One of the most impressive and my all time favorite cemetery is the Cimetiere du Père Lachaise, in Paris. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it covers 110 acres and holds over 1 million people. The cemetery was established in 1804 by Napoleon, and is known as the first garden cemetery.
A few years ago I visited Normandy and was able to pay a visit to the Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer ( Normandy American Cemetery). I don’t usually get too emotional at cemeteries, but this one was different.The cemetery is 172.5 acres with 9,387 burials and the names of 1,557 soldiers who are listed as missing in action. It’s located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach with a breathtaking view. Most of those buried here were killed during the D-Day invasion, and it’s interesting to note that the cemetery overlooks the sector where the 1st Division landed on D-Day.
I drive past the Mount Ogden Mausoleum on an almost daily basis and have always wanted to stop and have a look inside but never have. Until a few days ago. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day, eh?
Mill Fork Cemetery first caught my eye while coming back from a weekend trip to Moab. Located in Spanish Fork Canyon, it’s right off the highway, and if you don’t know to watch for it, by the time you see the sign you’ve already passed. A couple of weekends ago we decided to take a drive and explore the cemetery for ourselves.
I hadn’t done any research on the cemetery beforehand, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than it was old. What we found upon arrival, was unexpected, and quite honestly, it’s the oddest cemetery I’ve visited.
I wasn’t sure what we would find as we drove under the cemetery sign. Once we got out of the car and could see wooden stairs that led to a long bridge over a wash, my curiosity was piqued! At the end of the stairs was a metal gate and the cemetery, surrounded by a chain-link fence. The official internment count is 17; I guess these are the graves with headstones. However, Find A Grave lists 46 total burials, the first occurring in 1895, and the last according to the State of Utah in 1926.
Walking through the small cemetery, I noticed that most of the graves were from two families, and almost all of them were very, very, young when they died. Another gated chain-link fence surrounded these graves, and large bushes made them hard to see. Mill Fork Cemetery was turning out to be quite unusual. Outside of the cemetery there appeared to be maybe 2-3 unmarked graves. Some were small mounds covered with rocks, and one had a wooden headstone so worn any writing that had been there at one point, was now long gone.
Not knowing the history of Mill Fork, of which little to no trace remains, I decided to see what I could find. I also wanted to know how all these young children died. I was not disappointed by what I would learn; almost every burial here resulted from a tragic death.
Established around 1875, Mill Fork was a logging camp that was implemental to the development of the railroad through the canyon. At its height, it had a population of about 250 people, three sawmills, charcoal kilns, a general store, and housing for railroad employees.
The first interments took place in June 1893. They were Edna Eva Finch (3 years old), Effie Finch (3 years old), and Georgia Geraldine Finch (5 years old). The Salt Lake Herald reported that a woman and her child were trying to escape a scarlet fever epidemic in Grand Junction, Colorado. They stopped for a few days in Mill Fork, not realizing that they were infected, nor did they tell anyone they came from a city experiencing a Scarlet Fever outbreak. Within that short period, they contaminated Mill Fork, and many of the people became ill. The Finch family were hardest hit, losing three of their children. If the Finch children had stone markers at one point, they are now gone, being replaced relatively recently with wooden markers.
The next person to be buried here was Myrtle Elliott, on May 31st, 1905. 9-year old Myrtle was outside with her older brother who was unloading 100-lb sacks of grain from a wagon. He didn’t realize she was behind him and accidentally dropped the grain on top of her.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of the tragic deaths in the Elliott family. 3 years later, her father, William Edson Elliott was struck and killed by some runaway coal cars. It is reported the first mine car hit him so hard it knocked his hat off. He was then run over by 6 more cars before the 8th car derailed after striking him.
The irony in Edson Elliott’s death is that for years he was a railroad section foreman in charge of keeping sections of rail safe for travel. He was only working inside the Castle Gate Mine temporarily, waiting for outside work to become available.
