The Cemetery Crawl

My Grandpa's barn

My Grandpa’s barn

My brother called while I was having lunch with my Mom last week in Quincy. “Want to go to the cemetery this afternoon?”  I know for many that might not sound like a fun invitation but Mark and I share a love for family history and were on the hunt for our great-grandparents graves. I was eager to go.

Our first stop was Coatsburg, Il about 20 miles from Quincy where our great-grandfather once served as mayor.  My grandpa’s barn was still standing but the house was gone.
We found the small cemetery and began to look for our paternal great-grandparents graves but first found lots of maybe-relatives with the same last name. Who knew we had so many relations?  I was the first to spot the one we were looking for: Fred and Emma White.  Beyond their birth and death dates, I don’t know anything else.  My dad was an only child and so much history died with him, questions I never asked.
Fred & Emma grave

Paternal Great Grandparents

Watching the clock for my train time, we decided to head back via another country church yard.  Mark had been to this one before so knew right away where Henry and Louisa were laid to rest, my Dad’s other grandparents.  I have a bit more connection to this set and my middle name, Louise, was given in her honor but once again, know nothing else.
Henry and Louisa

Paternal Great-Grandparents

I knew there was one more in the vicinity so we quickly googled St Brigid’s in another small town and toured the gravel roads until we found it.  My cousin had told me our great-great grandmother, Christina, was buried here instead of with her husband, Heinrich at a different cemetery because when she died, the creek was out and they couldn’t get to St Anthony’s due to the high water. Heinrich
 Great-Great Grandmother

Maternal Great-Great Grandmother

The cemetery was small enough that we each took one side and perused the names on the stones til we found her.  How I long to know more of her story!  I know she and Heinrich were the first of my grandfather’s family to come to America in the 1800’s but that’s  all I know of them as well. What was she like?  How was that ship ride? Did she ever see her family again?  Sadly, I don’t think I will ever find out.
I made my train on time and on the way back kept thinking about Emma and Louisa and Christina whose traces of DNA still flow in me.  I don’t know their stories but hopefully my great children will know mine because I’m writing it down.
Hope for the Best,
Tish
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