 1801, William Procter got his start in the clothing trade. He made his way to America in 1830 and briefly manufactured candles in New York. His wife, Martha, died on the journey west in Cincinnati and he decided to stay. In 1833, he wed Olivia Norris. It was her father, Alexander Norris, that advised William to go into business with Olivia’s sister’s husband, Irishman James Gamble. James was a soap maker. The men started their business venture in 1837.

William Procter’s plans to head west were cut short when his first wife, Martha, died in Cincinnati.

By 1858, Procter & Gamble sales reached $1 million with about 80 employees. During the Civil War, the company won contracts to supply the Union Army with soap and candles. In addition to the increased profits experienced during the war, the military contracts introduced soldiers from all over the country to Procter & Gamble’s products.

In the 1880s, Procter & Gamble began to market a new product, an inexpensive soap that floated in water. William Procter’s son Harley named it Ivory after reading Psalm 45:8: “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.”

Irishman James Gamble emigrated to America with his parents in 1819. He graduated from Ohio’s Kenyon College in 1824.

An Empire Grows

Through the next decades, Proctor & Gamble would go on to bring more products into its lineup. These include detergents, soap powder, shampoos, toilet goods, and a long list of consumer staples.

William Procter passed away on April 4, 1884 at the age of 82. His wife, Olivia, died in 1893. Their son, William Alexander Procter, became president of Procter & Gamble in 1890. Sadly, William A. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on March 28, 1907. He had been consumed with grief since the death of his wife, Charlotte, in 1903.

William Procter died in 1884 and is buried with both of his wives. (Photo source: Courtesy of Ken Naegele)

James Gamble died on April 29, 1892 at the age of 88. His wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1888. His obelisk is significantly larger than his business partner’s marker.

James Gamble’s obelisk is a commanding presence in the cemetery.

James Gamble is buried with his wife, Elizabeth Norris Gamble.

The last person I’m featuring may not be a household name like the others but Bishop Charles Petit McIlvaine holds a distinction that nobody else buried in Spring Grove can claim. I’ll get to that later.

Born in 1799 in Burlington, N.J., McIlvaine was the son of Joseph McIlvaine (later a U.S. Senator) and Maria Reed. McIlvaine entered the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), where he graduated in 1816. The following year, he entered the theological seminary attached to the First Presbyterian Church of Princeton.

Served as Senate Chaplain Twice

In 1820, McIlvaine was ordained to the diaconate in Philadelphia, and was soon after called to Christ Church in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. From Dec. 9, 1822 to Dec. 9, 1823 and from Dec. 14, 1824 to Dec. 11, 1825, he served as chaplain of the U.S. Senate. In 1822, he married childhood friend Emily Coxe. Together, they had 10 children. Two would die in childhood. Three of them are buried with their parents at Spring Grove.

From 1825 to 1827, McIlvaine served as chaplain and professor of ethics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Among his students were Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

Episcopal Bishop Charles Petit McIlvaine was a well-respected man by his peers and important leaders. (Photo source: Matthew Brady, Library of Congress)

In 1832, he became the second president of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and also the second Bishop of Ohio. He was a leading advocate of Evangelicalism. Over the next years, he gained a reputation of being a wise voice by his peers in England.

Bishop McIlvaine was so highly respected internationally that soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, President Lincoln asked him to go to England to argue against British recognition of the Confederacy. He often had coffee at Buckingham Palace, lunched with faculty members at Oxford, spoke with cabinet members, and influenced debate in the House of Commons.

Bishop McIlvaine finished his 40-year term as Bishop of Ohio in 1873. He was in Florence, Italy that same year when he died on March 12 at age 74. His remains, carried through England on its journey home to Ohio, was honored for four days in Westminster Abbey. He is the only American to this day to lie in state at Westminster.

A small brass wall plaque in St. Faith’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey commemorates the life of Bishop Charles P. McIlvaine. (Photo source: Westminster Abbey Library).

Here’s a rather strange footnote. The final journey of Bishop McIlvaine’s remains was incredibly long. His remains traveled from Florence (he died March 12) to London (first funeral) to Liverpool to New York City’s St. Paul’s on May 6 (second funeral) before arriving in Ohio at Cincinnati’s Christ Church on May 9 (third funeral) before burial in Spring Grove.

All I can think is that he had to be very well embalmed to withstand such a lengthy journey. Cremation was not widely available in those days but would be in the decades that followed.

McIlvaine served as Bishop of Ohio for 40 years.

Emily McIlvaine died in New York City on Feb. 19, 1877 (her 76th birthday), four years after the death of her husband.

Bishop McIlvaine is the only American to have lain in state in Westminster Abbey.

I’ll be back next time with more stories from Cincinnati’s Spring Hill Cemetery & Arboretum.





Land of the Sleeping Dead: Visiting Georgia’s Senoia City Cemetery

After finishing my Dallas, Texas series and enjoying a holiday hiatus, I’m back!

Today I’m writing about a cemetery that’s only about 30 minutes from where I spent my growing up years. Senoia City Cemetery is located in Coweta County. It also happens to be situated adjacent to where my sister purchased a home over two years ago. So I’ve had the pleasure of meandering my way through it several times now. I’m quite jealous that all she has to do is look out her window to get a cemetery fix.

By the way, it’s pronounced Sen-oy. Not Sen-oy-uh. Just ask the locals.

View of Senoia City Cemetery from the back.

Coweta County was once part of the Creek Nation, named for the tribe headed by William McIntosh, Jr. He was a half-Scot, half-Creek who relinquished lands to the federal government in the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs. McIntosh was slain by an irate group of fellow Creeks at his home on the Chattahoochee River. As a child, I can remember attending a play in an outdoor ampitheater in nearby Peachtree City that dramatized the life of Chief McIntosh. Once called Willow Dell, the town was renamed Senoia after Chief McIntosh’s mother.

A Little Town Grows Up

When I was growing up, Senoia was a sleepy little farming community with a population of around 1,000. We rarely went there unless we were taking a leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon, maybe coming back from Callaway Gardens. Beyond the Main Street area, there was not much there. In 1991, some scenes from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes were filmed in Senoia and nearby Juliette.

This home was used as the Thredgoode home in the 1989 film Fried Green Tomatoes. I photographed it on Thanksgiving Day 2019.

Fast forward to the 2000s. A little TV show on AMC called “The Walking Dead” began filming and everything changed. In 2010, the town’s population jumped 90 percent from the 1990 figure to more than 3,300 residents. New shops and restaurants opened up. Southern Living magazine built its showcase home there TWICE. New housing sprang up amid the historic homes near Main Street.

