By Lynn Arave
HISTORY isn’t just found in books, libraries, or on the Internet.
There’s a humbling, yet definitive kind of history to be discovered in a cemetery
Many people make at least annual pilgrimages to area cemeteries -- and they should look at more than the flowers, or the graves of family and friends.
Take a short walk, explore … Find old graves and new ones, small ones and large ones.
There are tidbits of history to be discovered in cemeteries of those who lived before and helped pave the path for us.
There’s also the lesson in mortality here, that everyone eventually passes on, rich, or poor; famous, or not; young, or old.
The Ogden, Utah Cemetery, for example, is some 54 acres full of tens of thousands of names, dates, inscriptions and epitaphs.
Located at 1875 Monroe Boulevard – just north of 20th Street and just west of Monroe – this graveyard began in 1851.
Without any kind of map, or guide, here’s what stood out to me during several strolls through sections of the Ogden Cemetery:
-The most common epitaphs spotted were: “Families are forever,” “Together forever,” “Love is forever,” “Rest in peace,” “Gone fishin’,” “In loving memory,” “Forever beloved,” “Forever with the Lord,” and “Our angel Mom.”
-Saddest graves: The dozens in “Baby Land” (northwest corner of cemetery) where numerous small headstones herald the many infants buried there. Also, found elsewhere: three graves of the children of Jeff and Holly Ebert, all 3 of whom were born separately and only lived a matter hours after birth, being born between 1986 and 1987.
Examples of unusual epitaphs spotted:
-“A light from our household is gone. A voice we loved is stilled. A place is vacant in our house that can never be filled.” In memory of Martin H. Harris, Sept. 29, 1820-Feb. 14, 1889.
-“From his handsome face to his gorgeous eyes @ beautiful smile he’ll truly be missed @ never forgotten.” “TJ” Timothy Joe Arguello, June 13, 1991-June 26, 2010.
-“Each of us hopes to join you at last on the beautiful heavenly shore. Resting in hopes of a glorious resurrection.” Sarah Y. Thomas, June 26, 1843-March 14, 1906.
-“His contributions to horology during a long and vigorous life are immortal. He had a joy of working with the finest fabric of God’s universe – the measurement of the passing of time.” William H. Samelius, “Dean of American Watchmakers,” March 1, 1873-Nov. 5, 1961; Maybelle Holst Samelius, Sept. 24, 1880-Oct. 8, 1969.
-“Pioneer-churchman, businessman,” Chauncey Walker West, 6 February 1827-6 January 1870.
-“Called to serve Him, Heavn’ly King of glory, Chosen Heir to witness for his name, Far and wide I tell our Father's story, Far and wide his love proclaim.” Elder Stephen Alexander Richards, Feb. 9, 1984-July 22, 2007.
-“A Saintly giant of a woman. Matriarch of one of the largest families in the church,” Elizabeth Patrick Taylor, 1793-1880.
-“Captain of Mormon Battalion and founder of Ogden City,” James Brown, Sept. 30, 1801-Sept. 30, 1863.
-"I will seek to lay a true foundation in the hearts of the pupils upon which they may build their education,” Louis Frederick Moench, founder and first principal of Weber State College, July 29, 1846-April 25, 1916.
-“One who was a friend to all,” Adam Thomas McEntire, Aug, 23, 1959-May 20, 1979.
-“All the world is a stage,” Thomas L. Poppleton, Oct. 15, 1926-Nov. 13, 2011
-“A loving mother true and kind, a beautiful memory left behind,” Martha Louise Highfield, Sept. 6, 1878-June 12, 1955.
“Victims Farmington Flood, Aug. 13, 1923”: Walter J. Wright, 1899-1923; (and) Weathy C. Wright, 1895-1923.
-“It’s heaven to be ridin’ down the trail,” Junior Ivan Taylor, April 15, 1910-Dec. 27, 1996.
-“Here rests a woodman of the world,” Thomas D. Swift, 1870-1926.
-“Not on this perishing stone, but in the book of life, and in the hearts of thy afflicted friends, is thy worth recorded,” John Hamer, Aug. 15, 1865-Aug. 2, 1890.
-AND, there’s also a special Tiffany’s Memorial Pet Cemetery, in the northeast section of the Ogden Cemetery. One headstone there that stood out was for a dog, Karo Carter, Dec. 14, 1984-July 11, 1996. “A smile, a wiggle and a wag … In memory of our devoted Lab” was the inscription.
(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on May 26, 2014).
-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org