Friday, July 6, 2012

On the Trail of Joseph Baker: Part Two

Joseph Baker's Grave
Greenwood Cemetery, Cedar Falls, Iowa
 I had visited Joseph Baker's grave about four years ago and remembered where it was but still I had a hard time finding it. At the time of my last visit, it had just been a gravestone with the same family surname as my 2nd great grandfather whom I had been researching at the time. My 2nd great grandfather was buried halfway across the cemetery but this grave had been close to my 2nd great grandmother. (Long story short, my 2nd great grandmother died very young and was buried next to her parent's eventual plot. My 2nd great grandfather remarried to a woman whom had been married many times and who would remarry after his death. As the story goes, the parents of his first wife didn't want his body anywhere near their daughter and thus his location halfway across the cemetery all by his lonesome... sort of anyway. He is buried next to the husband of his older sister who remarried and presumably didn't want to be buried there any longer.)

Back to my story though, I finally found my 3rd great grandfather Joseph Baker's grave though it wasn't quite in the area I had remembered and it was turned in a different orientation. Never-the-less, it was there sans GAR marker that had been there the previous time, and still in fairly good condition. As I normally do, I had a short conversation with Joseph with me doing most of the conversing and told him that if he had the power, to steer me in the right direction so I can find his ancestors and honor them too. I'm still waiting for that signal.

My main goal of visiting the cemetery was to spend more time at the office at the base of the hill to see if I can finagle more information from them about Joseph. As you can see from the picture below, he is buried off by himself though some remnants of past grave stones poke up here and there near him and I wanted to learn who was buried in his immediate vicinity. I also wanted to see if there was anyway to narrow down his death date other than an entire year. Unfortunately, the office had moved a few miles away from the cemetery and so I sped over there before it closed down for the day.

The people there were really helpful and I was able to look through their index book of graves and found a few more locations of relatives that I had yet to visit. Unfortunately, it wasn't put together in a way to allow me to find out who was buried next to Joseph without painstakingly going through several thousands of records and cross referencing them to a map. They also had no other records of dates other than what was on the index cards and the index books. All other records were long gone or never existed. So I thanked them anyway and let them have the last fifteen minutes before closing to themselves and I headed back to the cemetery to visit the graves.

I found the grave of my 3rd great grandmother and wife to Joseph Baker, Frances Bolton Baker Heppenstall where she is buried next to her second husband Thomas Heppenstall and their daughter Lena Heppenstall. Records said she had no marker but she did. It read simply Mother. I also tracked down the graves of my 2nd great grandparents on their respective sides of the cemetery and my great grandparents up on top of the hill. The only grave that I was unable to locate was Joseph Baker's youngest son Charles Baker who wasn't where the information said he was or that I had misinterpreted the map. That I will have to figure out on a future trip.

I made one last stop at the bottom of the hill on my way out of the cemetery to spend a few more moments with Joseph Baker, his grave now in the shade of a nearby tree. With the exception of one completely unreadable stone, the next closest grave is that of his daughter-in-law whom he probably never met since the son who would marry her was only 11 at the time of Joseph's death. It is a peaceful spot and I guess if one must take secrets with you to the grave, as good a spot as any.

The View of Joseph Baker's Grave from the Grave of
His Daughter-In-Law Whom He Never Met

6 comments:

warren said...

My wife really hates walking through old graveyards...mostly because of boredom but I think it is fascinating that things you can find just looking around...it's especially cool that you have an actual trail to follow!

Ed said...

Warren - I used to find it creepy and never enjoyed the trips to the graveyards as a kid with my parents to decorate graves. But somewhere along the line when I got into genealogy, I actually love walking through them. They are peaceful places and most are really beautiful. Also as a genealogist, there is a story there waiting to be read by the passerby.

Vince said...

Sorry Ed but you must give us a visual for this. But not the tree. Have you thought of a map with coloured markers.
Outside of your direct interest, you have the making of a settlement record for a good slice of area at a constricted bit of time from 1850-1900.

Ed said...

Vince - Sadly so little time, so much I would like to do. I do have a map with chicken scratchings all over it in pencil but someday I would like to do a better job along with GPS coordinates and all the assortment of non-direct relatives included as well.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I have been trying to talk my wife into doing a blog. She is a somewhat fanatical geneologist and is always finding new stories about her seventeenth and eighteenth century kin. You and she would have a lot of fun exchanging stories.

Ed said...

3 Score - For me, the real benefit for writing about these stories is that I'm also laying an internet web to catch people who are interested in the same people I am that I can swap information with. It has worked over a dozen times so far but unfortunately, not one person has been ensnared in my webs on Joseph Baker.