To thank Senoia for welcoming them into the community, AMC paid $150,000 to completely remake Seavy Park. People from all over the country travel to Senoia to go on “Walking Dead” tours and shop in stores where they can buy props used in the show. I can testify that the price on those props just about tripled from when they first started hitting the shelves.

While Senoia is no longer a quiet rural town, it still retains a great deal of history and its historical society is quite active.

With about 1,660 memorials listed on Find a Grave, the earliest graves at Senoia City Cemetery (SCC) seem to date from the 1860s. I believe the City of Senoia manages it and it is an active cemetery with ample room for future burials. Note: Right beside it is Oak Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, which has about 132 graves according to Find a Grave.

There are a number of markers worth mentioning at Senoia City Cemetery but today I’m going to focus on children’s graves. I found myself returning to my pictures of them time and time again.

Four Babies in Six Years

You often hear the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. When I stand next to the Sasser plot, it echoes through my head.

With deep roots in Senoia, Joseph Arthur Sasser, Sr. was born in 1861 to farmer and Civil War veteran William W. Sasser and Keziah Boyd Sasser. Joseph wed local belle Carrie Ballard in 1891 in Senoia. She was a talented musician, having graduated from LaGrange Female Academy (now LaGrange College). Their first child, Cornelia, was born on Oct. 18, 1895. Sadly, the baby died on Aug. 22, 1896 at the age of 10 months.

Death notice for Cornelia Sasser on August 28, 1896 in the Herald and Advertiser, Newnan, Ga.

Grave of Cornelia Sasser, who died in August 1896.

A year later, another daughter, Mary, was born on Aug. 23, 1897. She died on May 26, 1898 at the age of nine months. Her death was announced in the local newspaper.

Death notice for Mary Sasser, who died at the age of nine months in June 1898. (Photo source: The Herald and Advertiser, June 3, 1898.)

On May 8, 1900, daughter Carrie was born. Joseph was employed by a bank at this time. She died on March 5, 1901 at the age of 10 months. By this time, I can’t imagine what her mother, for whom she had been named, was thinking. She had to have been in agony. Why did her babies keep dying?

Carrie Sasser, named for her mother, was the third child to die. (Photo source: March 22, 1901 edition of The Herald and Advertiser, Newnan, Ga.)

Now there were three markers in Senoia City Cemetery all in a row.

Carrie, Mary, and Cornelia Sasser’s graves make a sad little row at SCC.

On Aug. 20, 1902, Carrie gave birth to a daughter, Josephine. Tragedy struck again on Jan. 19, 1904. I could not locate any funeral notice for her. Perhaps it was too painful for the Sassers to share with the world. Josephine’s monument is different from her three sisters’ markers.

Josephine Sasser died on Jan. 19, 1904, the last of four girls to die that were born to Joseph and Carrie Sasser.

The Surviving Son

Carrie gave birth to one more child, a son they named Joseph Arthur Jr., on March 19, 1906. By this time, the Sassers had moved from Senoia to Atlanta where Joseph was gaining success in banking circles. To their joy, Joseph Jr. survived his boyhood and would marry Ola Braye Happerfield.

Carrie died after a long illness at age 61 in 1927. Joseph Sr. died a little over a year later at the age of 66. They were buried together with their four little girls at SCC.

By 1935, Joseph Jr. and Ola had moved to Charlotte, N.C. where he worked as a salesman. He died on April 11, 1935 of a heart attack. He was only 29. A few days later, his remains were returned to Atlanta and he was buried in the Sasser plot at SCC. Ola would remarry soon after. She died in 1974 and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Gaston County, N.C.

Two Babies in a Shell

One of the more unique infant graves I’ve ever seen is for that of the children of Benjamin F. and Veta Hunter Cock. Some records spell their last name Cocke. The “baby on a half shell” marker is not that unusual. But it is rare for me to see one for two children.

There are two different dates on this marker for the Cock children, making me think they each were born and died on the same day.

The marker says “Infants Children of B.F. and V.H. Cock” with death dates of Sept. 24, 1892 and Aug. 20, 1893.

Benjamin and Veta would have a son, Emory, on July 21, 1897. Sadly, Benjamin did not live to see him grow up and died on Jan. 24, 1899 at the age of 34. Veta never remarried and died in 1965. They are buried together with their babies at SCC.

Emory lived a long life and became a successful businessman, dying at the age of 82 in 1980. He is buried with his wife in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Sleeping Angel

The last grave I want to share is for Andrew Harmon Couch. Born on July 28, 1890, he was the third of eight children of James Riley Couch and LouElla Hancock Couch.

The angel on Andrew Couch’s marker has an arts and crafts style that fits with its rural setting.

Andrew died on Oct 28, 1898 at the age of 8. He was the only child among his siblings that did not live to adulthood. I suppose that was little comfort to his parents when he passed away.

There’s something about the angel resting on the rock-like base of Andrew’s monument, its eyes closed and legs folded in sleep. I have seen it a number of times now and still get a lump in my throat when I pass it.

While Hollywood has had an influence on Senoia, some of it good and some of it probably unwelcome, I find that visiting this cemetery reminds me of what this small town is at heart. A community with families who care about each other and cherish their history. I hope residents new to Senioa will take the time to go for a walk here and look into the past to learn about those pioneer families who built this community.

Even the least of these who spent such a short time here…

Monument to Henry Marion Holberg (1897-1900).


Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Stopping by Fort Worth’s Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum

While Fort Worth is actually about 30 miles west of Dallas, many people consider the two as being very connected. Some people refer to it as the “Dallas/Fort Worth” area. So that’s why I’m including Greenwood Memorial Park & Mausoleum in this final post about our 2018 trip.

Greenwood’s Mausoleum features a number of indoor and outdoor courtyards.

On our way to Greenwood, we briefly stopped at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park to see only one grave. It’s the final resting place of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy and Dallas Police officer J.D. Tippit on November 22, 1963.

Oswald’s current marker is not the original. The first one had his full name and dates on it. That one was stolen by two teens in 1966. Police later found it and returned it to Oswald’s mother, who replaced the headstone with a much simpler marker. The story of what happened to that original marker (which still exists) is a worth reading.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s original marker at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park was stolen by two teens in 1966. I don’t know why someone left a golf ball on his grave.

History of Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum

The story of how Greenwood came to be is a bit complicated. The original 196-acre cemetery was dedicated in 1909 and owned by William Bailey. The Bailey family still owns it today and added onto it when 130-acre Mount Olivet Cemetery was purchased some years after that.

The entrance has replicas of statues of the Four Horses from St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and get a photo of them.

Find a Grave has about 65,000 burials/entombments recorded for Greenwood, although I am sure there are more than that.

