All Photos and Unburials by J Sanford Kruizenga, MFA, Genetic Genealogist
Reclaiming lost graves is a skill that can be learned by any ambitious family historian. While this page will not serve as a tutorial in how to find headstones buried for decades beneath soil and sod, it will serve as a testimony to the fact that this art can be undertaken and accomplished with relative ease. I used to actively pursue the difficult photo requests on Find-a-Grave: those marked as having no headstone. And what I discovered was that for a portion of these – those written off by other photogs as having no headstone – the reality of the matter was that the headstones were just buried and thus lost to time, not having seen the light of day for sometimes 50, 75, even 100 years or more!
This page is my personal reclamation of lost graves over the past 5 years in and around the Greater Grand Rapids area. I don’t have as much time to devote to this project as I once did but plan to add to this page as time allows.
LOLA MAY ALBION
No other markings.
The handmade headstone was likely carved by her father, Fred Albion, or by her mother, Ida. Very touching.
This is the resting place of Lola May Albion. Cemetery record has last name entered as Albain but this is likely incorrect.
Lola’s father was Fred G. Albion. The 1894 Michigan Census shows the following:
Fred G. Albion, age 21, white male, barber
Ida M. Albion, age 20, white female
Lola May Albion, age 6 months (?)
They live at 1083 Gilbert Street in Grand Rapids.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block N, Lot 48A, Space 14 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Renske was the daughter of Gerrit and Hilje BERGSMA of 40 Sigsbee in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Renske died from pneumonia.
Resting Place of
Born 15 December 1902
Died 17 November 1903
EVELYN F. & MARION R. BIGELOW
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block D, Lot 83, spaces 7 and 10 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Evelyn F. BIGELOW and Marion R. BIGELOW (Initial ‘B’ on DC) were children of William & Dina BIGELOW. 5-year old Evelyn died from gastroenteritis (stomach flu) in 1908. Marion died from marasmus (severe malnutrition) on 2 September 1901: she was 8 months, 5 days old… born 28 December 1900.
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 4, Lot 14W, Space 8 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
The 1860 Federal Census shows the following household living in the 5th ward of Grand Rapids:
Samuel Davis, age 43, pottery manufacturer, born England
Elsie Davis, age 36, born Canada
Eli Hubbard, age 34, born Canada
John Wilson, age 30, born Canada
David L. Stivens, age 26, born Scotland
William Haines, age 22, potter, born England
Michael Riley, age 22, potter, born Ireland
The 1870 Federal Census details the following household living in the 2nd ward of Grand Rapids:
Samuel Davis, 52, potter, born England
Ellcee Davis, 42, born Ontario
William D. Davis, 13, born Ontario
This is an indication that Elcy was born some time between 1824-1828.
Feb. 21, 1874
Here Rests Our Beloved Father
Died on 30 May 1886 aged
x3 years, 6 months, and 9 days
Official Grand Rapids City Cemetery records do NOT have record of Cornelius DeVlieg. However, the old Valley City Cemetery 1931 reading does contain mention of Cornelius, but they incorrectly list his death year as 1880. That record also states that Cornelius was 63 years, 6 months, and 9 days at death. With the corrected death date of 1886, this would give Cornelius a birth date of 21 November 1822 which fits with the following immigration record.
Kornelis DeVlieg immigrated with family in 1872. He was then 49 years old. It is unknown which port he came through, possibly Canada.
Cornelius appears in the 1878 Grand Rapids City Directory as:
DeVlieg, Cornelius – laborer, res. 334 S. East
He also appears in the 1886 Grand Rapids City Directory as:
DeVlieg, Cornelius – laborer, res. 348 S. East
Adjacent Cornelius in 1878 is Ike (Isaac) DeVlieg, a finisher, boards 334 S. East. That Ike (Isaac) DeVlieg is found on the 1884 Michigan Census for John TUINMAN and his wife, Trientze. Trientze (likely Trijntje) is the sister of Ike. Both Ike and Trientze are noted as having lived in the USA for 12 years, confirming the 1872 family immigration.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block 11, Lot 86W, Space 10 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Conrad DYKMAN was the son of John and Kate DYKMAN of 709 Sherman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Conrad died from pneumonia on 23 June 1915. He was born 20 May 1912.
