with Breadth and Depth
What does Bread, an accident and a Soviet hammer and sickle have to do with R.I.P.?
They are all buried in New Hampshire Cemeteries. How did I find them? I found them in a place where you wouldn’t expect to find your ancestor. They are listed in books about the curiosities, weird things or local legends you find around New England.
Those books are:
1. Weird New England: Your Travel Guide to New England’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Joseph A. Citro; 2005 Sterling Publishing., Co. Inc., 387 Park Avenue South, New York City, NY 10016; page 212
2. New Hampshire Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside oddities and Other Offbeat Stuff by Eric Jones; Insiders’ 2006 Guide Guildford Connecticut, an in print of the Globe Pequot Press, page 189
Some may say that is not genealogy research. Others tell you to think out of the box when doing your research. I thought out of the box and found one of the surnames of my ancestor; Chase. It turned out not to be my direct family line. It did, however, capture my interest. If this was my ancestor I would want to have the story as part of my research. The three stories I will tell you about are just a needle in the haystack of the curiosities, oddities and local legends that I found. So, go cruise you local library or local bookstore; you never know who you will find might find in those stacks.
1 a. From page 212 “Weird New England:…” Among the overgrown area of the Faxen Hill Road Cemetery in Washington, New Hampshire, well hidden from sight you will find the grave of Fred and Elba Chase, my “found cousins,.” Fred Chase descended from Acquila Chase, who arrived in America on the eight ship after the Mayflower, according to his grand daughter, Norah Chase. The stone reads: “In memory of a comrade, A courageous and devoted fighter in the class struggle.” The front of the grave marker bears the Soviet hammer and sickle above the name Chase. How many people do you know that had the courage to display such a symbol in 1933, the year Fred Chase died and the same year that diplomatic relations began with the United States.
1 b. From page 212 “Weird New England…” In the same cemetery as Fred and Elba Chase lies Captain Samuel Jones LEG. Yes, it reads leg. When on 7 July 1804, Samuel had an accident that called for his leg to be amputated he decided to have it properly buried. The belief of the time was that if you properly buried your dismembered appendage, you would experience less phantom pain. Several years later, when his remaining parts died, he was buried in Boston. Thus, Rest in Peace became Rest in Pieces for this gentleman with two burial sites and death dates.
2. From page 189 “New Hampshire Curiosities…” brings us to the last story for this post, Emil A Hanslin, baking Bread or is he? Emil was not a baker. You will find Emil encased in a casket-enclosing crypt with air vents in the back. Many of the locals living in New London, New Hampshire think he had a sense of humor, because he is laid to rest in a “loaf of bread.” He was an awarding winning real estate developer who knew how to make bread of the “green” kind. I think maybe his wife, Suzanne Sission Hanslin, a sculpture may have had a hand in its creation. Does it matter? It might to you as an ancestor, I leave the search for your capable hands.
I could go on with so many others, but I want to leave some of the fun up to you. I leave you with a tease about other oddities I found. So are your ancestors alien seekers, coffin thief’s, or maybe just the creator of a house made totally out of newspapers? Have fun finding the Oddity in your family tree. I found mine; Now you find yours.
I have embedded some links in my story for you to find out more on these interesting people.
The ashes of Suzanne Sisson Hanslin are to be laid next to her husband where the bronze door is.