On the day we visited, we limited our visit to the Mausoleum. The Greenwood Mausoleum by Harwell Hamilton Harris opened in 1961. It received an award of honor from the Texas Society of Architects. Artist Wilbert Verhelst created the artwork and fountains.

One of the entrances to the Mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park.

The Mausoleum at Greenwood has a similar overwhelming size of Dallas’ Sparkman-Hillcrest, with many hallways and courtyards. Because it was built in 1961, it has a definite mid-century feel to it. I prefer the style of older mausolea but it’s clear that a great deal of effort went into creating this one. It is not a gloomy or dark environment and features lot of light.

One of the Mausoleum’s outdoor courtyards.

Many of Greenwood’s courtyards feature fountains like this one.

Even the stained glass panels have a modern flair to them. This one features a lamb, a hand, and a dove merged together.

As is the case in many mausolea, Greenwood’s features niches for cremation ashes and space for full-body entombments.

The cremation containers inside the niches vary widely in style and shape.

One of the many hallways inside Greenwood’s Mausoleum.

So what made us want to stop at Greenwood? The main reason was to pay a visit to the final resting place of pianist Van Cliburn. He is arguably the most famous person entombed there.

Cliburn’s tomb is located in the Independence Chapel, Fort Worth’s first climate-controlled mausoleum chapel that was dedicated in 2010. It’s quite something to see when you walk into it.

The Mausoleum’s Independence Chapel holds life-size statues of the United States’ founding patriots and a 12-foot mosaic of the Great Seal of the United States.

Independence Chapel features the statues of several founding fathers, including Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams. Other statues are of Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and Alexander Hamilton.

Statue of America’s first President, George Washington.

Birth of an Artist

Born on July 24, 1934 in Shreveport, La., Van Cliburn was the son of Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn and Harvey Lavan Cliburn Sr. At age 3, Van started began taking piano lessons from his mother, who had studied under Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Polish composer Franz Liszt. When Van was six, his father, who worked in the oil industry, moved the family to Kilgore, Texas.

It was soon apparent that Cliburn was an exceptionally gifted musician. At 12, he won a statewide piano competition, which led to his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He entered New York’s Juilliard School at age 17 and studied under Rosina Lhévinne, who trained him in the tradition of the great Russian romantics. At 20, Cliburn won the Leventritt Award and made his debut at Carnegie Hall.

The Texan Who Conquered Russia

But it was in April 1958 that Van Cliburn truly burst upon the world stage when he competed at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Cliburn’s performance at the competition finale of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on April 13 earned him a standing ovation lasting eight minutes. The 23-year-old’s obvious affinity for Russian music endeared him to the Russian audience as well.

At the age of 23, Van Cliburn captured the hearts of Russians and American alike after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

When it was time to announce the winner, the judges felt obliged to ask permission of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to give the first prize to an American. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked. “Yes.” “Then give him the prize!” Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the only time such an honor has been given to a classical musician. The cover of Time magazine proclaimed him “The Texan Who Conquered Russia.”

Instant fame ignited a career that included many historical achievements: the first Grammy for classical music; the first classical album to go triple platinum; record-breaking concert ticket sales at venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, Chicago’s Grant Park, and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. He performed for every U.S. President from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, along with royalty and heads of state from around the world.

Cliburn’s Death

Cliburn returned to the Soviet Union on several occasions and his performances there were usually recorded and even televised. As of the last International Tchaikovsky Competition (2019), Van Cliburn is still the only American to win the competition in piano. Interestingly, only two native-born Americans have won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in its 58 year history.

On August 27, 2012, Cliburn’s publicist announced that the pianist had advanced bone cancer. He died on February 27, 2013, at the age of 78. He was entombed in Greenwood Mausoleum’s Independence Chapel. His mother, Rilda, had already passed away in 1994. She is now entombed beside him.

Van Cliburn died of bone cancer in 2013.

After visiting Cliburn’s tomb, we spent a little more time walking around the Mausoleum. There are other famous folks entombed in the Mausoleum and outside in the cemetery. But we had plans to visit the stockyards in Fort Worth and see some other sites so we did not linger for long.

All in all, our visit to Dallas was wonderful. I would like to return at a time when it’s not over 100 degrees but it was still worth every minute. All the folks we met were kind and helpful. And we ate some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had!

I think a little piece of my own heart will remain in Dallas after this trip.

An angel from the Mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Visiting Pioneer Cemetery, Part II

After a three-week break, I’m ready to tackle the rest of my visit to Pioneer Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.

Pioneer Cemetery is practically in the “front yard” of the Dallas Civic Center.

There’s a story I have to share about a woman buried at Pioneer. Her stone’s inscription is not very clear now due to erosion and time. But her story is too good not the share.

One of 13 children, Juliette Abbey Peak was born May 8, 1837 in Warsaw, Ky. In 1855, her family settled in East Dallas. Her father, Colonel Jefferson Peak, later developed his farm and platted streets, creating lots for other settlers coming to Dallas. Peak, Worth, Junius, Carroll, Flora, Harwood, Field, and Victor Streets were named for Peak family members.

The Peak family was key to the development of the Christian Church in Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas Peaks were founding members of the first protestant church in Dallas, which led to the founding of Central Christian Church and East Dallas Christian Church.

Only 23, Juliette Fowler was pregnant with her second child when she was widowed.

A Beautiful Bride

Beautiful and kind, Juliette was Dallas’ first May Queen. She married attorney Archibald Young Fowler in 1857. Their children, Ada and A.Y. Jr., both died as infants. Her husband died from wounds sustained in an argument with the Tarrant County sheriff. You can read more about that here. Julia, who was pregnant with their second child at the time, became a widow at 23. She returned to Dallas and never remarried.

Julia spent the rest of her life focused on caring for others and doing what she could to help people in difficult circumstances. She adopted a young boy she found abandoned in her church. She erected cottages in Chautauqua so young female teachers from Texas could rest and recharge. She cared for her aging parents, all while envisioning and researching methods and treatments for a secure refuge for orphans and widows.

Juliette Fowler was buried next to her husband, Archibald Fowler. Their two children are buried in unmarked graves.

Juliette died at age 52 on June 4, 1889 in New York, seeking treatment for an ear infection. Her will designated $4,000 and 15.5 acres of land in East Dallas to build a home for orphans and widows. Through this act of benevolence, she became known as Dallas’ first major philanthropist. Juliette Fowler Communities, which includes a senior living community and transitional housing for young girls, is still going strong today.

A Street Legacy

The spiffy new marker for the Rev. William Ceiton Young caught my attention. I am thinking he either did not have a marker placed when he died or if there was one, it was damaged so it was replaced by this one.

