Graveyards & Finding Graves


During the last Christmas holiday I found myself getting interested in a site called “Find a Grave”.  The purpose of the site is to post the tombstone inscriptions of graves a person finds.  It is quite the hobby for some people as they post thousands of tombstone inscriptions.  My own account can be found at:

I am not a high numbers poster, but feel I have done a ton of postings at 135 memorials created and I manage 144 total, with some having been transferred to me.  Which brings me to:  these are memorials for people who have passed on.  It is a place to remember people (and pets) with a memorial.  I asked for my memorial for Ben Watrous to be put in the site’s “random walk”, where people can randomly stroll and read memorials.  Ben’s birthday was June 11th, and over 20 people left birthday wishes for him.  That was kind of nice.

I have focused on relatives I have in my own genealogical work, but am now just beginning to do a few tombstone shoots of others as I feel like it.  This weekend I had a lady in Butte, Montana write me and ask if I could shoot the local tombstone for her little sister that died as an infant in 1967.  I went out with my mom yesterday morning and did so.  It was a good feeling to help some one out remember their loved one that way.  A baby is not forgotten.

While out there, mom pointed at a tombstone that interested her.  I shot the entire plot of the Terry family that lived in Stockton in the later half of the 1800s.  Memorials were already created for all of them on-line, but not tombstones - so I uploaded them.

Next to them was an interesting tombstone monument that is at the top of this article for General David Fulton Douglass.  I never heard of the guy so shot it.  When I got home, I found he had a memorial that was one of those minimal ones created - birth and death year and that was it.  The”general” had me curious so I devoted an hour to research David.  I found the facts and created a biography for him.  I sent it to the memorial creator, but I somehow doubt he will upload it as he has thousands of memorials and this one may not interest him.  So in the interest of remembering David Fulton Douglass, I will post it here and note flawed as he was he deserves some remembrance:

General David Fulton Douglass

In 1839 he killed Dr. William Howell in a fight.  As a result he served 14 months in prison in Arkansas.  The Louisville Journal reported:

"On the 16th ult., an encounter took place at Little Rock, Ark., between David F. Douglass, a young man of 18 or 19, and Dr. Wm. C. Howell.  A shot was exchanged between them at the distance of 8 or 10 feet with double-barreled guns.  The load of Douglass entered the left hip of Dr. Howell, and a buckshot from the gun of the latter struck a negro girl, 13 or 14 years of age, just below the pit of the stomach.  Douglass then fired a second time and hit Howell in the left groin, penetrating the abdomen and bladder, causing his death in four hours.  The negro girl, at the last dates, was not dead, but no hopes were entertained of her recovery.  Douglass was committed to await his trial at the April term of the Circuit Court."

During the Mexican War he served in the Texas Volunteers.  He came to California as a teamster with his regiment where he settled in the Central Valley where he became a successful farmer.

In California politics Douglass served his district in 1849 in the first session of the California State Senate.  He was elected as a brigadier general in the State Militia in 1850 by the legislature.  Douglass was the appointed as the first US Marshall in California by President Millard Filmore.  Again, in the 6th session of the Assembly representing San Joaquin County.  From 1856-1858 he was the State Librarian of California.  In 1856 he won the election for California Secretary of State as the Know Nothing party candidate.

© Ken Piper 2016