Monday, November 24, 2008


New Image Elyse at The Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee posted an article about volunteering during the holiday season. She lists some great ideas for doing volunteer work with a cemetery twist.

Although I am very busy these days (I'm in full research mode and am trying to put some things together to send to a family member), I will find some time to add my finds to the Find-A-Grave database.

I encourage you to read her article.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday - 11/18/08

I thought this was interesting. I have no idea who may be buried here.


Digital photo of 4 grave markers, taken at Evergreen Cemetery (Bloomington, Illinois) on
1 November 2008 by Julie Tarr.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

William Holmes

William Holmes Gravestone, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington, Illinois [1]

William Holmes was a Chicago police office, who died in the line of duty on Christmas Eve 1924. He was one of the 40% of Chicago police officers who were killed in action during the Dangerous Era (1920-1939).

From what I can find, William was enumerator in the 1920 census as living in Chicago Ward 2, Cook County, Illinois with his wife Mary. According to this census, he was born about 1883, which would have made him about 41 when he died.

William Holmes on the 1920 U.S. Census [2]

In the early morning hours of 24 December 1924, Officers William Holmes and Jesse McKinney set out to investigate an assault on Giles Avenue.

There in the darkness, they met two colored men, hurrying as though in fear of pursuit. Moving to draw his revolver, Policeman Homes ordered the two men to halt and throw up their hands, shouting that he was a policeman. Holmes' last words were interrupted by a shower of bullets....

With the first bullet, Holmes dropped to the ground, shot through the heart. Although he was dying, Holmes propped himself on his elbows and emptied his revolver at the gunman before he collapsed. 31]

William was taken to Wilson hospital, where he died that fateful morning.

William was buried in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois. I have no idea what his ties to Bloomington-Normal are.


1. Digital image of William Holmes' gravestone at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, taken by Julie Tarr on 1 November 2008; privately held by Julie Tarr.

2. 1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Chicago Ward 2, Cook, Illinois, enumeration district (ED) 105, sheet 26A, p. 1, dwelling 20, family 28; digital image, ( ).

3. "Courage in Duel With Murdered Wins Hero Prize." Chicago Tribune. 11 January 1925.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington

P1000237 The Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, established in the 1820s, is located in Bloomington, just south of downtown.  It's situated on 87 acres, surrounded by Wright Street, Lincoln Street, Wood Street, Gridley Street, and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

Contact Information

Address:  302 E. Miller Street
Phone:  309-827-6950
Office Hours:  8am to 4:30pm

Prominent Burials

  • David Davis - Supreme Court Justice
  • Jesse Fell - Co-founder of Illinois State University (formerly Illinois State Normal University)
  • Adlai E. Stevenson I - Vice President to Grover Cleveland
  • Adlai E. Stevenson II - Governor of Illinois
  • Carl Vrooman - Assistant Secretary of Agriculture
  • Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne - Major League baseball pitcher
  • Letitia Green Stevenson - National President-General of the Daughters of the American Revolution

Online Resources


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in the Fall

I visited the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington last week and wanted to share some of the Fall photos I took. Enjoy!






Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Brief History of Cemetery Roots in Bloomington

The following is transcribed from the Cemetery section of Bloomington and Normal in McLean County, Illinois, by J.H. Burnham, published in 1879. It's a brief history of early cemeteries in Bloomington.


We have stated elsewhere that the first cemetery laid out in the township of Bloomington, is the one in the Orendorff neighborhood, started in the year 1825. This is the oldest cemetery in the county.

Shortly after the town, now city, of Bloomington, was established, a cemetery was opened on the north side of the ample grounds now known as the Bloomington Cemetery. Here we find that the first burial was that of Mrs. Remington, about the year 1832. This tract included within the same inclosure with the Bloomington Cemetery, and contains some land owned by the city and used as a public burying-ground. As the town grew and it became evident it would be a place of considerable size, efforts were made in 1856 to establish a cemetery on a larger and more appropriate scale, and the result proves the good taste, wisdom, and judgment of those interested.

The Bloomington Cemetery Association was organized April 1, 1857. David Brier, Esq., was elected President, and L. Graves, Secretary and Treasurer, which position the latter gentleman has ably filled and is filling to the entire satisfaction of all; while the former gentleman held the presidency until he removed from the city, when Judge O.T. Reeves was elect to the position. The Cemetery grounds are located at the east end of Fremont street, and contain forty acres, and are sufficiently remote from the business center and every-day life as to render the place a fitting abode of the dead. The site chosen is a beautiful one. Its rolling ground is pleasing and is interspersed with a natural growth of trees and shrubs, making its landscape beauty unsurpassed for the purpose designed. It is a beautiful, secluded retreat, well adapted as a sacred spot for the reception of the dead, where monuments to their memory are preserved and cherished as a solace to the living. Many monuments and other valuable improvements are being made, which add beauty to and adorn the grounds, making it really a city of the dead.

The Catholic Cemetery is under the care of the Church. It is situated on West Washington street, near the city limits. This Cemetery, like the other, is fast filling up with tasteful monuments, which indicate a degree of civilization and culture greatly to be commended.

The Jewish Cemetery was laid out in 1874. It contains one acre of ground, near city limits, on the Springfield road. The President of the Association is M. Heilbrun, who first proposed the idea of a cemetery.

Source: History of Bloomington and Normal in McLean County, Illinois, J.H. Burnham, J.H. Burnham Publisher: Bloomington, 1879. pg 59-60


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