Saturday, October 1, 2011

St. Joseph's Cemetery, Cleveland

St. Joseph's Cemetery is slightly older than St. John's. It is on the corner of East 79th and Woodland. The southern property lines abut railroad.
Immediately east of St. John's Cemetery is St. Joseph's. The Woodland neighborhood has fallen on hard times. Rich people do not drive by often. Not many with substantial, or any funds choose to be buried, or have their relatives deposited here. Although, a recent bishop of Erie Pennsylvania is there in a family plot. He had been a child at St. Rose and St. James parishes.

In one of these cemeteries, a fellow i once worked with found God. He was a big, strong, angry man with sensual tastes. He abused himself and others. He was capable in his trade, and a fairly bright man, and a talkative man. [He invented the word 'cohoosion'.] After a night of excessive 'partying' he awoke to find himself in a Catholic Cemetery on Woodland. This awakening changed his life. He decided to abandon his former lifestyle, as much as he could, and became religious. He admits to many failings, and he wants others to confess theirs too.
There is fashion in grave markers. Certain styles and decorations, and lettering come to the fore and then fade. One was a cylindrical stone sitting on a cradle. Some people thought of this resembling a bolster pillow, and refer to it as a 'bolster stone'. Other people who work and maintain graveyards, call them rollers. The bolster above became a roller.
“maintain all burial sites in perpetuity”
There are three* mausoleums on the property, two are of religious sisters' orders. The Sisters of Notre Dame, supra, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, infra. These cemeteries on Woodland suffered vandalism, and the mausoleums were invaded by vandals, and grave robbers. These buildings have been sealed, two with stone blocks, and the Notre Dame Sisters with a marker stone listing those inside the vault (†1899-1919), and those on the hillside (†1878-1918). The diocesan cemeteries brag that they, “maintain all burial sites in perpetuity”.
There is a couple of locust trees growing on the roof. The locust is a very fast colonising tree, with a deep initial and crossed roots that really anchor the plant. It is described, as an evasive species, an opportunistic plant, a weed. They grow quickly, and have gone to leaf when used as fence posts, they burn well and hot. Beneath the cross, there are leafy vines surrounding a stone with a sculpted relief of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the continued growth rate, it will cover up that decorative art.
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*I saw three to-day, i look at an old map, and it reads a fourth smaller one to the left of the Notre Dame sisters. I don't know if it is under vegetation or gone. — I revisited, it definitely is not there.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures. My great grndfather Hugh Joseph O'Donnell (d 1935 or 1936) and his wife Margaret Flannagin O'Donnell (d 1949) are buried there. The Catholic Diocese records are maintained at Calvary cemetery. The best they could do was give me 3 possible plots they may be buried in, but I could not find a gravestone. Though the stones do not seem to be protected (many were knocked over) it is a very pretty and somewhat secluded cemetery. They do cut the grass, and I enjoyed a warm sunny afternoon by myself looking for my relatives graves there

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