Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Norris Family Plot at Mount Greenwood, Chicago

Last week I posted a story about William D. ROSSER in the Spanish American War. The following day, Bob and I went to a couple cemeteries on the southwest side of Chicago. Our trip was unplanned because if you remember my mentioning if the weatherman knew ahead of time I was planning a cemetery adventure, we would have inclement weather for the visit. Spur of the moment decisions worked! I tricked him again and the day was beautiful! 

About an hour's drive, our first stop was Mount Greenwood which is on 111th Street just east of Kedzie (Norris & Rosser -- my mom's side of family) and the other is Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park in Willow Springs at 9100 Archer Ave. (Van Plew -- my dad's side of family).

I love visiting cemeteries especially the old ones. They don't put up monuments and beautiful headstones now like they did back when. Mount Greenwood Cemetery is considered one of the oldest cemeteries in Chicago "designed to be places of peaceful recreation as well as burial." according to the Mount Greenwood Cemetery Tour book published by the Ridge Historical Society and Mount Greenwood Cemetery. It is a peaceful setting with many tall trees on small, rolling hills. There are some famous Chicagoans buried in there, but this post isn't about them. Click on the link above for a short tour of the headstones and monuments in this cemetery.

Mount Greenwood is where Samuel (Sr.) and my half-great aunt Catherine (Katie) Wilhelmine (Buschick) NORRIS are buried along with their daughter Elizabeth and her husband William D. Rosser. I knew they were buried in this cemetery, but never visited to take pictures even though the cemetery is less than an hour away. I was hoping (and surprised) to be informed by the office clerk of more family members also in this eight-grave plot. She gave us the cemetery map, marked with the location of the family plot; we set out to find it.

There are pictures of William D. and Elizabeth on the previous post (link at this post's beginning). I wish I had more Norris/Rosser family pictures, but no more I have are identified...yet. 
I don't know about you... I do not like flat-to-the-ground headstones! We found the section okay. We parked the car in the shade and started to walk the area looking for the headstones. It took few passes before we spotted them even though we were both walking the area marked with an X on the map, and as you can see in the headstone pictures I have taken, the grass and dirt has started to cover the stones. We were in our new car which was equipped with everything but a trowel and brush for cleaning the stones. We did our best with our hands and shoes to uncover and clean them. The office assured me they would raise the stones and clean them off. I will be back next time we are down in that area just to make sure.

NORRIS AND ROSSER PLOT - Section 31, Lot 451
 Bob had to pull the branches back -- one side at a time -- just so I could get a picture of each name. In Photoshop, I combined the two sides' images to get the one above. I enhanced the names, but they are still hard to read.
You can see how we missed the family plot. The main headstone is shrouded by evergreens. The eight flat headstones in front are sinking...we did our best to pull the grass away and to scrape some of the dirt off just to see the dates or names.

Samuel Norris Sr. and Catherine Norris are buried side-by-side middle of row just in front of the family stone. To the right is their son Samuel Jr. To the left is son-in-law Ferdinand Pedersen and inline with him in next row is his wife Grace, daughter of Samuel and Catherine. To the right of Grace is William D. Rosser and then Elizabeth his wife. Their son Roger is the last to the right. According to the cemetery office, a Carol Booth's ashes are buried in Grace's grave space also. I am sure Carol would be Grace and Ferdinand's daughter or possibly a granddaughter, but not having any information on her, I can only speculate.

Samuel Norris Sr. 1852-1923

Catherine Norris 1852-1926

Elizabeth Norris Rosser 1881-1960 (Eastern Star emblem)

William D. Rosser 1876-1931 (Masonic emblem).

I asked the clerk to check for any other people with the Norris or Rosser name. Here are the surprises. I have to limit myself to how deep into collateral families I want to go, but my practice is - if information comes to me, I take it. Here are the surprises:

Samuel Norris Jr. 1892-1916 (Masonic emblem)

Ferdinand Pederson 1895-1969 (not sure of the type emblem)

Grace Rosser Pedersen 1902-1963 (can't make out if any emblem)

Roger N[orris] Rosser 1923-1926 (no emblem)
All of these can be found on Find A Grave. These are the ones I could identify as part of my family. There were a few other Norris names, but I couldn't immediately recognize they being part of the family. Besides, I didn't want to get that far off my line; I need to stay focussed on my families.

The other cemetery we visited the same day was quite a ways west. Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park cemetery is tucked into a huge forest preserve. I'd like to explore it sometime. Anyway, the two graves there are on my dad's side of the family -- Van Plews, James Wright and his wife Anna F. (Harms). James is the son of Henry and Sarah (Almond). You might remember the letters Henry wrote about coming to America. I will leave this cemetery story for another time.

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