Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday, Or, What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

St. Thomas Church Cemetery, Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania.

A couple of cemetery-related events came together while I was home visiting my mother, in the town where I grew up, over the Christmas holidays. Many of my mother's ancestors are buried in this cemetery. I've slowly been locating their graves over the last year, taking pictures, and documenting for myself where my ancestors lie. I've been hoping to find my great-great grandparents, Richard McCall and Christine Biddle Cadwalader, for some time now. I knew they were buried at St. Thomas', but had no idea where.

So the day I arrived home, my mother and I set out to take some photographs, with maybe 45-minutes of daylight left if we were lucky. Not knowing where they were buried, we started at my great-grandparents' graves, but did not find other Cadwalader graves in the vicinity. But where else to look?

My grandmother had long told us about the family graves to be found "straight out the doors of the church and past the light post". But before I got into genealogy with any passion, I never gave much thought as to who we'd find there. However, with no better ideas, my mother suggested we head straight out into the cemetery from the doors of the church, past the light post. We did so, coming to some distantly related Cadwalader graves. Based on landscaping, we turned right and hoped for the best. After a little bit of walking, Mom noticed the grave of Alexander Cadwalader (1888-1918), the youngest of the Cadwalader siblings, who supposedly took his own life. We stopped, looked around, and realized we'd found the family we'd been looking for, buried together in a little plot.
  • Richard McCall Cadwalader (1839-1918)
  • Christine Biddle Cadwalader (1847-1900)
  • Thomas Cadwalader (1874-1933)
  • Charles Meigs Biddle Cadwalader (1885-1959)
  • Christine Cadwalader (1887-1887)
  • Alexander Cadwalader (1888-1918)
I visited the plot a few days later with my sister to take some additional photographs, and this time had no trouble finding my family -- straight out the door of the church, past the lightpost.

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