Rev. Young’s burial at Pioneer is not surprising. His Masonic ties ran deep in Arkansas before he even arrived in Dallas. He served as Master of Tannehill Lodge from 1870 to 1871. He served as Chaplain of the Lodge in 1867, 1868, 1888, and 1889. He continued his Masonic service by serving as High priest of Dallas Chapter No. 47 in 1868, 1873, and 1886. Two of his sons would also become active Masons.

Rev. Young named one of Dallas’ streets after his mother, Marilla.

A native of Trigg County, Ky. born on August 7, 1827, Rev. Young entered the Methodist ministry in early 1849 and was a member of the Memphis Conference for three years. From 1852 to 1865, he was pastor of five different churches in Arkansas and three in Louisiana. He served as a Missionary Chaplain to the Arkansas Confederate Cavalry as well.

Rev. Young married Mary Pipkin in Arkansas in 1857. They moved to Dallas in 1865. He served one term as a Dallas County District Clerk (1867-1868) and was a three-term alderman for the Fourth Ward, which included the Young’s home (called The Cedars) during he 1870s.

During his time as Alderman, Rev. Young was tasked with naming many streets in the Fourth Ward. For example, he named Marilla Street after his mother, Canton Street after his birthplace in Kentucky, Cadiz Street after the Trigg County seat, Harwood Street after the Dallas County clerk and his Masonic Brother Alexander Harwood, and Akard Street after his Masonic Brother W.C.C. Akard.

The Rev. Young died at the age of 93 in 1921.

Rev. Young died in 1921 at age 93. It’s fitting that Pioneer Cemetery is located near the intersection of Marilla and Young Streets.

Deaths of Lillie and Alma Young

As you’ve learned from reading this blog, couples often had large families in prior centuries but many of these children did not survive. Rev. Young and Mary had several children during their marriage but many did not live long lives. Sadly, in 1885, the Youngs lost a son and a daughter, Alma and Lillie.

Alma Young was only 23 when he died of “congestive fever” in 1885. (Photo source: Dallas Daily Herald, June 12, 1885)

Alma Young was the second child, born in 1861. According to his obituary, Alma was working at a grocery store at the time of his death. Then 23, he had previously worked at the Dallas Herald. On the evening of June 10, 1885, Alma came home from work complaining of a sore throat. He grew worse through the night and died the next day. The diagnosis was “congestive fever”, which was a term used for malaria at the time.

Lillie, age 15, died a few months later on Sept. 19. Her obituary only says that she died suddenly but not the cause. It also noted rather melodramatically:

The sensation among her young associates has been most marked, and with common accord, they exclaim, “If Lillie has gone, how soon may we follow!”

Siblings Alma and Lillie Young share a white bronze marker.

The Youngs purchased a single white bronze marker for Alma and Lillie, the only one in Pioneer Cemetery. It has a silver color to it, which I don’t often see because usually they have a greenish gray color.

The cause of Lillie Young’s death is not known but it was sudden.

Life of John J. Eakins

The only monument with a statue in Pioneer Cemetery is located in the Eakins family plot. It represents the lives of John J. Eakins, his wife, Ophelia, and several of their children.

Born in Henderson Co., Ky. in 1822, John J. Eakins came to Dallas in 1849 after serving as a captain in the Mexican War (1847-1848). He married Ophelia Crutchfield, a fellow Kentucky native, in 1850. According to Ophelia’s obituary, they had eight children together.

The Eakins plot features the only monument with a statue in Pioneer Cemetery.

Eakins is possibly best known for selling 60 acres of land to the City of Dallas in exchange for $600 (some articles say he donated it). The land became what is known today as Old City Park or Dallas Heritage Village.

The park was originally designed to be an “aesthetic, driving park” where Dallas residents could drive their carriages while enjoying fresh air and scenery. In other words, it was a place to see and being seen. Later, City Park housed Dallas’ first zoo.

John J. Eakins was a Mason, ensuring his place in the Masonic burial ground that is now part of Pioneer Cemetery.

I did find it interesting that when reviewing a timeline of City Park’s history, I learned that twice it was suggested that it be named Eakins Park. Both times it was rejected, first in 1887 after John Eakins died and again in 1902.

The names of five of John and Ophelia’s children who died in childhood are all listed on the monument. I’m not sure which ones are actually buried in the plot.

By the time Ophelia died in 1903 at the age of 72, she had outlived all of her children save one, son Edwin. Curiously, her name is not inscribed on the monument but her obituary notes that she was to be buried there. Edwin died in 1914 and is also buried in the plot but his name is not on the monument either, although his death certificate states that he was buried there as well.

A Final Note

I did want to share that at the time we visited Pioneer Cemetery in July 2018, we saw this large monument (pictured below) erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1896 to honor the Texas Confederate dead. Many men buried at Pioneer served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The monument, designed by Frank Teich and installed in Old City Park in 1897, was moved to Pioneer Cemetery in 1961.

The central obelisk is 60 feet tall with a Confederate soldier at the top. Four Confederate figures (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Jefferson Davis) are at each corner. All of the figures are 19 feet tall.

I learned this week that efforts to have it removed had been underway for some time. The work to dismantle and remove it began in June 2020. It is now being stored at Hensley Field, part of the Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex and the site of the former Dallas Naval Air Station.

We did visit one other cemetery while we were in Dallas, Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum. I’ll be writing about it next time.

Ophelia Eakins’ name is not inscribed on the family monument.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Visiting Pioneer Cemetery, Part I

This week starts a new series on what is most likely Dallas’ oldest burial ground, Pioneer Cemetery. It has a long history that has some holes in it that would take more time than this blog allows to share. Basically, it’s thought to be the combination of four different cemeteries that includes burials of Masons and IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) members. If you want the full story, this article does a good job of explaining it.

Pioneer Cemetery is located in downtown Dallas next to the Dallas Convention Center, a bustling hub of activity before COVID hit. But when it was first created, it was situated a bit above town and away from all the action. Makes sense for a cemetery. I’m sure they didn’t expect Dallas to grow the way it did.

View of Pioneer Cemetery with office buildings in the background.

Situated on a handful of acres, there are about 425 graves recorded on Find a Grave. I’m sure there are many more unmarked. The first burials were thought to have taken place in the 1840s. Four Dallas mayors, six doctors, and a number of elected officials are buried there.

Three Times a Mayor

The man who served as mayor of Dallas three times has a stone you might easily walk by if it didn’t have a plaque indicating his importance to the city.

