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Graveyard Rabbit Association

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Little of This and A Little of That

Most of ye Graveyard Rabbits have found a niche. This Rabbit is still floundering, presenting a little of this and a little of that.

Along the way I have discovered some most excellent blogs and websites that I have to share with you. Some are Graveyard Rabbits, some are not. But all of them left some kind of impression upon me.

Up first is a blog called
Blogging A Dead Horse . Member of the Graveyard Rabbit Association, this blog is by far one of the most interesting. The selection of cemeteries chosen, the great photography and best of all is the writing. It is captivating, poignant and very moving. Here is a descriptive excerpt from the blog

"I collect grave site offerings, permanent and ephemeral. I am a digital archaeologist. I record objects brought to sacred ground to bask in and add to the spiritual powers present there. What I do is record a world that will be gone tomorrow. Like the river that is never the same whenever you step into it twice, the cemetery you visit will not be the same one I saw. I’m showing you the soft inside of the culture of the Oregon Territory as it stands at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It will never be seen again. Enjoy it while you can."

There is a collection of photographs from Dead Man Talking that further exemplify his talent. You can find them at or by clicking here.

Take a few minutes to explore the blog and the photo collection. I promise you won't be sorry.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My, What A Handsome Rabbit!

(I apologize for the total lack of self control, but I think it's funny!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Brichetto's Tomb

The Brichetto Tomb sits all alone, high up on a hill overlooking what was once the vast lands of the Brichetto estate in San Joaquin County, California. Immigrants from Italy, G. Joseph, a pioneer farmer and merchant, and his wife, Luigia Canale, settled in the Banta area of San Joaquin County in the 1870’s. The mausoleum is made of marble and granite, built in the Grecian Doric style. The tomb sits alone on one acre of land that is enclosed by a wrought iron fence. Built in 1916 according to the provisions of the will of G. Joseph Brichetto, the tomb contains twelve crypts but only six have been used.

G. Joseph Brichetto 23 Dec 1841 to 22 May 1916
Luicia Brichetto 18 Feb 1860 to 12 Dec 1956
Irene L. Brichetto 7 Jun 1884 to 10 Sep 1945
John N. Brichetto 5 Feb 1881 to 3 Mar 1934
Baby Edward 13 Jan 1883 to 11 Dec 1883
Baby Henery 14 Dec 1885 to 25 Nov 1886

The wrought iron fence that encloses the acre of land was made by Stewart Iron Works Company who are still in business to this very day.

There is nothing quite like this in all of San Joaquin County. I decided to do a little research about this family who commanded such a grand place of eternal rest.

G. Joseph Brichetto came to San Joaquin County in 1867. He was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in tunnel construction for a time; he then settled in the San Joaquin gardens on the river, and later located in Banta, where he raised and sold vegetables. In 1872 he opened a general merchandise store at Banta, which he conducted for many years. He became a large farmer and landowner in the Banta section, owning, at the time of his death in 1916, 9,000 acres of land on the West Side. I found this little article about him in an Ohio newspaper:

13 September 1917
When an inheritance tax report was fixed in the estate of the late G. Joseph Brichetto, it was shown that he came to California with a capital of $40 and in 40 years accumulated an estate of $333,279.35

There were seven Brichetto children born and five who lived to adulthood:

John N. Brichetto was born 5 February 1881 and died 3 March 1934. He formed a partnership with his brother, Joseph C., under the name of Brichetto Bros. which is known for their grain farming. John was the president of the Board of Directors of the Banta-Carolinia Irrigation District which cared for the irrigation of some 20,000 acres in the Tracy and Banta districts. He also became prominent in banking circles becoming director in both the San Joaquin Valley National Bank of Stockton and the Bank of Tracy. In 1916 he married Nancy Kneass.

Irene Brichetto was born 7 June 1884 and died 10 September 1945. She never married.

Mollie Brichetto was born 12 September 1887 and died 2 June 1965. She married Joseph J. Raspo in 1911. Joseph was employed by Mollie’s father in the general merchandise store the Brichettos owned. In 1917 he acquired a one-third interest in the concern and its trade, and in November, 1918, he became sole proprietor, purchasing the business from the Brichetto heirs.

Minnie Cecelia Brichetto was born 8 October 1889 died 6 December 1989. She never married.

Joseph C. Brichetto was born 18 February 1894 and died 20 August 1976. Joseph became the manager of the vast agricultural interests of the Brichetto estate, consisting of several thousand acres of land on the West Side, which he developed into one of the show places of Central California. He married Eva Campodonico in 1921.

Photos curtesy of Brian W. Barringer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

After The Fact, After The Fact

Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Elk County, Kansas

I have made some progress towards finding the answers to questions I posed in my post "Engraving After The Fact" .

A saint of a woman named Ruth Walker has been patiently finding answers to the endless questions I keep tossing her way. Ruth is the parish secretary for St. Mary's Catholic Church in Moline, Elk County, Kansas. St. Mary's is the "caretaker" of Mount Olivet Cemetery. My 3rd great grandparents - Daniel Derondo Delaney and his wife Ellen Collins are buried there as well as my other 3rd great grandmother - Ann Emily Leseure Sheern.

Ruth could only answer questions about the Delaney's. Ann Emily Leseure Sheern was buried before 1900 and Holy Name Catholic Church would have those records.

Ruth explained to me that they were originally buried at Boston Catholic Cemetery which was located in the now defunct county of Howard. The headstones were moved to Mount Olivet in 1961 but it is possible that the remains were not.

As to specific questions about the plot purchased by E.F. Sheern in 1911 she replied, "I can only speculate what your ancestor was thinking but you would assume he purchased the lots when Mount Olivet was very new, then moved to a new community and decided to be buried there. He may have known he would not be buried in Mount Olivet and so gave permission for the graves to be relocated in his lots or someone in his immediate family gave permission for the graves to be moved there. We do not know this. "

The question as to the care and upkeep of Mount Olivet got this response:

"We do not have a "sexton" as such. St. Mary's is a small, (less than 50 families) rural parish. Most everything is done by volunteers. We do hire the mowing done in the summer months. Our funds mostly come from former parishioners living elsewhere that help support the cemetery. The iron fence in front of the cemetery is painted by volunteers. The barbed wire fence on three sides is maintained by volunteers. When we need to repaint the large statue [see photo above] in the middle of the cemetery some member or former member will donate the money and a professional is hired. Graves are dug by the city of Moline. I keep the books and if you want to purchase a plot you would need to visit with me.
Many times lots are purchased as the purchaser wants to buried by family, then they move to another community, become involved in that community and decide they want to be buried there or the ones making the final arrangements want them buried there and so the lots in the original cemetery are vacant. We have that at Mount Olivet. We would hope
they would donate the lots back to us or we would buy them back, but many times this is not done. And I do know of instances where they did not notify any of their heirs that they owned the lots and so they cannot return what they do not know about. "

Next Stop - Holy Name Catholic Church !