Cemetery Sightings

(This series of Cemetery Sightings posts highlights the lives of past residents of Monroe and Monroe County, contributors to the region’s rich history)

This tombstone was donated to the River Raisin National Battlefield Museum by the family after a new one was made.

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South Rockwood

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Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood

Delmont Lansing Chapman, Jr.

Delmont Lansing Chapman, Jr. was born in Berlin, Monroe County, Michigan in 1906 to Delmont Lansing Chapman, Sr. and Rose Schuser Chapman. On October 27, 1928 he married Irene Marie Braun in South Rockwood.

The 1940 United States Federal Census shows Delmont and Irene Chapman living on Sigler Road with their two children, Delmont and Robert. Delmont Jr. recorded his occupation as a farmer, owning his own farm, and his education as completing a fourth year of college.

Delmont became a noted sheep breeder, exhibiting his stock at the Monroe County Fair and throughout the state of Michigan. He was a Monroe County Fair board member for 51 years and he was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions Hall of Fame. He served as a county commissioner from South Rockwood, Monroe County and was elected to the state legislature. He said that he felt a calling to community service and he believed that everyone should leave this world a better place than it was when they came into it. Delmont died on December 25, 1994, and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Captain James Haley

Captain James Haley and his daughter Arda.

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Photo contributed by Darrell Brown

Captain James Haley was born on November 15, 1830 in Tompkins County, New York. In 1847 at the age of 17, he became a sailor on the Great Lakes and followed that occupation until 1877, when he retired to his farm in Berlin Township, Monroe County, Michigan.

James worked his way to the position of captain and he commanded the Spanker, Triumph, and several other ships. On June 30, 1853, James married Selena Crook in Detroit and she sometimes sailed with him. They had six children. Captain Haley died on October 26, 1894, in South Rockwood and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Frank Seely Peters and His Wife Arda Haley Peters

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Frank Seely Peters was born on January 16, 1867 on South Huron River Road in Berlin Township where he lived all of his life, the son of Jacob and Jeannette Hitchens Peters, both New Yorkers who moved to Michigan. He was educated in the public schools which he attended until he was 12 when his father died. He inherited 57 acres of land from his father’s estate which he steadily increased until he owned 240 acres of some of the finest land in the state.

Frank Peters also successfully developed a successful business and a sterling and state-wide reputation for breeding thoroughbred Holstein cattle. He built modern buildings including a stock barn on his land along with two large silos with a 200-ton capacity for cattle feed and he kept his pastures and meadows in fine condition as well. He operated a large dairy and sent his milk to Detroit where it garnered high market prices. . He also built a ten room house surrounded by a wide manicured lawn and numerous shade trees with an interior equipped with modern conveniences and tastefully and comfortably furnished.

The History of Monroe County noted that Frank Seeley Peters owned a handsome stock farm, the Huron Valley Stock Farm, located in the Huron River Valley one mile south of Flat Rock in Berlin Township and 2 /2 miles from Rockwood. “During the past quarter of a century, Frank Seeley Peters has been engaged in breeding fine cattle, and is today recognized as one of the best judges and most successful breeders of his section, and the owner of the finest herd of registered thoroughbred Holstein cattle in Monroe County.”1

On February 6, 1886, he married Arda Haley, the daughter of Captain James and Selena Haley, who taught school before her marriage. They had two daughters.24 Besides his farm and family, Frank was a member of the Flat Rock Congregational Church and the Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 110, the Consistory and Shrine.at Flat Rock as well as being an active worker in the Flat Rock Grange, the Farm Bureau, and other farm organizations. He had many friends in his community and across the state. Since the 1920s, Frank and Arda had spent their winters in Florida, and they had planned to leave for Florida the week after Frank’s fatal accident.

The obituary of Frank Seeley Peters can be found archives of the Monroe County Historical Society. It appeared in the Monroe Evening News of October 29, 1941 and tells the story of his last farm project. He was roofing a house on one of his farms on the Armstrong Road when he fell to a porch and from the porch to the ground, suffering a fractured skull, fractured wrist and arm and a fractured knee. He died on October 29, 1941, in Mercy Hospital and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

1  John McClelland Bulkley, History of Monroe County, Michigan, Volume 2, Lewis Publishing Company, 1913.

Judacus “Joseph” Van Wassenhove

Joseph Van Wassenhove was born on Christmas Day, 1841 in Haaltert, East Flanders, Belgium, the fourth of the 11 children of Charles and Dorothea Sterck Van Wassenhove. In 1844, Joseph immigrated to the United States with his parents and two older brothers Dominick and Franciscus. They settled on a farm in Monroe Township, Michigan.

