Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: She was buried in an unmarked grave

Recently I ran into two instances of female ancestors buried with husbands but there was no marker for the wife's grave. In my head, two is a cohort and deserves thinking about. Maybe in the future when I can find no obvious grave marker for the wife I'll first double check to see if she's buried next to the husband before I go looking far afield.

The first example is in St Micheal's Cemetery in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland and the other is in the Comps Cemetery located next to the Comps Church in Comps Crossroad, Somerset, Pennsylvania. In both cases the husband died before the wife by about 20 years. A lovely stone was erected for the husband with full information on birth and death dates. In both cases no part of the main stone or any other stone indicated that the wife was also buried there, but she was.

Now I'm starting to suspect that there might be more of this going on than I originally thought. The problem of course is proving something that doesn't exist, in this case no stone marker. I took the lack of a stone at St. Michael's Cemetery as an indication that the wife wasn't buried there with the husband and thus began a year-long search of Western Maryland cemeteries for Bridget (Corcoran) Kelly that came up empty.

Now however, I'm thinking that the obvious place to look for the missing wife, especially for ancestors interred in church cemeteries, is right next to the husband... and in church records. If you can get to them.

My first thought based on the Kelly couple is that possibly by the time the wife passed, the funds to set a separate marker or even engrave the husbands marker were sparse. There could have been small satellite markers placed for the wife that are hidden under dirt and that is worth exploring. And then there could be a lot of other explanations too that I can only guess at.

So here are my two ladies without grave markers, "living" if you will, in the shadows of the husband's markers.

John Kelly (1829 - 1891), St. Michaels Cemetery, Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland.
Find A Grave # 107263732
Also buried there is his wife Bridget Corcoran (1830 - 1912)
Find A Grave # 107271558

Benjamin Franklin Troutman (1780 - 1856), Comps Cemetery, Comps Crossroads, Somerset, PA.
Find A Grave # 74544823
Also buried there is his wife Catherine Wolgerman (1765 - 1874)

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/06/tombstone-tuesday-she-was-buried-in.html


  1. Cool topic. I have an unmarried bachelor great, great uncle who is buried with his mother, a brother-in-law, two sisters, and a niece. His presence is unlisted even though there is space on the gravestone. Like you, we found out he rests there through cemetery records. My guess, in his case, is that he was buried on the cheap by the next generation preoccupied with raising the next next generation. Glad you found your family!

    1. I think you hit it on the nose: "buried on the cheap"! Thanks for your comment!
      Cheers, Diane