Clarissa arrived in Grand Rapids between 1870 and 1872. She is found in the 1872 Grand Rapids City Directory, a widow, boarding 16 Coit Avenue. The 1870 Federal Census shows her living in her native New York State in Canandaiuga, Ontario, New York in the Joseph Hunter household (family 882). It may be that Mary, the wife of Joseph, was Clarissa’s daughter Mary Jane. In 1860 Clarissa was living with the Gilbert Hendrickson household (family 3527) in West Farms, Westchester, New York. And the 1850 Federal Census tells us that Clarissa, 54 at the time, was married to Isaac Fairman, age 60, and had five children: Julia, 37; Eliza, 24; Ellen, 19; Mary Jane, 16; and John, 11. This was in Ridgeway, Orleans, New York (family 680). Isaac was a wheat buyer. The Fairman home was valued at $1,000 in 1850 dollars.
MAY 4, 1796
Feb. 10, 1875
In Thy presence is fullness
of joy, and at Thy right hand
there are pleasures for
(Verse from Psalm 16:11b)
MARTHA A. GAY
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 6, Lot 14E, Space 7 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
(Willow tree – symbolizes mourning)
J. S. GAY
25 (illegible) 56
Cemetery record shows date of service: 25 December 1856
JELTJE H. GLAS
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 3, Lot 17E, Space 7 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Hier Rust [Here Rests]
[Illegible line in Dutch]
JELTJE H. GLAS
29 July 1855
29 Nov. 18[?]4
[2 Illegible lines in Dutch]
CHARLES B. GRAHAM
Aug. 25, 1909
Sept. 17, 1909
Charles Butler GRAHAM was the son of Charles & Nellie BUTLER GRAHAM. He was born on the 25th of August, 1909 and died 22 days later from “marasmus” which is severe malnutrition brought on by a protein deficiency. The family lived at 416 S. College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From the 1910 Federal census, Charles J. GRAHAM was 35 and worked as a designer in a furniture company. His wife, Ellen B. is 35, both being from England. Ellen is the mother of 3 children, 2 that were then living: Harriet K., age 5; and Ester H., age 4, both born in Michigan.
CHARLES W. HENDERSHOT
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery (south), Block J, Lot 78, Space 1.
Charles W. HENDERSHOT
Died Aug. 14, 1884
Aged 31 Yrs, 3 Mos, 1 Days
Gattin von (Wife of)
Den (on) 26.Aug.1884
Alter 35 Jahre (Age 35 Years)
Adeline (Liddie) HUBER was born in Boston, Mass. according to cemetery records. She was the wife of Henry HUBER, a furrier by trade. In 1880 the family lived at 197 West Broadway Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Henry was 38, Addie was 30, and son Walter was 7. Henry was born in Baden, Germany as were his parents. Adeline was born in Boston, Mass. but her parents were from Schwartzen, Germany. Liddie died from pereotonitis, an abdominal infection. (per Kent County Death Records)
J. T. HUIZINGA
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Hier rust het
stoffelyk overschot van
myn geliefile Echtgenoot
Here rests the
my beloved husband
J. T. HUIZINGA
born on 30 June 1841
died on 11 Sept. 1895
He enlisted on 30 October 1861 and served for 3 years.
Thomas mustered out on 18 July 1865.
Thomas’ stone was firmly embedded in the soil. No inscription could be seen.
An attempt was made to unbury and raise the stone but…
stone was too heavy for a single person. Stone would not budge.
I contacted the cemetery to have stone raised but they
don’t seem too interested in doing so.
PVT. THOMAS KENNEDY
During my Valley City Permit Grounds headstone reading I came upon this partially embedded headstone. I dug around the front of the stone – and deep – in order to read the inscription thereon. This is the wartime memorial stone of Private Thomas Kennedy of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry. I marked his stone with a Veteran marker to make it easier to find. I also marked it with a flag but this has since been stolen.