According to church records, on November 4, 1867, Joseph married Marie Archange (Eliza) Bondy a St. Mary Catholic Church in Monroe. After their marriage, the young couple settled on a farm at Pointe Mouille (Wet Point) where the Huron River meets Lake Erie, in what is now Berlin Township. Joseph and Eliza eventually had four sons and five daughters and all of them except Joseph who died as an infant, married and had large families.

As an enterprising farmer, Joseph owned a threshing machine and steam puller and ran a threshing business for many years. Besides farming, Joseph served as treasurer of the Pointe Mouille School District when the school consisted of a large one room school for all elementary grades. Joseph and Eliza enjoyed a comfortable home and many friends and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on November 4, 1917.

He died on March 9, 1918. The Monroe News Courier of March 29, 1918, reported that Joseph’s funeral was held on March 9 at 10 a.m. with a requiem high mass attended by countless relatives and friends. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Woodland Cemetery, Monroe

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Dr. James P. Reed, Druggist and M.D.

James P. Reed was born in New York on June 1, 1842, and according to some accounts and the dates on is tombstone in Woodland Cemetery in Monroe, he died on January 17, 1909. His obituary said that he died on January 17, 1910, at age 73, while his death certificate says that he was 68 years, 7 months and 16 days when he died on January 17, 1910. It lists his birthday as June 1, 1841 and his date of burial on January 20, 1910.

There is no question that James P. Reed married Kate M. Jarboe, and that he served in the Civil War. His tombstone in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe. lists him as an Army surgeon, but doesn’t give a regiment and his statistics don’t match those of soldiers in Record of Michigan Volunteers.

The United States Federal Census for 1870 lists him as born in 1837, and his occupation as an M.D. and the 1880 census lists him as born in 1838 and his occupation as a physician.

Elizabeth Upham McWebb

Elizabeth Upham McWebb was born on October 20, 1904, in Flat Rock, Michigan. After she and her husband Mac moved to Monroe, she became Monroe’s story teller with a series of Little Brown Bear books as well as other children’s stories. For decades Elizabeth told stories at the Dorsch library children’s story hour and from a playhouse on her front lawn that her husband had purchased from the Church family in Trenton. The playhouse was later moved to the Monroe County Fair Grounds.

Her listeners and readers called her “Aunt Bett” and a statue of her and Little Brown Bear watches over the present generation of readers in front of the Dorsch Library in Monroe.  Aunt Bett is buried with her husband and daughter Mary Ann in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe. (For a detailed portrait of Aunt Bett see Aunt Bett’s Christmas Legacy in the November postings of this blog).

Old Petersburg or Wing Cemetery

wing-cemetery

Frank Stevens

In 1854, Frank Stevens, joined his parents,  Dr. Luther S. and R.L. Stevens, who were born in Connecticut and New York respectively, in Michigan. By 1860 Frank and his family were living in Monroe, where his father practiced medicine.  Frank died on December 2, 1865.

Frank is buried in Old Petersburg Cemetery, Petersburg, Monroe County, Michigan.

 Elizabeth Younglove

An 1850 newspaper printed the death notice of Elizabeth Younglove. She died on Friday evening, ,August 22, 1850, in Raisinville (Monroe). She was the oldest daughter of George and Harriet Younglove, and just 21 years old. The notice described her as amiable and affectionate and reported that she had been patient through her severe bodily suffering for many years.

The article said that Elizabeth’s loving friends and family were gathered around her death bed, including her weeping brothers, and that she asked everyone to make sure that they should all meet in Heaven. Elizabeth knew that she was dying and her eyes were fixed on Heaven. “No dread she felt, no struggling sigh for all her thoughts were love, no fear expressed, but calmly when the summons came she yielded up her soul to God.”

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