I don’t know about you but I have always been enthralled by cemeteries and during my full-time RVing years, I stopped to visit them and say hello to the inhabitants although it was unlikely I would have known any of them unless I was in Michigan. Just reading the headstones prompts my curiosity. Unfortunately, they don’t tell the whole story although these days I probably could get more on the Internet if I had the time to check them out.
Recently on my San Diego County travels, I met someone else who is also fascinated by cemeteries. I think his interest is more concentrated than mine with his family history. Here is just a little of his story. Starting in July I’ll have an article in RV Life giving an overview of my trip to CA. Also in the July, August, and September columns under “Silver, Single, and Solo,” I’ll continue the stories a little more in depth. In the meantime, I have snitched a few things I didn’t have room for in a column, to use here.
If you want to know the history of Julian, ask historian, David Lewis. Above and beyond his family and work obligations; presentations to historical societies, archaeological groups, and schools; he created and guides Julian Historical Tours. David is the fourth of five generations who have lived in Julian since his great grandfather resided here in 1887. His tours are individualized to specific interests, and reflects his love of the area and many years of personal research.
Over the years of studying, David found that most of the graves in Julian’s Haven of Rest Cemetery, were not in any logical order, and the original maps of the cemetery were lost to a house fire in 1957. He is making it his mission to document the graves, making sure they are properly acknowledged.
Last Known Address, the book he wrote as the result of his mapping skills and over 9,000 hours of research, is a history of the cemetery and the people buried there. Unfortunately, it is currently out of print. His oral interviews and existing cemetery records made him suspect there were many more people buried in the historic section than were indicated. So far he has found twenty out of the seventy he knows are not documented and he is still searching.
He says that while most people would not be interested in these graveyard mysteries, he is fascinated and delighted when he finds answers as he did in 2007, finally documenting the 1870s gravesite of the “Wolf Boy.”
While I have encouraged him to reprint his book, I know all about the headaches involved with that so I’ll just say, God Bless until next week.
Minshall’s RVing Alaska and Canada ($19.95) and RVing Adventures with the Silver Gypsy ($16.95) are available thru Amazon.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”