Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Memorialized at Smith's Castle

Photos of Smith's Castle, 2011, by Midge Frazel
For the final Rhode Island cemetery posting, I'd like to show you the memorial rocks for those that died in Rhode Island and are memorialized at Smith's Castle in Wickford, RI.

I attended a family reunion for the Gallup Family Association in 2011 at this location. With so many of my ancestors who lived near the borders of Rhode Island but died on land that became Rhode Island.

As this is part of a big fall project, I won't reveal anymore about it now. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sentimental Sunday; Oaklawn Baptist Church

Oaklawn Baptist Church, 1879

My earliest school days were spent in the historic village of Oaklawn in Cranston, Rhode Island. Although I never attended this church pictured here, I did belong to a Brownie troop that met in the parish hall attached to the back of the church. This church, the Oaklawn Baptist Church (1879), is famous for the May Day Breakfasts. I created this collage for a friend, who when he grew up, moved to Georgia and stayed there. By the miracle that is Facebook, he and I have reconnected. He is still a Baptist so I knew he would want to show his children that the church he worshiped in is still standing.

What I didn't know is that this church was built on part of the land where an early Quaker Meeting House stood. In the first Cranston Images of America book, there is a photo of the plain brown building that was that meetinghouse. I took a couple of photos of where that might have been and I will post them at a later date. There is still a close relationship between the Friends and several generations of Baptists that lived here. Isn't that great history?

It is easy to feel sentimental about this little village. I went to private preschool in Oaklawn in a lady's house and I still remember that they picked me up at my house, in a big black car. Our earliest memories must be important for a reason. 


When you return to a place that you have not visited in a long time, it can be stressful or calming. Feeling calm, I took other photos for Sentimental Sunday blog posts, but for today, you can enjoy this classic New England experience.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet Cemetery Statues

Reading Statues, 2014 

Several years ago, I took this photo (on the left) of a little "fairy or woodland nymph" guarding a child's grave. Most of the time, little statues like this are only to be found in gardens. Hubs has been everywhere trying to buy one like this for our garden. Imagine my surprise, when I found the photo on the right on a Facebook friends wall. Janice Branch Tracy of Mississippi, kindly went outside to pick her up to see if there was any brand name on it. Sadly, there wasn't. But, she allowed me to use this in my blog.

Contemporary graves  of children are often ornamented with toys, stuffed animals and items to help people mourn the loss of a tiny person. Mourning a child is the worst kind of grief. 

If anyone knows where I can buy a little statue like this, I'd love to know.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Marcy or Mercy

Photo by Frederick E. Burdick, used with his permission
“Here lies ye body of Marcy ye wife of George Denifon who died Septr ye 24 1724 in ye 67th year of her age”


I was amused to see that he name was carved as Marcy not Mercy on her gravestone. The Denison genealogy states that she was born in Barnstable, Massachusetts on 20 Jan 1657/1658  (page 3)and the Torry index of Early Marriages before 1700 says she married George Denison about 1677. (page 215)

It is interesting to note that she was the daughter of Capt. John GORHAM and his wife Desire HOWLAND, granddaughter of John Howland who came on the Mayflower. 

John GORHAM was the immigrant ancestor in his line and the Find-a-Grave page says he is buried at Cobb's Hill Cemetery. I have been there as I am a Cobb descendant. He doesn't have a gravestone. (Find-a-Grave entry)

Researching this couple is something that I have not done as yet. But one piece of evidence says he is buried on land he owned in Swansea, MA.

This couple did have a long life together. I think the third generation from the time of the Mayflower fared quite well.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Placement of Stones Part 1

Placement of Family Headstones (Part 1)

Grandfather Phares David Frazel and his wives, 2014, Maplewood Cemetery

Because of the blog post of last Thursday, I decided to make mini-collages for the headstones around the Frazel monument which is at Maplewood Cemetery in Middlesex, Marlborough, MA.

From the stone wall to the street:
Mamie/Phares/Linda/empty space/Frances

These headstones are NOT this close together and they are NOT at the front of the plot. All the headstones lie to the left or the right of the monument, probably because they would not fit (with casket burials) at the front or the back. Mamie (Mary Mae) Ulhman, first wife of Phares David Frazel does have information carved on the side of the stone facing these headstones. 

