Saturday, September 15, 2012

Westward, Ho! Day 4(b)

Because this is a travel journal written by a middle-aged woman, it's okay that I forgot something. I really, really wanted to post a photo of the cemetery in Grass Range. 

No, we didn't actually have any personal dead bodies in Grass Range. But we thought we'd check out the cemetery, just in case. You never know when a related Young might pop up. Because, as you've probably noticed, Young is a relatively unusual name . . . .

Anyway, the Grass Range Cemetery was by far the most singular cemetery I've ever seen--and as a genealogist, I've seen a few! The grave decorations (is there a funereal-centric industry term for that?) were quite personal. And kitschy. And amusing.

The above photo is Dad Flaherty's resting place. I confess to wanting to memorialise what I initially saw as highly amusing cemetery decor. But the longer we wandered, the more embarrassed I was by that impulse. 

Dad has been gone a little while now. But his people still miss him. And that wrought-iron "Dad" sign? Well, I imagined it over my own Dad's grave and received a faint echo of the kick in the gut it would be to lose your father. 

Rest in peace, Dad Flaherty. You are not forgotten.

But I am still going to laugh at the chain link fences (see upper right corner of the photo) around many of the graves! Do fences really make good neighbors in a cemetery?!

The afternoon drive to Lewistown was, again, quite beautiful. Lots of high plains full of cattle and grasslands and so very much sky. One particularly interesting sight was an area of construction in the middle of a new wind farm. There were probably 50 huge windmills out there. They weren’t operating yet, so it was impossible to assess  just how much noise was going to be generated, in addition to power.  

But the presence of the windmills was quite eerie, making the land look like a scene from another planet. Or maybe that was just me!

We reached Lewistown again in mid-afternoon, having lunch at The Empire Café. It was similarly unprepossessing as was yesterday’s Café, but did have good reviews on Yelp. Mom said her BLT was the best she’s ever had! I had a very light and yummy fish sandwich. There were extremely large cinnamon rolls, which we heroically eschewed. 

Luck was with us, as we managed to stumble upon Emma Richmond’s tombstone at the Lewistown Cemetery. It was sweet to see that the otherwise selfish Alex had installed a very nice gravestone proclaiming Emma as a “Christian Woman and Devoted Wife.” 

Afterwards, Mom noted that perhaps he didn’t do that at all, that perhaps the Richmonds put up this monument to their daughter, instead. That would be more in keeping with Alex’s general reputation!

Next stop was Livingstone, where there were lots of Young sites and sights to see. We had hoped to take in several museums which would have been rich in the history of the time of our ancestor’s stay, but it was too late in the day.

First stop was, of course, the cemetery. Because I didn’t manage to get the exact locations of any of these graves, we wandered, looking. This time, it took a whole lot longer but, with some guidance from a worker, we found the Youngs all clustered together. 

GG Grandfather Alex was there, with his brother’s family. Alex and his 3 brother emigrated to the US from Canada. Their parents immigrated from Scotland and Ireland (my one Irish ancestor!) to New Brunswick. The father died young, and the family eventually was lured to the American West. 

One of his brothers, George Young, was an interesting character. He was Sheriff of Livingstone and died in a shoot-out in 1900. He has the coolest gravestone. Apparently he belonged to a fraternal organization called Woodmen of the World. More here. It was also noted that he was “faithful to the end.” Quite true, since he died doing his job.

Interestingly enough, this cemetery was also filled with Japanese-language headstones. We wondered, initially if they had been from World War II internment camps but the dates were 1900 to 1920-ish. Later googling indicated that many first generation Japanese immigrants helped build railroads across the north and northwest. Who knew?

We ended our day with an absolutely breathtaking evening drive to Gardiner, MT. A late dinner at the Yellowstone Mine was followed by a very early bedtime. 


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