9TH PA. CAV.
Geb. (born) 1 Oct. 1855.
Overl. (died) 1 Feb. 1905.
Roelf KOOPMAN was 49 years of age when he died from Typhoid Fever. Born in the Netherlands, Roelf’s last residence was at 433 Grandville Avenue in Grand Rapids. He worked as a grocer. Roelf was single when he died.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block N, Lot 51, Space 15 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
M. J. LATTA
MAR. 21, 1905
AGED 72 YEARS
Buried in Section: SEC-4-13 of Oakhill Cemetery (South). This is in the Permit Grounds, found at the far SE side of the cemetery. Burials in this location cost $1.00 and headstones were allowed.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block N, Lot 51, Space 14 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Cornelius passed from old age the day before Christmas 1905. He was 78 years, 2 months, and 2 days old being born in the Netherlands on 22 October 1827.
The 1880 Federal census shows Cornelius, 52; wife, Denhenna (Diena), 45; son, John, 15; Daughter, Eliza, 10; and daughter, Minnie, 8.
Cemetery records tell us Diena died on the 29th day of November, 1890. She is buried in the permit grounds (3-15).
JAY EUGENE MANN
BELOVED SON OF
T.F. & C.A.
MAR. 1, 1873
SEPT. 7, 1903
Jay Eugene MANN was born on the 1st of March, 1873 in Monroe City, Michigan and died on the 7th of September, 1903. He was the son of Thomas F. MANN and Cynthia ARMSTRONG. Jay’s death certificate shows his last address to be 982 Brown Avenue in Grand Rapids. It also tells us that Jay was an invalid: he died from Brights Disease.
In memory of
PETER & ELIZABETH MARTIN
Aug. 9, 1868;
Aged 34 years
[Inscription on bottom half of headstone illegible]
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 3, Lot 20W, Space 7
LOUISA LANTSBERRY MARTIN
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
(missing) Daughter of
(illegible) & Martha
(of) Elyria (illegible) Ohio
According to a DAR reading Louisa died in 1855 at the age of 22 years and 9 months. The portion of this headstone whereon this was inscribed is not completely illegible due to exposure to the elements.
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
– A. Parker, Manhattan, NY
Death: Apr. 28, 1877, Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA
Wife of Peter J. McMillen. Moved with family from Phelps, Ontario, New York to Grand Rapids, 2nd Ward, in time for the 1870 Census. In 1865, Peter J. McMillan was a painter residing within the Village of Phelps when enumerated during the New York State census in June.
According to Kent County Death Index, Jane (Jennie) died on 28 April 1877 in Grand Rapids, Michigan from “kidney” troubles.
Burial date: May 2, 1877
Burial place: Oakhill Cemetery, Block C, Lot 103, Space 4
JANE E. MCMILLEN
Wife of P. J. Mc Millen
May 2 (broken)
Aged 41 years,
8 m’s & 16 d’s
Dearest wife thou hast left us,
But our loss it is your gain,
Yet again we hope to meet thee,
In a world that’s free from pain.
[Note – the following section is the last stanza from a poem entitled ‘Parva Domus – Magna Quies’ which is translated ‘Small House, Great Peace’. This poem was republished in Littell’s Living Age, No. 1487, December 7, 1872 from the original printing in “All The Year Round”, a London-based publication conducted by Charles Dickens.]
A narrow home, and far beyond it lieth
The land whereof no mortal lips can tell.
We strain our sad eyes as the spirit flieth,
Our fancy loves on heaven’s bright hills to dwell.
God shuts the door, no angel lip uncloses;
They whom Christ raised no word of guidance said.
Only the Cross speaks where our dust reposes,
“Trust Him who calls unto his rest our dead.”
April 28, 1855
Aged 38 Y’rs. 11
mos. & 26 days.
Calculated Birth Date: 2 May 1816 (from given death information).
