Monday, April 23, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Serendipity in a Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery, West Hazleton, PA
I was preparing to post on the 1930 census with another census form, but weeding, mulching and trying to avoid being eaten by fire ants occupied the majority of my day so the census form wasn't completed. At least it's almost done so it should go up next week.  The trials and tribulations of trying to get a home in order to be put on the market!

I like sharing tombstone photos on my blog, as well as on other sites like because I know how important they can be in research, so it was only natural for me to do a Tombstone Tuesday post, but on who?

In the end I decided to do one on someone that wasn't even a member of my family.  Her name was Jane Rich, but she was known to my mom, aunt and uncle, as "Aunt Jane".  At some point, Jane began living with my great aunt Marian Brown so "Aunt Jane" she became and she outlived my great aunt Marian by about 13 years.

I didn't even know where "Aunt Jane" was buried when my mom and I went cemetery hopping this summer.  I had grabbed some flowers from the local Lowe's to put by the tombstones and we were off to Mountain View Cemetery in West Hazleton, PA to place flowers by my grandparents, Clarence and Florence Tabor nee Bronsavage's, grave.  The conversation in the car was about Aunt Marian and "Aunt Jane".  I was seeking clarification on who exactly Jane Rich was and as my mom was talking about her we looked to the right of the road and saw a tall family marker with "Rich" on it.  We stopped the car and got out and wouldn't you know we were standing there looking at Jane's gravesite.  I, naturally, had to take a picture or her stone (as well as the stones nearby).

I don't know much about "Aunt Jane" but a quick search tells me that she was the daughter to J. William and Edith Rich nee Morris.  She was the oldest of three known children of William and Edith, a younger brother named Harry (who was in the 1920 census, but missing from the 1930 census and may have died) and a sister, Harriett who would have been born a year or two after Harry was born. Her tombstone tells me that she was born in 1908 and died in 1965.

Other information that I discovered (and I will have to verify this when I get back home in reach of additional resources and records) is that Jane most likely studied at Pennsylvania State University and majored in Home Economics.  She was a member of the Chi Omega sorority (both details I discovered in Penn State's 1930 yearbook "La Vie") 

We think that after Aunt Marian died that "Aunt Jane"  ended up with most if not all of Aunt Marian's belongings.  Oh how we'd love to have some of those photos that are most likely never to be found!  One in particular was of Aunt Marian in a beautiful dress leaning against a piano.  It would be a happy day in my family if we ever found that photo!  Here's hoping that someday we'll be able to track down that photo!