28 June 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - The Brace Tree

This was an interesting gravestone in Short Tract Cemetery located in Granger, Allegany, New York. It is a tree stump with what looks like a Calla Lily at the base. According to GraveAddiction.com, it represents beauty. I did not see any markings on the actual tree, however, a transcription was done for this cemetery at the Painted Hills Genealogy Society's website and there is only one Brace listed.
Nellie Brace
spouse of W.E. Brace
born 1853
died 1895

Source: Brace Gravestone, Short Tract Cemetery, Granger (Allegany County), New York; personally photographed by author on 29 May 2011.

22 June 2011

Wednesday's Child - Bessie Dunn 1907-1908

Daughter of
Harry L. &
Louise E. Dunn

Source: Bessie Dunn gravestone, Section DD, Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira (Chemung County), New York; photographed by the author 13 Jul 2010.

14 June 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Willis Breese Humfrey (1836-1864)

Willis Brees Humfrey
Davids Island NY
Feb 1 1864
In defense of his
Willis B.
Son of
C.C. & Sarah
AE 27 y & 9 m.

Willis Brees Humfrey was born in Erin, NY and worked as a farmer. He enlisted into the Civil War as a Private on November 28, 1861 at the age of 25 years. He served with Company C, 89th Infantry Regiment NY. He was wounded on September 17, 1862 in Antietam, Maryland and December 13, 1862 in Fredericksburg, VA. He died at DeCamp Hospital on Davids Island, NY. Records also state he died at Folly Island (South Carolina) and Long Island NY.


  • Ancestry.com. New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • Willis Brees Humfrey gravestone, Breesport Baptist Cemetery, Breesport (Chemung County), New York; photographed by the author 02 Jun 2011.

11 June 2011

Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, New York

Woodlawn National Cemetery is a military cemetery and it has that classic, haunting feel to it that most military cemeteries have. It is a smaller one that is located right next to Woodlawn Cemetery. 

When I first moved here, I wanted to learn more about the small town I had moved to so my in-laws took me on The Elmiran Trolley tour. I think this was one of my favorite things I had done that summer! What an amazing way to learn the history of a town... by driving around and seeing it firsthand. The speaker/driver of the bus was interesting and my mother-in-law even said she learned a couple of new things even though she had been on the tour before. I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to do if you are ever in the Elmira area.

View of the Civil War Section

On this tour, we passed by the huge Woodlawn Cemetery and its smaller neighbor, Woodlawn National Cemetery. The driver told a fantastic story about how John W. Jones, a former slave, painstakingly buried Confederate soldiers from the nearby Elmira Prison Camp (also known as "Helmira") with each of their belongings and kept records on each and every one of them. Such care was taken of them that it was decided by the Daughters of the Confederacy to let them rest there and a monument was erected for them. You can read more about John W. Jones and his amazing story at his website John W. Jones Museum.
Plaque for Civil War Confederate Soldiers
Between July 1864 and August 1865, 2973
Confederate soldiers were buried here 
with kindness and respect, by John W. Jones, 
a runaway slave. They have remained in 
these hallowed grounds of Woodlawn
National Cemetery by family choice
because of the honorable way in which 
they were laid to rest by a caring man.

There are Union soldiers buried here as well and it continues to inter military members. There is an extensive transcribed list at Interment.net as they obtained their information from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Find A Grave also has approximately 8,600 listings for this cemetery, however, only about 1,000 of them have photos attached at this time.
Flagpole at the center of the cemetery drive.
Plaque at the base of the flagpole
 From The Bivouac of the Dead
by Theodore O'Hara
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

Search for cemetery records in Woodlawn National Cemetery, NY at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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Here is my Flickr photo album for Woodlawn National Cemetery. Keep checking back as I will continue to add photos to this album.