Marietta is buried in the Fulton Street Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Block 3, Lot 35, Space 12.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block G, Lot 19 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
WILHELMINA GOOSSEN MONJE
Hier Rust (Here Rests)
(illegible – likely “wife of”)
G. J. MONJE
Geb. Den 21 Mei 1843 (Born 21 May 1843)
(bottom inscription illegible)
Cemetery records tells us that Wilhelmina (Minnie) died at age 42 years, 0 months and 13 days. She was born in the Netherlands and died from unknown causes on 3 June 1885.
Wilhelmina (Minnie) MONJE was the wife of Gerrit Jan MONJE. On the 1870 Census, Wilhelmina has listed 5 children: 4 daughters… Gertie, 25; Henrietta, 11; Delia, 9; and Minnie, 8; and 1 son, Gerrit, 1. The Grand Rapids City Directory shows the family living at 97 Coldbrook in Grand Rapids. This is in Ward 5.
Gerrit is a carpenter born in the Netherlands. Wilhelmina is 37 (born in 1843 this is a perfect fit). Children listed in the household are: Henry, 9; Johanna, 7; and Carrie, 2 months old. According to the Grand Rapids Death Index, Johanna died on 10 November 1880 from Scarlet Fever. She is buried in the Potter’s Field at the old Valley City Cemetery (south portion of Oakhill today).
Son, Gerrit, died from consumption on 17 December 1870 at the age of 2 years, 3 months. He is likely buried in the Potter’s Field at Valley City.
by Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
LO! where the silent marble weeps,
A friend, a wife, a mother sleeps:
A heart within whose sacred cell
The peaceful virtues loved to dwell.
Affection warm, and faith sincere,
And soft humanity were there.
In agony, in death resign’d,
She felt the would she left behind.
Her infant image here below
Sits smiling on a father’s woe:
Whom what awaits, while yet he strays
Along the lonely vale of days?
A pang, to secret sorrow dear;
A sigh; an unavailing tear;
Till time shall every grief remove,
With life, with memory, and with love.
Thomas Gray was an English poet. He wrote “Epitaph on Mrs. Clarke” in 1757.
A curious choice of poems… the poem was written for a woman who died during the pains of childbirth.
MARGARET B. PALMER
Feb. 10, 1883
Aged 58 Years
Lo! Where this silent marble weeps,
A friend, a wife, a mother sleeps,
A heart, within whose sacred cell,
the peaceful virtues loved to dwell.
The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block G, Lot 19, Space 3 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
JANE Y. (JENNIE) PER LEE
JANE Y. PER LEE
Sept. 26, 1883
39 yrs, 8 mos, 12 dys
According to the Kent County Transient Burial Index, Jennie PerLee died from Consumption, an early term for Tuberculosis (TB). She was born in New York.
She is buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block H, Lot 79, Space 11, Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block H, Lot 79, Space 11 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
From Early History of Ottawa County.
Across the river somewhat to the east of the Stephen Lowing place land was taken up by William and Mary PerLee who had three small children and a brother of Mrs. PerLee who lived with them. Some of Mrs. PerLee’s letters have been preserved and tell of the hardships of those days. Parts of some of these letters follow:
“On August third, 1845”, Mary wrote of good crops but added that her husband “suffered terribly from ague that spares hardly a household”. But she asserted her faith in a patent remedy for the disease called Cholago and added, ‘ have the greatest possible horror of quinine. I believe Abraham was killing himself with it as fast as he could’.
Although there was an Indian trail running through the PerLee’s farm which came from the tripartite council tree by the Block-we-ting rapids in the village of Grand Rapids, and continued on to the Indian village at Sand Creek, Mrs. PerLee wites that the steamer route was far easier than the stump spotted trail when a trip was made to Grand Rapids. And again she showed the spirit with which the new settlers were blessed when she wrote, “I am happily constituted that I can keep hoping even though my hopes have nothing to feed upon. You have no idea how I dislike the prospect of leaving, for I never expect to have anything again to call my own, which in my estimation is a privilege”.
WILLIAM T. PER LEE
WILLIAM T. PER LEE
Aug. 8, 1878
Aged 64 Yrs, 7 Ms, 8 Ds.