The last and most shocking story behind the Mill Fork Cemetery belongs to Ida Viola Chadwick Ballard and her husband and murderer, Paris Ballard. Ida had family ties to Mill Fork, but she and her husband were living in Salt Lake City at the time of their deaths. Paris worked as a farmhand on Antelope Island and was often gone for stretches at a time. Apparently, he was also an alcoholic and when he was back in Salt Lake with Ida he was prone to jealous fits in a drunken state. Neighbors said they seemed to be a nice couple overall.
On the day of her death, the 12th of September, 1919, Ida Ballard was able to get Deputy Sheriff Arthur Waller to accompany her back to their apartment in order to dissuade her husband from carrying out threats he had previously made against her. When they got to the apartment, Paris was gone, and they assumed he had gone back to Antelope Island for work and wouldn’t be a problem at that time. It turns out he had not headed back to Antelope Island, but instead was out purchasing a gun and some whiskey.
He later returned to the house and began arguing with Ida. A neighbor who lived on the other side of the apartment reported hearing him yell at Ida to come into the house, and when she refused, he was seen dragging her inside. The neighbor told police that she couldn’t hear what they were arguing about, but that the tone was angry. She then heard Ida pleading for her life when two shots rang out followed by three more shots and silence.
When police arrived they found Ida dead on her knees at the foot of the bed, and Paris face down on the bed barely alive. As they were getting ready to transport him to the hospital, they found a half-empty flask of whiskey in his pocket. He died later that evening at the Salt Lake Emergency Hospital. For whatever reason, their family decided to have them buried side by side in the Mill Fork Cemetery.
I think it’s great that Doug and Christie Atwood have taken it upon themselves to maintain, improve, and document this little cemetery so well. It’s well worth a stop if you’re ever in the area. Make sure you sign the guestbook!
One of the most interesting things about the town of Goldfield, Nevada is that the dead now far outnumber the living. There are approximately 1,200 people buried in the city cemetery and according to the 2010 census, only 248 people currently reside in Goldfield.
The original cemetery was located close to the railroad tracks and once the Goldfield Hotel was built, city officials thought visitors to the city, especially those staying at the hotel, should not be greeted by the cemetery once stepping off the train. In 1908, the bodies of 70 pioneers were moved from the original cemetery to the new cemetery which is located right on the edge of town.
Most of the tombstones are made from crudely cut stone, and volunteers over the years have kept the inscriptions visible by painting them red. A lot of the stones are simply marked miner, or unknown.
When I learned that I would be visiting Goldfield, I was excited to learn that one of my favorite headstones was located in the Goldfield Cemetery. I know, I know, it doesn’t take much for a girl like me to get excited. But this isn’t just any old headstone……
Often when I go walking in a cemetery, I’ll spot a headstone that grabs my attention. Maybe it is an unusual style, or maybe the name is unique, who knows? I’ll go home and do some quick research on the name to see if there is any mention in local newspapers or genealogy websites. I have found many interesting stories about people who lived in Ogden and died long ago. People whose stories have become lost to time. Some of them turned out to be well-known watchmakers like
Some of them turn out to be famous watchmakers like William Samelius, while others led quiet lives and their stories have been lost to time. One day while taking a stroll around the Ogden City Cemetery I happened to see the grave of Dirk Groen. While not terribly unusual, I found the inscription interesting and noticed he died at a young age and was curious about the cause of death.
I found that Dirk Groen, who often went by Dick, was a 20-year-old man who had recently been discharged from the Army after serving during WWI. He first got a job for the railroad and then was hired by the Globe Milling & Elevator Company as a carpenter.
While working on scaffolding on Saturday, August 30th, 1919 Dirk somehow fell suffering a skull fracture of which he would not recover. He was declared dead at 4 pm, having lived about an hour and a half after the fall.
Groen’s father and step-mother filed a workers compensation claim against the Globe Milling & Elevator company asserting they were dependent on a portion of Dirk’s wages. Workers compensation laws were new at this time in the United States. Utah didn’t pass the Workers Compensation Act until 1917 and the Groen’s claim was one of the first of its kind in Utah. Since Dirk had no dependents his father asserted that they were dependent on a portion of his income.
Initially, the courts agreed and the insurance company awarded his father $2,192. The insurance company appealed to the state supreme court and the award was overturned stating dependency had not been established. Instead of his father receiving any money, $750 would be sent to the state treasury per law.