She died leaving her husband with a small child, Raymond Winslow Frazel for him to care for. Poor Mamie was pregnant when she died. I am not sure that her family knew even though it is on her death certificate. It gives a double sadness to her headstone.

Mamie's son Raymond was my father-in-law's half brother. He married and had two sons. Those sons married and have all daughters. Those ladies are my Facebook friends. Sadly, only one knew her grandmother. Together we are working on getting information to the family.

After Mamie died, I assume that the little boy lived with his grandparents, Joseph and Naomi. Their graves are in the other row and you will see them soon. They are inscribed with Mother and Father.


Linda was my husband's grandmother. Her family is also buried in the cemetery but a little distance away.

Phares and Linda had a baby girl who was stillborn before my father-in-law was born. They named her Frances. She is buried on the same side of the monument as her parents.


Stillborn Baby, Frances Merrow Frazel,
Maplewood Cemetery, Marlborough, MA

Placement of these stones in this family plot is important because anyone passing by will not be able to tell who they are since there are no dates to go by. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Denison Ground in Westerly

Photo by Frederick E. Burdick, used with his permission
“Here Lyeth ye body of George Denison ye son of Captain George Denison who decest, Decmbr ye 27 1711 in ye 58th yeare of his age

This gravestone is in a small graveyard in Westerly, Rhode Island in a (now) residential area, to the side of a house at 33 Timothy Drive. The RI Historical Cemetery Commission has a great photo of it with the stone wall all around it and after knowing where it is located I can see the wall using Google Maps. As it says here, this is on of the sons of Capt. George Denison and he was my 7th great grandfather. His mother was Ann Borodell and he was their fourth child born in Stonington, CT in 1653. This photo was shared by my cousin Fred Burdick. 

The current Denison genealogy doesn't tell me why he went to live in Rhode Island (#7, p. 3) and it says he was a Deputy in 1707. He and his wife had 9 children and only lost one in infancy. His daughter named Desire is my ancestor and she was named after the infant who died. (all that says is "died young").

His will is in the older Baldwin & Clift genealogy, which I own, so I will have to read that as I have not done so yet. 

His wife is most interesting and so I didn't post both stones together.

Cemetery is WY042 and I searched for it on the Rhode Island Cemetery Commission's site by "code". It is now called the George Denison Ground but he and his wife are the only Denison's buried there!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Betty and Gene Dunbar

Vergene Emerson Dunbar and his bride, Elizabeth Winifred Dalton,
 5 June 1937 in Marlborough, MA, (Frazel-Dunbar Family Collection)
 The Dunbar-Frazel Family Connection

Photo by Margo Reasner, used with her permission, taken 24 July 2014

My late father-law, Wilbur (Bill) Frazel, shared a close connection with his first cousin, Vergene (Gene) Emerson Dunbar. Their mothers were sisters and for their early years, the boys lived next door to each other. 

Bill's father moved his family to Dedham, MA and then to Bristol, RI before returning to the same house on Cherry St., in Hudson just a few years before they both passed away in 1949.

My husband's family was a great help with photographs and dates but organizing all this has been a big job. Gene and Betty's son, Billy and his sister Mary Linda and I have been trying to make connections and corrections for the four years we have lived here. 

Betty and Gene (shown here on their wedding day) helped Steve and I find a place to live for 7 weeks when we first got married. 

Steve changed jobs the week before we were married and that made a big mess to our plans as to where we were going to live. Gene made arrangements for us to rent part of a neighbor's house while we looked for a place to live in Bridgewater, MA. A few years later, Gene, who was a carpenter and a vocational education teacher, showed up at our house with a child sized table and chairs for our little girl.

She still has that table and chairs as she took them to use in her classroom. Recently, she took a photo of our grandson using the classroom computer which is on that table.


