About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday, 23 June 2009

We arrived at Spring Hill Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee, at almost 5pm on Memorial Day, 2005, looking for the grave of my great-grandfather's brother (my great-granduncle), Clarence P. Wilcox. I knew the location and discovered that the plot was shared with the Smiths, but the stone was knocked off the base (Wilcox side down, of course). Our dog, Buddy, found the grave and laid down on the stone to await our realization that this was, in fact, the stone we were searching. But what to do? We had no crowbar in our camper (and doubt we would have attacked a tombstone with it if we had!), and the stone was securely wedged into the ground. I got the information about the Smiths (Clarence's second wife's brother and his wife), but wanted the information hidden from view.

There was a man and a truck in a nearby section (he was one of only 2 other visitors to the cemetery at that hour, on a holiday) and I bugged my husband Butch (in the dark blue shirt, below) until he agreed to go talk to the man to see if he might have a tool to help us. Well, it turns out the man was a tombstone carver! And his truck was equipped with a full stone-lifting rig! What are the chances? He maneuvered the truck into place by "our" grave and enlisted my husband's help.

With the dog's encouragement (and me, taking pictures throughout the experience), they lifted that stone to reveal Clarence, who died 30 June 1939, 70 years ago this coming week, had been buried with his first wife.

The stone was positioned next to the base so others can find this man, born in 1869, who was caregiver to his parents during their last years. R.I.P. Uncle Clarence.

Clarence P. WILCOX
(son of Nathan W. WILCOX and Irene FREEMAN)
b: 11 April 1869, Winchester, Franklin, Tennessee
m1: 11 February 1894, Maggie M. W____ (b: 19 October 1866; d: 12 January 1912, Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee), Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee
m2: 21 September 1919, Jennie R. SMITH, Nasvhille, Davidson, Tennessee
d: 30 June 1939, Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee


  1. "...a stone lifting rig..." what ARE the odds? What a great experience! Thank you for sharing with us.


  2. Jean,

    Fantastic story. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to finding the ancestors!

  3. A great story! And you did give Buddy an extra doggie treat, right?? ;)