(Calculated Birth Date = 31 December 1813)
After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well
GENDIS records that William died in Lamont, Ottawa County, Michigan from a softening of the brain.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block H, Lot 79, Space 12 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
ALMA F. PETTIS
ALMA F. PETTIS
No other markings.
Not much is known about Alma. She was only 12 years old when she died from consumption (TB). According to the Kent County Death index she was born at the St. Mark’s Home, an orphanage in Grand Rapids.
In 1880 she was living with her mother, Oria PETTIS, age 27, a divorced laundress at 50 Canal Street in Grand Rapids.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block D, Lot 109, Space 11 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
James & Charlotte
Mar. 11, 1850.
2 mos. 16 dys.
Suffer little children, and forbid
them not to come unto me: for of
such is the kingdom of heaven.
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 3, Lot 22, Space 7 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
LIBBIE J. PHILLIPS
D. C. PHILLIPS
April 23, 1871
33 Yrs 9 Dys
Bottom script illegible.
Buried in Fulton Street Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Section 4
SARAH E. (SHIELDS) ROUTSAW
Sarah E. ROUTSAW was born on the 28th of October, 1852 in Clinton Valley, Ohio to Joseph SHIELDS and Lydia E. POCKET. She died on March 3, 1922 in Wyoming, Kent, Michigan.
Sarah was married on July 16, 1870 in Brown, Ohio to Mr. Conrad ROUTSAW (it was his 3rd marriage, her 1st). They were 2nd cousins.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block 11, Lot 138_W, Space 8 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
HORACE B. SEYMOUR
HORACE B. SEYMOUR
Sept. 2, 1864
Aged 47 Yrs
Strolling through the northeastern section (Section 9) of the Fulton Street Cemetery I came upon the following stone buried in the sod. Given the stone’s condition it had been this way for quite some time… neglected. Once the sod was removed and the stone washed, the inscription appeared, not having been read since at least the July 1929 Daughters of the American Revolution headstone reading. Horace B. Seymour, died 1864. Horace does not appear in the Kent County Death index and his death is too early for the Michigan GENDIS recording that starts in 1867. Searching the Grand Rapids City Directory for 1864 and 1865 found a death notice recorded in the 1865 directory under a categorized roster of Grand Rapids citizens who served in the war: Horace B. Seymour, Co. E., Eng. & Mech., died 1864. Horace was a Civil War Veteran. Upon further investigation it was determined that Horace enlisted for 3 years on 18 January 1864 in the 1st Michigan Light Artillery Unit, Battery E. He was discharged because of a disability from Nashville, Tennessee on 8 August 1864.
Buried at Fulton Street Cemetery, Block 9, Lot 37, Space 8 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
Died Nov. 21, 1868;
Aged 38 Years.
I shall go to him but he will not
return to me.
I leave the world without a tear,
save for the friends I hold so dear,
to heal their sorrows Lord decend [sic],
and to the friendless prove a friend.
Buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Block 10, Lot 82, Space 1 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan
HIER RUST [HERE RESTS]
(?) GELIEFEN [? BELOVED]
(?)ON MARINUS [? MARINUS]
GEB. [BORN] 28 FEB.
1872. OVERL. [DIED] 9
MAART [MARCH] 1896.
IN DEN OUDERDOM [AT THE AGE]
VAN [OF] 24 JAREN. [YEARS]
EN 10 DAGEN. [AND 10 DAYS]
Buried in Section PGS-50-8 of the Oakhill Cemetery South Permit Grounds.
Kalamazoo Gazette: Tues. 1 April 1890 p4
Jackson Patriot, 31 March 1890, p3
EDWARD PAXSON STAMM M.D.
EMILY P. & CHIEF ENGINEER
W.S. STAMM, U.S.N.
SEPTEMBER 22, 1859
DEPARTED THIS LIFE
MARCH 30, 1890
30 YRS, 6 MOS & 8 DAYS
The photos and information you offered on Edward Stamm were absolute gems to me!