Monday, October 8, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Octavia Villers

Oh blog, how I've missed you!  Life was taking over and you've grown so neglected.  I will do my best to not let life take over, but to take over my life.  Now on to what I love doing....

I've posted Octavia Villers obituaries before, but I was never able to post her tombstone picture.  She's buried up in North Dakota and I've never been out there (and don't really see a trip in my near future).  Thank goodness for Find A Grave and their volunteers!  My request for a picture was filled about a month ago, and it is truly amazing that it was filled at all.

You see Octavia's obituary stated that she was buried in Saint James Church's cemetery.  I incorrectly assumed that this meant that she was buried in Saint James Cemetery.  Find A Grave does have a Saint James cemetery in Stutsman county, North Dakota.  The one (and only one) interment should have been an indicator that something was wrong, but noooooooo.  I just drove on and entered Octavia's information and created a memorial for her.  Then I submitted a request and waited....and waited...and waited.

My Find A Grave angel must have checked for memorials because for all intents and purposes if he was just photographing the tombstones in Calvary Cemetery in Jamestown (Stutsman county) and uploading them to Find A Grave he shouldn't have come across my memorial.  Someone was watching over me and he did and I got a correction submitted to me.  He had uploaded the picture and I was able to transfer the memorial over to the correct cemetery!

Looking at the tombstone it appears to be the funeral home's marker embedded in cement.  I don't know why she didn't have a more traditional tombstone.  Was this commonplace back in 1940?  I will be contacting the cemetery to find out and to seek answers for others questions.  Was her husband, Martin Joseph, buried in that cemetery?  He died in prison so perhaps not.  If they are buried together, does he have a marker?  Either way, I would like to see a more traditional marker put in place one day.  A genealogist can dream, right?

So why choose today to post Octavia's tombstone?  Well, this week is National Fire Prevention Week.  It takes place this week because the week of October 8th is when the Chicago Fire occurred...more importantly (and as stated in my previous post) the Peshtigo Fire occurred, which was much more destructive in the acreage burned and lives taken...and Octavia and her family managed to survive.  Not only did Octavia survive, but she lived for 69 years after the Peshtigo Fire!  Good for you, Octavia!

It's a great story, so if you haven't taken a peek just check out yesterday's post.  It's a repeat, but it'll be a post I always share on it's anniversary.  Had Octavia and her family not survived life for me would be completely different.  I would not have my wonderful husband and two beautiful boys.

A very special thanks to Mr BJ Brewer for not only taking the picture and emailing me the correction, but for kindly giving permission for me to use the photo in my blog.

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