Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Site visitor Intense Guy lives near where our latest family lived and died, and recently visited two cemeteries seeking their final resting places. His story is a testament to genealogy and how powerful these old photographs can be for later generations. Read on, courtesy of Iggy:

I drove to the old Zion Presbyterian Church were William L. Mearns is buried and … it was quite an experience.  The cemetery is quite small – only about 20 graves wide by about 10 rows – In the first row to the right of the entrance gate is William L. Mearn’s beautiful grave stone.  I’ve been researching him long enough that somehow I felt like I “knew” him.  The arrangement of the graves is interesting. From left to right:

Emma Fulton Mearns – Samuel J. Mearns – William L Mearns – Amy T. Rittenhouse Mearns … with Amy on the end of the row


In the second row to the right – Sarah Rittenhouse, wife of Jeremiah Rittenhouse (Amy’s father), Jeremiah Rittenhouse, Benjamin Rittenhouse, David Rittenhouse, some space, and then Gertrude Rittenhouse Roberson and her Dr. husband.

In the row behind right behind Gertrude is Sylvester Bowlsby and his wife.  In this row are all the Lair’s (they were related to William via the Rittenhouses I think)


I took a bunch of pictures.

I then drove to a cemetery about 1/2 mile away in “Brick Meeting House” and pulled in. When I opened the car door, the gravestone immediately outside was Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge T. Gifford.  About three graves away was Annie Chandlee and her husband.  Emma Chandlee and her unmarried sister were a couple graves further down the row.  I found a bunch of Scarboroughs too.

Thanks for putting up with me and my “obsession”.  I felt like these people were trying to talk to me – but I can’t understand what they are saying.

Between the photos and the graves, these people somehow become more real, don’t you think? Click on the photos for a larger image. Iggy, as always, thank you for your deep interest in this family and your fantastic research skills. Hopefully we will find someone who loves these pillars of the late Victorian middle class as much as we do!

5 thoughts on “Cemetery Visits by Intense Guy

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    Thank you for posting this! :) A few comments / corrections:

    William A. Lair (son of Benjamin Rittenhouse Lair and his wife Mary Jane Rittenhouse – whose gravestones are pictured above) is also in the Zion Cemetery. I didn’t know you had some “Lair” photographs on the time I went to “visit” or I would have taken a picture of William A. Lair’s stone. :)

    I goofed in my write up. The Mearns are to the “left” (not “right”), just inside the front gate – so Amy Mearns ends up across/cattycorner from her mother and father, and just inside the front gate. Trivial as this sounds – this arrangement impacted me – the two Mearns brothers are separated by their unmarried sister with their wives outside. To me, the arrangement shows a powerful “family” bond. And Amy is close to her parents too… and the whole of them (all the Mearns, Rittenhouses, Lairs, and Robersons of their generation) are “together” even in death.

    Emma Fulton Mearns
    Hebrews 11:10 (King James Bible)
    For [(s)he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath (permanent) foundations, whose builder and maker is God].

    Samuel James Mearns
    Psalm 127:2
    It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so [he giveth his beloved sleep].

    William L. and Amy T. Mearns
    Job 19:25
    For [I know that my redeemer liveth], and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

    May they rest in peace, always.


  2. Winston says:

    Thanks, Iggy, for making the cemetery visits and taking photos of the gravestones, After seeing the photos of the various family members followed by the grave photos, gives us a closure to the family circle. Thanks, also, for mentioning that the order the plots are portioned out can reveal much about the members closeness and the family dynamics when alive. It is interesting to re-examine the portraits, keeping their eventual burial order in mind– another clue to how these people may have interacted when alive. The Mearns, etc., were a family that were obviously close-knit and presented themselves as such to the outside world. It really hurts me that their more currant generation disposed of these personal heirlooms that the Mearns clan painstakingly preserved for them.
    Again, on behalf of these and other once vibrant citizens of our collective American Past, Thank You, Mrs Marvel and Iggy, for providing venues for these people to look out to us strangers here in the 21st century, so we, in turn, can contemplate them and know more fully how family values are really the most important things to us– and how strongly these family units act as genuine building blocks for the endurance of our country.


  3. Wow! Iggy you did great..it helps to put the family together! What a fun day for you! :)


  4. Gravestones can tell a story. I recently visited an old cemetery and found one stone with two names. The wife was 83 years old and the husband was 85. He died two weeks after the wife. Either an illness took them both or he couldn’t live without her. I saw two young children of different families that died with in a couple of weeks of each other. I’m guessing an illness was going through the area. Another one had a mother dieing 6 months after her 2 month old baby. Did she die of a broken heart? I took photos if you want to see…http://wandabvictorian.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/i-kinda-like-cemeteries/


  5. Janice Earliene. Carr says:

    I’ve enjoyed these pictures! I had seen them once before & enjoyed them as well, although at that time I did not know they wererelatives of my husband James William Carr, son of James Entwisle Carr & Olive Ida Snyder, daughter of Gardner Johnson Snyder-&-Amy Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lair of Ridgewood, N.J., daughter of John Lair (son of Phillip Lair & Mary Snyder of LYONS, France to N.J.,) & Mary H. Hann, daughter of Edmund P. Hann/Hahn & Elizabeth McClone/ McCloan of Frenchtown, Hunterdon Co. N.J..Note:Elizabeth Mc.H. born in Ireland.
    By memory, so if any errors, I will correct when I get my records!
    NOTE: I owe Izzy for putting me in the right direction on the Lair Family! See: Comments & Thank You’s on “Amy Lair, Lane or Sane site on Who were They?”
    Since the 1960’s I had thought Amy Lair Apgar was Amy “Lizzie Lair Snyder’s grandmother, (then to discover she was her Aunt instead, her father’s oldest sister), due to some inf. I found once in papers of her parents.
    Again Thank You Izzy!


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