Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stones in the Snow

According to the North Suburban Library System's DigitalPast.org web site, the Elk Grove Cemetery is the resting place of "...two veterans of the Revolutionary War, Aaron Miner and Eli Skinner. Eli was too young to enlist in 1775, so he became a fifer at age 15. He came to Elk Grove with his family in the early 1830s as did Aaron Miner, who served in the Connecticut militia. Other soldiers buried here fought in the war of 1812 and the Civil War."

Messrs. Miner and Skinner must have been well advanced in years when they came west to Illinois, no doubt traveling with large extended families. Maybe their presence, along with a lot of other 19th-century stones, influenced the decision not to destroy the Elk Grove Cemetery when the Interstate was put through.

As mentioned yesterday, I-90 is a stone's throw away, but not only that, the cemetery is bounded by the highway's eastbound entrance ramp at Arlington Heights Road as well. Access to the cemetery is by a short road off Arlington Heights Road that curves around to its entrance and dead-ends there.

The cemetery is easy to see from Arlington Heights Road. At least, I think that's why a state cop car pulled up to the cemetery entrance to see what I was up to. He could see me from the main road. Since I was busy taking pictures, he must have decided that I didn't look like a vandal, and moved on without further ado.

I didn't see the Aaron Miner or Eli Skinner stones, but I also didn't spend time looking for them, since it was too cold to linger long. Overall there's a mix of 19th- and 20th-century stones, and a mix of Anglo-Saxon and German names, for the most part: many other Skinners and the likes of Smith, Peterson and Kingsley, along with Heimsoth, Scharringhausen and Schwantz.

But I looked more closely at a few others, such as this one.

I've never seen a headstone quite like it. On top is a small statue of a boy and a puppy; a plaque features only a single name, JULITO, born June 21, 1976, died January 11, 1982; and it also has "Love, Mommy" on it. A small silvery Christmas tree stood next to the stone, so it seems likely that someone still remembers her lost child.

This is a curious pair: a man named Foust who seems to have been a Civil War veteran, next to a child named McPherson who lived only a few days in 1957. Maybe there was some relation between the two, or maybe they were paired only by coinciding burial plots.



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