Born in Lancaster, S.C. in 1816, John McClanahan Crockett’s road to Dallas was a circuitous one. He attended Franklin Academy in Lancaster, entered the mercantile business in Camden, S.C., then moved to Obion County, Tenn. in 1836 to be partner in a general store. In Camden, he married Catherine “Katie” W. Polk on March
17, 1837. He began reading law in 1841 and received a license to practice in 1844.

It wasn’t until 1848 that Crockett and Katie made it to Dallas, where John’s brother-in-law, William H. Hord, was a county judge. Crockett opened a law practice and served as deputy county clerk his first there.

Three-time mayor of Dallas John M. Crockett was a South Carolina native before moving to Tennessee then Dallas.

In 1851, Crockett became state representative from the Dallas area. He was a law partner of John Jay Good in the first half of the 1850s. Remember that name for later. He was also first master of Tannehill Masonic Lodge in Dallas, chartered on June 24, 1850.

Crockett was elected as the second mayor of Dallas in 1857, serving for three non-consecutive terms (second, fifth and eighth). His last was from 1865 to 1866. In between terms, he served as lieutenant governor from 1861 to 1863. There was no mayor of Dallas during the Civil War.

John M. Crockett’s humble grave marker has clearly been repaired a few times. His prominence as a Mason likely contributed to why he’s buried in Pioneer Cemetery, which contains part of an earlier Masonic burial ground.

After the Civil War, Crockett incorporated the Dallas Grain Elevator and Flouring Company in 1872. In 1875, he became a charter member of the executive committee of the Dallas Pioneers Association. He and Katie had no children.

Catherine “Katie” Polk Crockett’s gravestone spells her name with a “K” instead of a “C”.

Catherine died in 1880 at the age of 62 and John M. Crockett passed away on August 4, 1887 at the age of 70. Because of Crockett’s early prominence as a highly-positioned Mason, his burial site at Pioneer makes sense.

The 18th Mayor of Dallas

By contrast, the marker for Dallas’ 18th mayor John Jay Good is much grander and actually says quite a bit about the man it was made for. In fact, decoding it was a fun task I’ll discuss in a moment.

Earlier I mentioned John Crockett’s law partner John J. Good. Several years after Crockett’s last term as mayor, Good would step into that role. Like Crockett, Good was not a native Texan. Born in Mississippi in 1827, Good attended Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., and read law in Columbus, Miss., before his admittance to the bar in 1849. He practiced law in Marion County, Ala., while working  on his father’s farm before 1851, when he headed to Texas to settle in Dallas. Good married Susan Anna Floyd on July 25, 1854 and they had six children that lived to adulthood.

Dallas Mayor John Good’s monument chronicles his fraternal affiliations well.

In 1859, Good was appointed an official visitor to the United States Military Academy at West Point, but with the outbreak of the Civil War he organized a Confederate artillery battery. He fought as a captain with Benjamin McCulloch’s brigade at Elkhorn and was wounded. Good was then appointed presiding judge of the Confederate military courts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, with the rank of colonel.

After the war, Good was elected judge of the 16th Judicial District (Dallas) but was removed by Gen. Philip Sheridan as an “impediment to Reconstruction.” Good practiced law in Dallas and in 1880 he was elected mayor.

In the last few months of his life, Good traveled to other climates in hopes of improving his health. He died on Sept. 17, 1882 at the age of 55. His beloved Susan died in 1912 at the age of 72. While there is a memorial marker for her beside her husband’s monument, she is actually buried in Dallas’ Grove Hill Cemetery.

Deconstructing a Monument

As I mentioned earlier, John Good’s monument is an especially nice example of a combination of symbols and inscriptions worth picking apart. At the top of is the draped urn, a common enough symbol. It is believed by some to mean that the soul has departed the shrouded body for its trip to heaven. Some believe the shroud is the last barrier between this world and the next.

On the sides, you can see two inverted torches, symbolizing life in the next realm or a life extinguished.

Mayor John J. Good’s monument features two inverted torches, symbolizing life in the next realm or a life extinguished.

At the base of the marker, below Good’s name and dates, you can see the three rings of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). The FLT represents Faith, Love, and Truth.

The inscription and symbol at the top of John Good’s monument spell out his involvement in the Knights Templar, a fraternal organization tied to the Masons.

In the picture above, you can see the Knights Templar (who were affiliated with the Masons) group that Good served as commander of in Dallas. Below it is a Knights Templar symbol, complete with the Latin motto of In hoc signo vinces, which means “In this sign thou shalt conquer”.

From the newspaper article I found concerning Good’s funeral rites, the Knights Templar were in charge so I am thinking his affiliation with them was higher than that of the IOOF. Because parts of Pioneer Cemetery were for both IOOF and the Masonic burials, this would be the place for him to be buried.

Mark of a Craftsman

I want to point out one more thing about John Good’s monument. At the base below “Good”, you can see the name of the person who provided it, S.B. Hanway. When I was photographing it, I knew I had seen that name somewhere before.

Samuel B. Hanway was a well-regarded monument dealer in Dallas in the late 1800s.

It wasn’t until recently that I figured out where I had seen it. Samuel B. Hanway is buried at Greenwood Cemetery, which we had visited a few days before. As it turns out, Hanway was a native of Ohio who had done business in Kansas in the monument trade before ending up in Dallas for the last 30 years of his life. He made quite a name for himself in that business. John J. Good’s monument is a great example of his work.

Next time, I’ll have more stories from Pioneer Cemetery.

Canadian native Phoebe Davis died at the age of 16. Her parents, Joseph and Martha, are buried at Dallas’ Greenwood Cemetery but Phoebe’s name is also on the large family marker at that cemetery as well.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park (Mausoleum), Part IV

I’m closing out my series on Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum with a study of the many examples of stained glass they have. So this post will be more pictures than words.

I would like to add that from what I’m able to tell, the mausoleum was built in the early 1940s. Not the 1960s as the woman who answered the phone at Sparkman/Hillcrest told me a few weeks ago. It’s possible the Sparkman family built onto what was already there in the 60s.

Some of them were created specifically for families, like these.

I think the dog is a Corgi.

This one could use a little TLC.

This glass was created for Corda William Boller, who lived from 1882 to 1944 and was a successful oil operator. The Boller family owns a niche at Sparkman/Hillcrest.

C. William Boller’s stained glass brings to mind the Bible verse Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Dr. William Samuell was a prominent Dallas surgeon who lived from 1878 to 1937. According to Find a Grave, Dr. Samuell was first interred at Oakland Cemetery in Dallas. Later, his remains were moved to Sparkman/Hillcrest.

Dr. William Samuell’s stained glass window features an angel bearing a bow of jewels. Perhaps a Heavenly reward?