Much to the disappointment of my children, I often like to stop by local cemeteries and wander around taking pictures. They usually get dragged along with me. I figure it makes for an interesting childhood, right? ;)We usually end up at the Ogden City Cemetery. It’s close to where we live, it’s relatively old, and it has its fair share of unusual headstones. It seems like even though I’ve been to the cemetery numerous times, I always seem to find something new every time I go.
It should come as no surprise that I have been interested in all things creepy since a very early age. I would say by the age of 8 I had seen almost every cheesy horror movie out there, Vincent Price was one of my favorite actors, and I read every creepy book and magazine I could get my hands on. The Jessop Family Cemetery was just another piece that helped form my fascination with the unusual.I think my parents kept hoping I would grow out of it, but unfortunately for them 26 years later my love for everything creepy and macabre has only grown. I grew up in Arizona but spent almost every summer in Maryland and Pennsylvania visiting family. One of my aunts always fed my fascination with ghosts by telling me all sorts of scary experiences and urban legends that were popular in and around Baltimore County.
If you circle the Moritz Mausoleum three times while chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo” and then look into the mausoleum you’ll see the red glowing eyes of “Emo” staring back at you.
One of the local legends I’ve had a lot of people ask me about is that of Emo’s Grave. Emo’s Grave is a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The tomb is visible from 4th Street just East of 990 East. You won’t find the name Emo anywhere on the mausoleum, however as it, in fact, belonged to a man by the name of Jacob Moritz.
Jacob Moritz was born in Ingenheim, Germany in February of 1849 and immigrated to the United States in September of 1865 at the age of 16. After spending a couple of years in New York City working at the F.M. Schaefer Brewing Co, he moved to St Louis where he worked for Anheuser-Busch. Determined to try his hand at mining he eventually made his way to Helena, Montana. It’s unknown whether he wasn’t successful at mining or just wanted to get back into brewing but in 1871 he moved to Salt Lake City and opened the Little Montana Brewery. Within a few years, Jacob’s brewery became immensely successful, and he built a much larger, state of the art brewery on 10th East and 5th South, renaming it the Salt Lake City Brewing Co. Part of what was once a large brewery is still standing and is now the Anniversary Inn.
Over his 39 years in Salt Lake City, Jacob Moritz grew his brewery to be one of the largest outside of Milwaukee. His beer was sold throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and even parts of California. At the height of his success, he also owned over 36 saloons. In 1889 he married Lahela Louisson from Hawaii, and she joined him in Salt Lake. They were both extremely active with the local Jewish community; he served as President of Temple B’nai Israel, and she was the leader of the Hebrew Ladies’ Relief Society. Not only was he a successful brewer and businessman, but he was also involved in Utah politics, with the Liberal Party. Despite the fact that he made his fortune by the production and sale of alcohol, and also that he was involved in the less popular liberal politics, he was embraced by Utah’s Mormon population and from all accounts was extremely popular and well liked. In October 1909 he was issued a passport and shortly after that he and Lahela left the United States to go to Europe. Mr. Moritz had been in poor health for a few months, and they thought the rest, along with the local mineral springs would do his health good. By June of 1910, they had made their way to Germany, and it was there that Jacob Moritz succumbed to the effects of lung and stomach cancer. His wife and siblings were present when he died at the age of 61. And here is where the legend of Emo’s grave begins.
According to the newspaper article that announced his death, Lahela had her husband cremated, with the intention to inter his remains in a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Lahela returned to the United States from Europe on the 23rd of July. Jacob’s remains were sent “in bond” and arrived on the 25th. His remains were interred in the mausoleum sometime after July 31st, but I could find no mention of a funeral or any ceremony.Shortly after his remains were placed in the mausoleum the rumors about “Emo’s grave” began. It’s not known who or what started these rumors, or where the name Emo originated. Lahela remarried not long after Jacob’s death and moved with her new husband to California. Eventually, Jacob’s remains were removed and given to his family, but it’s not known where they were eventually reinterred. I suspect they were probably taken to California and possibly even buried with Lahela upon her death in 1959.