More St. Michael’s Stories

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Right now, I’m in Chipley, Florida, staying with my excellent and gracious friend Pam and her family, in a historic old home where Emmett and his family members had certainly visited from time to time. There’s a photo of Emmett’s father, Dr. Wilson, posed in front of this house in 1911 displayed prominently in the hall.

Dr Wilson at Butler house

I’m here to catch up with my friends, visit a graveyard, see old downtown Chipley again. Tomorrow, I’m off to Marianna to continue the information dig on Emmett.

But for now, I’m playing catch-up. As promised, I wanted to share some of the findings from St. Michael’s Cemetery.

My main purpose for the visit was to track down Minnie Kehoe,

Minnie Kehoe, 1924, passport photo. Source: Ancestry.com

Minnie Kehoe, 1924, passport photo. Source: Ancestry.com

the sister of J. Walter Kehoe, one of the first female attorneys in West Florida, a successful businesswoman who owned and ran her own stenography school, and a close friend of Emmett’s.

I think that if the stars had been properly aligned, Emmett and Minnie would probably have made an excellent pair. But the differences in age (she was 17 years older than Emmett), plus the fact that Emmett was viewed as a family member/younger brother of Kehoe, and the obvious handicap of Emmett’s addiction, made it unlikely.

After much hiking about the cemetery, my friend Nancy found her.

The topmost marker is that of Minnie's parents, Anne and John Kehoe. Minnie's is the bottom marker. The rain has disintegrated much of the engraving on these flat stones.

The topmost marker is that of Minnie’s parents, Anne and John Kehoe. Minnie’s is the bottom marker. The rain has disintegrated much of the engraving on these flat stones.

 

Minnie Eloise Kehoe. Requiescat in pace.

Minnie Eloise Kehoe. Requiescat in pace.

I admire Minnie tremendously. She was a woman ahead of her time; she was close friends with Emmett; she would have been a great source of information. She never married; she had no children, but it may be possible to obtain a copy of her will to see if she sent her papers or correspondence to an archive. Last year, I sought high and low for any of her papers, journals, correspondence, you name it. Lots of brick walls.

It has been awhile, though; maybe it is time to try again.

After we spent some time with Minnie, we walked around and took in some of the other resident’s markers.

This is a wooden marker. Nancy thought it cypress. Great condition for its age.

This is a wooden marker. Nancy thought it cypress. Great condition for its age.

Another set of interesting graves. Note the small outline of the stone framework. These weren't children's graves.

Another set of interesting graves. Note the small outline of the stone framework. These weren’t children’s graves.

The oak trees are ancient, massive, and mostly healthy in this graveyard. Lots of brown and green acorns on the ground beneath my feet as I walked along.

massiveoaks

This oak could easily be 250 years old.

 

As I was looking at all the acorns on the ground, a small white stone, almost completely covered up, caught my eye. I brushed back the acorns and leaves, and uncovered this:

Charles Will Sutherland. That was all it said.

Charles W Sutherland. Nothing more.

I had to find out whose grave this was, almost completely hidden in the cemetery. What I found was this. And then, when I dug around a little deeper, I found this.

Apparently, the wife and mother who had such tragic losses within such a short time later remarried. She’s not buried near this child’s marker. The father may be close by, but the grave is probably unmarked.

Speaking of unmarked, there was this unusual grave marker within a fence enclosure:

It is a lot of shells embedded within concrete. No other marker or information.

It is a lot of shells embedded within concrete. No other marker or information.

 

 

Most unusual. I wonder about the story behind the shell-marked grave? This is obviously a child’s grave. I’m curious about the symbolism, and why the grave was covered in shells this way.

All of this visiting cemeteries makes me realize and appreciate how all of us — everyone — has a story to tell. All of the stories are important.

Even the little ones almost hidden under acorns and oak leaves.

 

Stories from St. Michael’s

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I’ve been in Pensacola since Sunday night, and it has been nonstop research heaven. It has been a great trip so far; I’ve found a lot of new information, made new friends, and I feel a lot more confident about how this project is coming along.

When you work alone on a project, it is easy to let the isolation get to you. Not many folks up in Maryland know what I’m doing (outside of my university colleagues), nor do they really care about West Florida history from the early 1900s. But, the folks down here do, thank you very much, and everyone I’ve met has been helpful.

Today, I walked all over St. Michael’s Cemetery with my friend Nancy, who has been a tremendous help with the research this week. We were in search of Minnie Kehoe and/or any other Kehoe family members, and friends of Emmett’s who were buried here.

You can't drive in, but the gate opens to allow walk-throughs. Source: ncptt.nps.gov

You can’t drive in, but the gate opens to allow walk-throughs. Source: ncptt.nps.gov

We didn’t have a map, which might have expedited things. But, because we like to walk around in cemeteries and meet the folks there, we struck out to see what we could see.

It was great seeing the individuals I’ve been reading about on a daily basis for almost 30 months straight:

Martin & Kate Sullivan. Martin was a railroad and timber capitalist. Born in Ireland, died in Baltimore, buried here.

Martin & Kate Sullivan. Martin was a railroad and timber capitalist. Born in Ireland, died in Baltimore, buried here. Emmett definitely knew the Sullivans. A son is buried here, too, who was only about 25 years old when he died. Martin and Charles (the son) died only a month apart in 1911.

This is Daniel F. Sullivan, who 'gave Pensacola the First National Bank and the Opera House, according to the Daily Register of Mobile, Alabama. He died in 1884. It isn't stated clearly if he is related to the other Sullivans of the masoleum, but he was also big into timber, and originally from Ireland. They could be related. I haven't determined it yet.

This is Daniel F. Sullivan, who ‘gave Pensacola the First National Bank and the Opera House, according to the Daily Register of Mobile, Alabama. He died in 1884. It isn’t stated clearly if he is related to the other Sullivans of the masoleum, but he was also big into timber, and originally from Ireland. They could be related. I haven’t determined it yet.

As noted, some of the residents are more famous than others; the stones tell interesting stories.

Stephen Russell Mallory was Emmett's grandfather's law partner. Emmett's grandfather was A.E. Maxwell (buried at St. John's only a few rows up from Emmett).

Stephen Russell Mallory was Emmett’s grandfather’s law partner. Emmett’s grandfather was A.E. Maxwell (buried at St. John’s only a few rows up from Emmett).

You can’t see it in this photo but directly to the left of me was a huge rosemary bush. In fact, someone planted rosemary within the Mallory enclosure. I’d like to do that for Emmett’s grave, but you cannot (it will get cut down).

W.A. D'Alemberte, who was the father of one of Emmett's good friends, J. H. D'Alemberte. He was a druggist. There is an interesting story about his life here.

W.A. and Maidee D’Alemberte. W.A. (aka “Willoughby”) was the father of one of Emmett’s good friends, J. H. D’Alemberte. He was a druggist. There is an interesting story about his life here. Emmett was rather close to J.H. (aka “Herron”); he went on vacations with them, hung out with them. Herron was one of Emmett’s good friends. Tragically, Herron committed suicide in the 1930s; the family said it had to do with significant losses in the stock market. Herron is buried in Temple Beth-El Cemetery.

Owen Miner Avery.

Owen Miner Avery. Another prominent Pensacola family, the Averys. Emmett socialized with them often. Owen was a more senior relative.

I’m headed to Chipley this morning to spend time with friends, and then, to Marianna the next day for more research, so, I have to stop here for the moment.

I’ll post more details about the trek through St. Michael’s Cemetery a little later. It was a great trek! I did find Minnie — and a few more interesting folks and stories to share.

It’s great to be back in Pensacola!