Insurance salesman William Jerome Hayes was only 33 when he died in 1955 from a heart problem. His stained glass window features a familiar Bible reference to the Good Shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” comes from Psalm 23:1.

Some of the stained glass is decidedly religious in theme. This one features the “Agony of Gethsemane” the night before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus prays while his disciples sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Agony of Gethsemane features Jesus on the night before His death on the cross.

This panel depicting the parable of the Good Samaritan also features four artistic subjects in the corners: music, painting, sculpture, and writing.

The parable of the Good Samaritan comes from Luke 10:33.

The grandest example of stained glass work is located as you come in the main entrance of the mausoleum in the George family memorial room against the back wall.

The stained glass was created to honor the life of Sudie Hancock George. A native of Kentucky born in 1857, her journey to Dallas was a circuitous one but when she did arrive, she made quite a mark.

Life of Sudie George

Sudie, who was related to Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock, married Henry George in 1882 in Louisville, Ky. At that time, he was a banker and a sheriff.  Together, they had four children (two sons and two daughters). They later moved to Jennings, La.

Henry died not long after the move. Sudie and her children remained there operating a sugar and rice plantation before moving to Houston, Texas in 1908 and then on to Dallas in 1916. Sudie got involved in local organizations and joined the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.

Originally from Kentucky, Sudie George was active in Dallas community groups and her church.

Sudie’s son Robert Bohannon “Dick” George prospered, making his fortune in Caterpillar heavy equipment dealerships. He was deeply devoted to Sudie as well. He tried to recreate much of the atmosphere of their Kentucky home in a place called Glad Acres for the family residence. He never married and had no children. Dick, Cleo (Sudie’s youngest daughter), and Sudie all lived at Glad Acres.

Like his mother, Dick was involved in many charitable causes. The principal interest in his life was helping sick and disabled children. He was president of the executive board of Children’s Hospital of Dallas. In 1961, the hospital was renamed the R. B. George and Miss Cleo George Memorial Hospital for his service to generations of sick children.

When Sudie died in 1942 at the age of 85, R.B. and other family members gave $100,000 for the construction of a chapel in her memory at the First Presbyterian Church. It is used today for weddings, concerts, and other special events.

The Sudie George Memorial Chapel at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is used for weddings and other special events. (Photo source: T. Bradford Willis)

Sudie was entombed in the Hillcrest Mausoleum. According to a source, Dick saw to it that every day a lily was placed on her sarcophagus. In his will, he set up two $50,000 trusts. Three fourths of the income from the first trust was to be used to provide flowers weekly for the family tomb and the remaining one fourth was to be used for the upkeep of Hillcrest. The other $50,000 trust fund was set up for the Sudie George Memorial Chapel’s upkeep and operation.

Dick George died at the age of 71 in 1956. He is entombed in the George family memorial room with his mother. Cleo, who married later that year to Morton McClure, died in 1991. But I couldn’t find where she is buried.

I don’t know who created the stained glass for the George family memorial room but it is quite a sight to behold.

Sudie George’s son, Dick George, provided funds for the upkeep of the Hillcrest Mausoleum.

There are a wide variety of styles of stained glass in the mausoleum. This one has a pane cut out of it for an air conditioning unit, which is rather sad to me to see.

A flock of geese flies over a fisherman.

This one also features a fishing scene of sorts.

I call this one the Lily Lady.

There’s also a number of more modern looking pieces as well.

I like this one of the two deer.

This one has a lot of blues and violets in it.

This is just a sampling of what we saw the day we visited. There’s so much more I could share with you but it would overwhelm you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park. If you’re ever in Dallas, you should definitely take the time to visit. Make sure to save some time for the mausoleum, the treasures there are worth the time.



Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park (Mausoleum), Part III

The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! I’m going INSIDE the mausoleum at Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park. This post is longer than usual but trust me, it’s worth it.

I wish I could tell you exactly when the mausoleum was built, who the architect was, and an estimate on how many people are entombed within it, but I don’t know. When I called to ask, the woman who answered the phone could only say she knew it was built in the early 1960s and didn’t know who the architect was. That was it.

Front entrance of the mausoleum of Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park.


Longer view of the Sparkman/Hillcrest Mausoleum.

Once you walk inside, it can feel a bit overwhelming. The main entrance opens into a high-ceilinged hall.

The grand hall at the entrance to the mausoleum is encircled by small individual family grottoes.

With one long main hall, the mausoleum has a gazillion smaller halls that extend off of it. The only other person we saw the entire time we were there was a member of the cleaning crew who was mopping the floor. Otherwise, it was eerily quiet.

Fortunately, I knew where to go in order to find the first person I was looking for. We were just two of the scores of people who take the same route to the Saint Mathew hall to visit his final resting place.

Birth of a Baseball Legend

Born on Oct. 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Okla., Mickey “The Mick” Charles Mantle would become a beloved yet controversial figure in American baseball. A man of humble origins, Mantle’s prowess on the ball field wowed millions. Some consider him the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. At the same time, his personal life included much turmoil.

Mantle began his professional baseball career in Kansas with the semi-professional Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. After graduating from high school, Mantle signed a minor league contract and was assigned to the Yankees’ Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop.

Mickey Mantle was a working class kid. His father, Elven “Mutt” Mantle, worked in lead and zinc mines in Comanche, Okla.

Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season, becoming a right fielder. In the second game of the 1951 World Series, he was injured while racing for a ball and tripped over an exposed drain pipe. This was the first of numerous injuries that plagued his 18-year career with the Yankees, playing the rest of his career with a torn ACL in an era when such surgeries to repair them weren’t done the way they are routinely done now.

“Favorite Summer”

Over the next years, Mantle’s star would rise as a Yankee, the only MLB team he ever played for. He had his breakout season in 1956, which he described as his “favorite summer.” He had a major league-leading .353 batting average, 52 home runs, and 130 runs batted in (RBIs). He brought home both the Triple Crown and first of three MLB Most Valuable Player Awards.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 (equivalent to $640,000 in 2019) contract.

Mantle announced his retirement at the age of 37 on March 1, 1969. He gave a farewell speech on Mickey Mantle Day, which was June 8, 1969, in Yankee Stadium.

Two of Mantle’s sons are interred with him and his wife in the mausoleum.

Personal Struggles

Mantle married Merlyn Johnson in Oklahoma in 1951 and together they had four sons. While the media did not report on his many affairs at the time, Mantle was notorious for his dalliances. He was also an alcoholic, an affliction shared by his wife and three of his sons.

