There are a lot of things I know about Elizabeth. Her parents. Her husband. Her children. But I didn’t know when she died or where her final resting place was. And it bothered me.
Her husband, James Calvin Donald,1 her son John Charlton2 and John’s wife Elizabeth3 and their two sons are buried in at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. All in the same plot. You can see James Calvin Donald in the back with the Southern Cross. John C Donald Sr and Elizabeth J Donald in the front, and to the right out of the picture are John and Elizabeth’s two sons. Where is Elizabeth Wallace, wife of James? Mother of John?
There are four posts about six inches high around the plot. I took this short video to document the size of the plot and then empty spaces.
I headed over to the cemetery office to ask him about the plot and to see if there was any information we could find. The very helpful office worker, I wish I could remember his name, looked up James in the index and then helped us find the correct card in his book. Two columns. On the left, John C Donald (Dec 27/1827 March 6/ 1748), Elizabeth J Donald (1895-1973), John C Donald (1921-1976), and William Lewis Donald (6-28-1927 – 5-16-05)5
And in the right column? James C. Donald (1836 -1899). And three graves. We asked the caretaker and he said that those were unmarked graves. He also told us that the information came from the church when they transferred the cemetery to the city. Notice the information on the right was typed. The information on the left was written, no doubt when the person was buried.
Now let’s say one of them was Elizabeth Jane Wallace, wife of James. Who are the other two? According to a rather lengthy family history of the Lyle family in Rockbridge County, James and Elizabeth had two children that died young: William D and Andrew M.7
Are the three unmarked graves, Elizabeth, William and James? I asked about the question mark on that page and it is a possible grave.
We do know that Elizabeth’s will was written in 1901 and she left everything to her son John C Donald, who is buried in the plot with unmarked graves.8 He also declares himself the executor of her estate on October 1st, 1918.9 It is loose circumstantial evidence that he would have buried his mother in that same plot that he later was buried in and his father was buried in.
I also know that Elizabeth is in the 1910 census, living with her son, John C, and her mother.10 So she died sometime between 1910 and 1918, most likely in 1918. And I think there is a strong possibility that she is one of the unmarked graves in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. Still more work needs to be done. But I’m closer!
Love the use of the video! Future generations will thank you for research like this…
Last time I was at the cemetery I decided to do videos to show relationship of graves next to each other. You miss that in the photos. Glad you liked it.
I admire your dedication…genealogy and the research it requires is truly a labor of love 🙂
It is a labor of love. 🙂
it is SOO much more…and not many recognize that…so…though it is small and from a total stranger, congrats on a great job 😀 and I hope you will continue to enjoy every minute of it 😀
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I suppose this is an obvious place to look, but have you looked for an obit for her in local papers?
I wonder what standard of proof the cemetery would need to add a marker?
I have been looking for my GGF’s grave for a number of years. According to family stories he died in Baltimore City during the Great Pandemic of 1918-1919. I searched death records at the archives to no avail. I read an article at: http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/your_state/northeast/maryland/ which mentions that “Deaths went unrecorded as the city workers who processed death certificates were out sick. Funeral homes overflowed and bodies began to be stacked up outside these buildings.” This article certainly put a damper on my hope of finding my GGF’s grave!
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