While on a photo search for the previous post, about the Open Garden at the Sacramento Old City Cemetery, I came across this gravestone picture. There are many children’s gravestones at the cemetery and they are all very touching. This one for Willie is about the size of a piece of typing paper. There weren’t even roses near it, but I was compelled to take a picture.
When I saw the Willie photo again, two books I’d just read about Abraham Lincoln rushed forward and begged a mention – funny how that happens. I was reading the books because of President Obama’s interest in Lincoln.
Many of you may know that the Lincoln’s had a beloved son named Willie who died of a typhoid-like disease at age 12. In both books, I was captivated by the love surrounding Willie. Julia Taft, who sometimes oversaw his play with her brothers, described Willie as "the most lovable boy I ever knew, bright, sensible, sweet-tempered with a gentle-manner." For a moving biography of Willie, click here.
More Headstones from The Sacramento Old City Cemetery
Lambs were a popular image associated with children, and are seen on a number of headstones at the cemetery. Anita Clevenger told me that the hand shaking symbol means, "We shall meet again."
The Hybrid Musk, 'Buff Beauty', and 'Pink Mermaid', a Large-Flowered Climber (repeat blooming) grow together.
The cemetery attracts many historians and researchers. For those interested, there is a 1849-2000 burial list available in pdf format from the cemetery’s website. And there is even a compilation of detailed biographies “about famous, infamous and just plain extraordinary residents” of the cemetery. The dark gray headstone in the picture above belonged to Mr. Wick, who was Sacramento's first documented undertaker.
Sarah J. Underhill isn’t on the biography list, but she has a nice simple headstone, with an even nicer rose growing next to it.
Simpler still, Mary E. Lewis has what almost looks like a doormat. Originally many headstones in the cemetery were wooden. When the the wood disintigrated, they'd often replace them with plain tablets like this one.
In concluding this piece, I'd like to mention that I just noticed that Willie Lincoln was born in 1850, right around the time the Sacramento Cemetery was opened. It's amazing how we can step back in time in this lovely cemetery and yet be firmly rooted in the present.The roses displayed here are so timeless and, to me, down right modern in their appropriateness for gardens today.