After Merlyn and his sons sought treatment, they urged Mantle to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994. Although he received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995, Mantle died on August 13, 1995. He was 63 years old. Despite the fact he and Merlyn had been estranged for years, they never divorced and she was with him at the end.

Two of Mantle’s sons are also entombed with him and Merlyn, who died in 2009 at the age of 77. Billy Mantle, who suffered from Hodgkin’s Disease, died at the age of 34 in 1996. Mickey Jr. died in 2000 at the age of 47.

Many people leave mementos for Mickey Mantle at the foot of his family’s tomb.

Mantle’s tomb is located in the only area in the entire mausoleum that is fully air conditioned, which appears to be a more modern section. All I know is that it was a welcome relief after the rather stagnant air in the rest of the building.

Located in the same blessedly cool air as Mantle is the tomb of another well-known person but her distinction is not from baseball. However, I’m sure the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics had to keep cool under pressure while making her company world famous.

A Start in Sales

Mary Kathlyn (Mary Kay) Wagner was born in Hot Wells, Texas in 1918 to  Edward Alexander and Lula Vember Hastings Wagner. At 17, Mary Kay married Ben Rogers and they had three children. While Ben served in World War II, she got her first taste of the arena she would eventually master when she sold books door-to-door.

After her husband’s return in 1945, they divorced. Over the next two decades, she worked in sales. Irritated when passed over for a promotion in favor of a man that she had trained, Mary Kay retired in 1963. She wrote up a business plan for her ideal company, and in the summer of 1963, Mary Kay and her new husband, George Hellenbeck, planned to start Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Ash founded her business in 1963 at the age of 45.

However, one month before Mary Kay and George started Beauty by Mary Kay, as the company was then called, George died of a heart attack. A month after George’s death, with a $5,000 investment from her oldest son, she started Mary Kay Cosmetics. She copied the same “house party” model used by Stanley (who she had worked for), Tupperware, and others. It was a tremendous success.

Going Public

In 1968, Mary Kay married Melville Ash. That same year, she and her partners took the multi-level marketing company public. In 1985, the company’s board decided to take the company private again. Ash remained active in Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. until suffering a stroke in 1996.

As many know, Mary Kay Ash loved the color pink and it was a key theme in her company, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year.

Mary Kay Ash is entombed beside her third husband, Melville Ash, who died in 1980.

Son Richard Rogers was named CEO of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. in 2001. At the time of Ash’s death in 2001, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives in 37 countries, with total annual sales over $200 million. As of 2014, Mary Kay Cosmetics had more than 3 million consultants worldwide and wholesale volume in excess of three billion.

Another trailblazing woman is entombed in Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum, paving the way for other women in a male-dominated career field. But most people only know her from a photograph of the back of her head.

Blazing a Judicial Trail

Born in 1896 in Baltimore, Md., Sarah Augusta Tilghman (later Hughes) stood only five feet one inches tall. But Hughes let nothing get in her way, be it academics or excelling in sports. After graduating from Western High School, she attended Goucher College, an all women’s college in central Baltimore.

Hughes taught science at Salem Academy in North Carolina for several years. In 1919, she moved to Washington, D.C. to attend The George Washington University Law School. She went to classes at night and during the day, worked as a police officer. Amazingly, she lived in a tent home near the Potomac River and commuted to the campus by canoe each evening. She graduated in 1922.

A 1972 photo of Judge Sarah Hughes. She was the only female judge appointed by President John F. Kennedy, the first female federal judge in Texas, and the third female to serve in the federal judiciary. (Photo source: State Bar of Texas)

Hughes moved to Dallas in 1922 with her husband, George Ernest Hughes, whom she met in law school. While George quickly found employment, Sarah struggled since law firms generally did not regard women as qualified at the time. The small firm of Priest, Herndon, and Ledbetter gave her a rent-free space and referred some cases to her in exchange for her services as a receptionist.

The First of Many Firsts

But Hughes was preparing for broader horizons. After practicing law for eight years in Dallas, she got involved in politics, first being elected in 1930 to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1935, Hughes accepted an appointment as a state judge from Governor James Allred for the Fourteenth District Court in Dallas. In doing so, she became the state’s first female district judge. In 1936, she was elected to the same post. She was re-elected six more times and remained in that post until 1961.

Judge Hughes received a recess appointment from President John F. Kennedy on October 5, 1961 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to a new seat. She was nominated to the same position by President Kennedy on January 15, 1962. She was the only female judge appointed by President Kennedy, the first female federal judge in Texas, and the third female to serve in the federal judiciary.

It almost didn’t happen. Her friendship with Vice President Lyndon Johnson helped, having campaigned for him in the past. At age 65, many (including Kennedy and his brother, Robert) thought Judge Hughes was too old for the job.

That’s Judge Sarah Hughes giving Vice President Lyndon Johnson the oath of office while Jacqueline Kennedy stood by him, still in shock.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Judge Hughes was thrown fully into the spotlight when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Amid the ensuing chaos, she was summoned to administer the oath of office to Vice President Johnson, who chose her for the task. Hughes was driven to Love Field, while Air Force One was held up just for her.

In the photo above, you can only see the back of Judge Hughes’ head. But to me, this photo taken by Cecil W. Stoughton has always been a powerful picture of what took place on that terrible day. In that horrible moment, Hughes became the only woman to swear in a president – and the only Texan.

Hughes retired from the active federal bench in 1975, although she continued to work as a judge with senior status until 1982. She remained a close friend of Lyndon Johnson and his family, participating in his inauguration in 1965 and in the dedication of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Judge Sarah Hughes and her husband, George, are entombed in the Sanctuary of Adoration.

In 1982, Hughes suffered a debilitating stroke which confined her to a nursing home in Dallas. She died three years later on April 23, 1985. But she will never be forgotten for pushing forward into a world where she was often told “no” with her intelligence, determination, and talent.

Next time, I’ll be showing off some of the amazing stained glass at Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum in Part IV.

A pair of praying hands we found in the basement level of Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park, Part II

I’m still outside at Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas. Not in the mausoleum yet. I’ll go in there in Part III. There’s still a few stops I need to make outside.

The 88 acres of Sparkman/Hillcrest is well tended by the landscaping crew.

Sparkman/Hillcress has dozens of little grottoes surrounded by shrubbery that contain family plots, enabling a sense of privacy. I imagine these are comparably more expensive as well.

One of these grottoes contains the grave of a famous actress whom I had not expected to encounter in a Dallas cemetery when I did my initial research. I’m speaking of British-born actress Greer Garson.

Late Start to a Dazzling Career

Born on Sept. 29, 1904 in Manor Park, England, Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was the only child of Nina Greer Garson and George Garson. The name Greer is a contraction of MacGregor, another family name. She attended King’s College in London and did post-graduate studies at the University of Grenoble in France where she earned degrees in French and 18th-century literature.