Little Anthony at his mom's table and chairs, 2014
Vergene's mother graduated from the Emerson (Hospital) School of Nursing which is probably why his middle name is Emerson. My grandsons were born at that same Emerson Hospital. More twists and turns in the family stories...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Empty Space in Family Plot

Maplewood Cemetery, 2 July 2014, Frazel plot

Order of Headstones

We live not very far from a cemetery in Marlborough, MA where my late father-in-law's family is buried. As my in-laws grew more elderly, I reviewed the final plans that they expressed to us some years ago when they revised their will making my husband the executor of their estate. They were emphatic that they were to be cremated and NOT buried. Still, I worried about them changing their minds at the last second. It is unnerving to worry about such inevitable  responsibilities. 

So, unknown to them, we went to this cemetery and couldn't find the Frazel plot. Our daughter called the cemetery office and they assured her that there was a plot with that name. We went back and finally found it. The huge hosta plant covered the base where it says Frazel. I did feel better after finding it.

Recently, we returned because I wanted to make sure that I had the headstones in the right order. I made a video with my iPhone so that there would be no question of the placement.

Stepping back, I realized that there is a space between hubs grandfather, Phares and his second wife Linda. (his first wife Mamie is buried on his "other'' side which is normal as she died first). Phares and Linda had a daughter who was born and died in the same day and she was named Frances. You can see her headstone in this photo. But, what I observe now, is that there is an empty space in this plot which must have been reserved for my father-in-law, just in case. At least now I know where we could have buried them if they changed their mind. (They were cremated and the cremains were sent to their youngest son.)

Placement of headstones can be additional confirming evidence of the order of death in a family. It isn't perfect but it is another piece of evidence to help you puzzle it out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: First White Woman Born in New England

Photo by Michael L. of Rhode Island, used with his permission

I have been admiring the Facebook page called Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries. It is affiliated with the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Commission which I have been writing about in this blog. I spied this shot of the side of the Pabodie monument.  I decided to ask permission to use this monument as part of my summer Rhode Island cemetery reporting because she is my husband's ancestor. (We are both Alden descendants!)

It turns out that Michael, who hosts the Facebook page is the son of one of my (now deceased) college professors. Isn't that amazing? Only in Rhode Island could this happen!

This is in Little Compton, Rhode Island in the Old Commons Burial Ground. Elisabeth also has an original lovely gravestone embedded in this monument. It was mounted in the monument in June 1882. Here is her husband's gravestone. (Love the grinning "teeth?)

This looks like a lovely cemetery and to my knowledge I have never been in Little Compton, ever! This is another RI town that was once part of Massachusetts.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Nurturing Art

The Guido Project

Photos by Midge Frazel and Heather Frazel Sacco, 2014


At the end of this month, my older grandson, who is 5, will go to Kindergarten. By no means, he is a giant as we are a vertically challenged family and my readers will know he was a month premature. However, he is getting too big for me to comfortably hold him on my hip for any length of time. It is hard to believe how fast he is growing up!


He's an active little boy and he has many interests. Like me, he is not a big "foodie" but amazingly, he likes to cook.

When my daughter was buying things for their first condo, she bought this board print for her kitchen. Since they now live in a single family home, this simple work of art, hangs in the hall between the entrance to the garage and the kitchen. As you can see the man in the painting is making a pie. I spent a lot of time examining this and thought up an idea for nurturing my grandson's love of drawing and cooking. Of course, his man had to have a name so I searched for a name NOT in my family or my son-in-law's family so that no one in the  future is going to think of this as a picture of a relative or an ancestor. I call him Guido. Anything that begins with a "G" is hard to pronounce by little people. I thought if he heard this enough he might be able to hear the "G" in Grama and Grandpa. It is working.

I started by lifting him up and pointing to objects in the painting. Rolling pin was hard. The concept of making a pie was hard. But, he quickly got the idea of the table, the open window and the countertop.  

We don't "do Guido" as much anymore and it is time for me to start his little brother looking at it, I think. 

Colors, shapes and the artist's signature is something we are sill working on. He likes to point to all of the things he knows and tell ME about them now. That's fun. He told his other grandmother all about Guido. Family is a funny thing, don't you agree?

P.S. My mother was an artist and had a degree from RISD in Rhode Island, her mother was also creative and could play the piano "by ear'. Both of my grandmothers were good cooks.