10 June 2011

Breesport Baptist Church Cemetery, Breesport, NY

This cemetery is small with approximately 200 burials. It is located next to the Breesport Baptist Church on North Chemung Road at Church Street. There is a short history of this church as well as a photograph on Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice. It appears that the old church building was among the gravestones until about 1976 when they built a new church building on the land next to the cemetery. You can see photos of this on the Breesport Baptist Church website.

It is very well-kept cemetery that was freshly mowed and completely devoid of trash. It is not remote at all as there are houses surrounding it, as well as the church.

Most of the grave markers are older with deaths ranging in the 1800's. There were a couple of deaths in the early 1900's, and I didn't see anything after that. There were multiple stones that appeared as if they had been broken, either because they had fallen over due instability or they were pushed over. Some of them seemed to have fallen long ago as they were already being taken over by the grass surrounding them.
You can barely make out the name on this one
There were a few gravestones that looked as though they had been purposely broken and the pieces that were broken off were missing. They were not anywhere near the broken stone, which makes you wonder what happened to them.
Broken off stone near the Brees Family. It is possible it is a child's since it is so small.
Another stone was not only flat on the ground, but it was broken and the lower half of it completely missing. You could see that it had been there at some point as the outline of the gravestone remained in the grass.
All that is left of Thomas Baldwin's gravestone
As usual, my little buddy came along with me and as usual, she is just a joy to be around. She happily galloped along and entertained herself while I took over 100 photos of this cemetery. We made it about halfway through before she asked to leave and I managed to convince her to hang on until we were done. She's just so happy that it's nice to have her company when visiting a location that can sometimes make you sad...

I like to remember my little ray of sunshine when I have to look at gravestones such as this one of twins who didn't make it very long in this world.
Infant on left and Adelia age 6 on right; Brees Family
There is a transcription of this cemetery done on Joyce M. Tice's website; however, just a warning that the information in the notes section was put there by whoever did the transcription and it is not always inscribed on the actual tombstones. There also appears to be multiple entries for the same gravestone. Below is a photo of the gravestone and it appears to have two entries in the transcription. It is listed as Osher & Reginal Breese as well as Osker & R.E. Ginal (look hard for this at the bottom of the gravestone). I don't see the name Breese on the gravestone, however, it is sunken in.
I am not trying to be insulting, I'm merely pointing it out for anyone who would be using it for research purposes. I am very grateful for this transcription as it helped me cross reference some of the gravestones that were covered and could only be read partially.

You can search this cemetery through the Find A Grave search box:

Search for cemetery records in Breesport Baptist Church, NY at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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I was frustrated at the end of visiting this cemetery because although I did obtain a lot of photos, I could not find 4 out of the 9 photo requests for this cemetery. I even walked through the cemetery twice trying to find them. I don't know if they were one of the sunken or broken graves, but three of them were in the transcription mentioned above so they had to have been in the cemetery at some point. I'm just sorry I didn't get a photograph of them in time.

You can find the photos I did take at Flickr.


07 June 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - The Pratt Plot

This family plot is located in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, Chemung, New York. It is near Mark Twain's gravestone and I find it beautiful. There are stairs that lead up to the enclosed area that my son said "makes him feel like Indiana Jones" when he climbs up them. There are many Pratt family members buried within this plot, however,  the main headstone indicates Daniel and Mary Pratt. Daniel was a manufacturer of woolen products, however, after this business failed, he became a farmer in Dix, Chemung, New York. He died in 1843 in Dix, however, because his sons moved to Elmira, it is likely that is why he is buried there. Mary, his wife, died 17 years later in Elmira, NY.
Stairs leading to plot

Daniel & Mary Platt


  • Daniel & Mary Pratt tombstone, Section G, Woodlawn Cemetery (Chemung County) New York; photographed by the author, July 2010.
  • Towner, Ausburn. "Biography of George E. Pratt." Our Country and Its People: A History of the Valley and County of Chemung (1892). Electronic Edition. Online Biographies. http://www.onlinebiographies.info/ny/chem/pratt-ge.htm : 2011.