I was surprised to learn that due to her devotion to her studies, Garson’s acting experiences didn’t come until her late 20s. Her early professional appearances were on stage, starting at the Birmingham Repertory Theater in January 1932, when she was 27 years old.

In Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice, the character of Elizabeth Bennett is 20 years old. Garson was 34 at the time she played the role in the 1940 movie adaptation.

Garson was signed to a contract with MGM in 1937, but didn’t start work on her first film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, until late 1938. She received her first Oscar nomination for the role but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.  She received critical acclaim the next year for her role as Elizabeth Bennett in the 1940 film Pride and Prejudice.

Garson received a record seven Academy Award nominations and starred in six Best Picture nominees, most often paired with actor Walter Pidgeon. She is best known for the 1942 movie for which she won her only Academy Award, Mrs. Miniver. Her acceptance speech clocked in at five minutes and 30 seconds, the longest Oscar acceptance speech according to the Guinness Book of World Records and led to the Academy instilling a time limit.

Third Time’s the Charm

Garson was married three times. Actor Peter Lawford introduced Garson to her third husband, millionaire Texas oilman and horse breeder E.E. “Buddy” Fogelson, when she was starring with Lawford in the 1948 movie Julia Misbehaves. The couple married in 1949.

After her MGM contract expired in 1954, Garson only made a handful of films. In 1967, the couple retired to their Forked Lightning Ranch in New Mexico. They purchased the U.S. Hall of Fame champion thoroughbred Ack Ack from the estate of Harry F. Guggenheim in 1971 and were successful as breeders.

Buddy Fogelson died in 1987 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for five years.

The Fogelsons maintained a home in Dallas, where Garson funded the Greer Garson Theater facility at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She founded a permanent endowment for the Fogelson Honors Forum at Texas Christian University (TCU), Buddy’s alma mater, in nearby Fort Worth.

Greer Garson died at the age of 96 from heart failure.

Buddy passed away in 1987 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for five years. Garson lived her final years in a penthouse suite at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where she died from heart failure on April 6, 1996 at the age of 91.

Located near the front of the Sparkman/Hillcrest mausoleum is a small unpretentious marker you might not normally notice. But the man it was made for had a place in Dallas history not once but twice.

Henry Menasco Wade, one of 11 children, was born outside Dallas on Nov. 11, 1914. Shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1939, Wade joined the FBI as a special agent investigating espionage cases along the East Coast and in South America. During World War II, Wade served in the U.S. Navy, taking part in the invasions of the Philippines and Okinawa.

Man of the Court

In 1947, Wade joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. He won election to the top job only four years later, a position he would hold for 36 years until his retirement in 1987. But it was in 1964 that he was thrust into the spotlight after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated just blocks from Wade’s office in the Dallas County Courthouse.

Wade lost the opportunity to try Lee Harvey Oswald for Kennedy’s murder when nightclub operator Jack Ruby shot Oswald only two days later. But Wade became known nationally for prosecuting Ruby for Oswald’s murder. Wade closely supervised the Ruby trial but appointed his assistan William Alexander to conduct the courtroom proceedings.

Wade and Alexander confronted Ruby’s lawyers, famed trial lawyer Melvin Belli and Texas counsellor Joe Tonahill, in a lengthy trial that concluded on March 14, 1964, with a verdict for Ruby of “guilty of murder with malice.”

Henry M. Wade was known as “Chief” to over 900 assistant district attorneys during his term as criminal district attorney of Dallas County.

The Wade in Roe v. Wade

Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney, was the named defendant when attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee mounted a 1970 constitutional challenge to the Texas criminal statutes prohibiting doctors from performing abortions. Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”), a single woman, was signed up as the representative plaintiff.

The challenge sought both a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes. The lower court refused to grant Roe’s desired injunction but declared the criminal abortion statutes were void.

Both sides cross-appealed. The case worked its way through the appellate process, culminating in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States.

Henry Wade was the “Wade” in the famous Roe vs. Wade court case. He is buried with his wife, Yvonne.

Despite the loss of Roe v. Wade, Wade’s political career did not suffer. He continued to serve in office for an additional 14 years. In 1995, the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center was named in his honor. In 2000, shortly before his death from Parkinson’s Disease, Texas Lawyer magazine named him as one of the most influential lawyers of the 20th century.

The last person I’m going to feature outside at Sparkman/Hillcrest has a name you’re likely already familiar with but not the person behind it.

Man With a Sparkle

Born on September 5, 1901 in Shereshov, Russia, Morris Bernard Zale came to America as a child in 1908. In 1910, the family settled in Fort Worth, Texas. Due to financial difficulties, Zale dropped out of school following completion of the seventh grade.

Zale was introduced to the jewelry business by his uncle, Sam Kruger. In 1920, Zale managed Kruger Jewelry Store in Burkburnett before opening his own business in Graham in 1922. Two years later, Zale rejoined his uncle’s store in Wichita Falls, Texas. He became a partner with his uncle in the Zale Jewelry Corporation in 1924, opening the first Zales store at the corner of Eighth and Ohio.

Photograph of the first Zales store in Wichita Falls, Texas.

In 1925, Zale married Edna Lipshy. He and his brother-in-law Ben built the business together. They decided to go against the popular cash-only policy of jewelry retailing, offering credit to working-class customers and allowing payment in installments.

Following World War II, massive expansion took place, ultimately making Zales the world’s largest retail jeweler. Zales Jewelers moved its headquarters from Wichita Falls to Dallas in 1946. In 1957, Zales Jewelers opened its first store in a shopping center, a major shift from operating only in downtown locations.

Morris Zale with his wife, Edna Lipshy Zale. Together they had three children.

Morris Zale was also known for his philanthropy, financing an orphanage for young war victims in 1947 in Europe and supporting it for four decades. He started the Zale Foundation in 1951, which supported numerous charities and educational activities.

Zale gave up the company presidency to his brother-in-law Ben Lipshy in 1957 but continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Zale retired as chairman of the company in 1971.

Morris Zale is buried beside his wife, Edna, who passed away a year after he did in 1996.

Zale died on March 8, 1995 at the age of 93 due to complications from pneumonia. Edna passed away on Dec. 28, 1996 from bone cancer. Although she was very active in charitable activities, she preferred to let her husband and son, Donald, have the spotlight.

The Zales are buried beside their son Herschel, who died at the age of three in 1930 from a childhood illness.

Next time, I’ll be in the mausoleum at Sparkman/Hillcrest.