A Haven for Vee

Friday, August 9, 2019

Of Saddle Tramps and Cemetery Stories

A few days ago, my sister arrived to help me with a big chore. I was feeling better after several days of feeling poorly and so I wanted to power wash the garden room fence.
Exciting stuff! I was really looking forward to it! 

She was about to change into her work clothes when I said, "Of course, we can't wash the fence behind the tomatoes." 

And that's when the day took a different turn. 

Sis was completely unwilling to do any of the project if we couldn't do it all. Honestly, I keep telling you how stubborn she is. 

Now we had an entire day before us and nothing to do except twiddle our thumbs. 

Somehow we decided to go visit the graves. As many of my readers know, I like nothing better than wandering about in a cemetery. I had further interest in visiting the cemetery because John's gravestone is supposed to be set any day now. (It has not yet happened.) I remembered that I wanted to show Sis two graves that have amazing stories. Of course, it is true that every grave is a story, but so many are not ours to tell. The first is an old story ending a hundred years and more ago so I am sharing with you as I did with her.

Grave motifs are very interesting. This anchor is a favorite of mine. (If interested, you can find more about motifs *here.*) There's a lamb below that is also wonderful so, naturally, I didn't photograph it. And that's where the story of the Greene family stone begins...with this little lamb named Dora Belle who died in 1882.

 How we loved our
Little Darling
No human tongue can tell
She was a lovely 
We called her Little 

In 1885, tragedy struck again when an only son died at 9 months of age. 

John lost a baby boy long years ago. When he showed me this grave, he was particularly moved by the words about little Charles. He thought the family expressed great faith and I think so, too. I also think they expressed great honesty with the words "But God saw fit those hopes to blast..."

The third part of the story ends with the unthinkable when the eldest and last child Ora May passed just weeks later, also in 1885.

That's a whole lot of tragedy for one family to endure.

The Parents

Screen Capture from Find a Grave with further information

I hope one day to meet these folks in Glory. I feel as if I have adopted them as family. I visit them quite often. It makes me happy to know that whatever sorrows they suffered in this life were melted away as they met so long ago "an unbroken family at Jesus' feet."

⚓ ⚓ ⚓

We didn't know the exact location of the other grave with a most fascinating story, but Sis is good with photos and clues and she figured it out easily. (I knew the story, but had long forgotten where the grave actually was.)

Last of the Saddle Tramps? You can see why John and I were so intrigued when we first stumbled upon it. I am not sure how Mesannie pronounced her name, but I pronounce it to rhyme with Bethany. 

A bit of research provided some information. Mesannie lived one town over and around the time I was arriving in the world, she was told by her doctor that she would be leaving it as she had only a few months, perhaps two years, to live.  And that only if she were willing to go home and live a quiet, careful life.

Obviously, Mesannie was a woman with considerable spunk because she said to herself: Nuts to that! If I only have a short time to live, I'm going to do what I want to do! (I have since learned that she felt led of God to do what she had always wanted and set out a fleece before Him to see if it would be okay.)

Using her funds from selling her cucumbers to a pickle factory she bought a horse and struck off for California! There was no one and nothing to keep her in Maine. (Oh I hope that John has met Mesannie in Glory. His mama was probably selling her cucumbers to the same pickle factory back in the day. He loved telling that story.) 

Source: Pixaby

Prior to finding Mesannie's gravestone on one of my jaunts with John, I knew nothing of her nor did he. After some online research, we learned exactly where she had lived. John just so happened to know one of her neighbors and asked him if he had known her. Yes, he had and he called her  "Mess Annie." She was also known by the name given to the road she once lived on seen below. 

Jackass Annie Road

I romantically imagined that we would find an old homestead looking this way...

from Pixaby

Nope. There were many beautiful new homes overlooking the White Mountains, but no old homesteads. Wherever Mesannie lived on that road, the traces are long gone.

By now, I was suggesting ice cream, but Sis had other ideas. She was not willing to let Mesannie go so easily and so 
off we went to the town library where Sis surmised that there would surely be a copy of Mesannie's book. Book? Oh my goodness, yes, Mesannie had written a book of her adventures. Praise be.

We learned that, apparently, there had been a copy of the book, but it mysteriously disappeared and never made its way back to the library. Someone felt that he or she had more of a right to a town story than anyone else. However! The librarian told me that she had a personal copy and, since she knew where to find me, she would allow me to borrow it. (The librarian is my daughter-in-law's boss.)

I won't tell you the rest of the story. Let's just say that you can figure out from her dates that the doctor was proven wrong. Very.

And that's how this post ends...

Oh no. That would be just too mean. Here are a few more pics...

Mesannie Wilkins Heading for California

 Mesannie and Her Crew

The Journey

All this leaves me wondering: what do I really want to do...

What about you? 😉


  1. Good Lord...what interesting stories...I love old cemetaries and the stories within....fascinating....thank you so much for this beautiful post Vee..just loved it!

    1. Oh I am glad that you enjoyed these cemetery stories. Forgot to do my workaround on receiving emails of comments. You gave me the opportunity!

  2. I've always loved to wander around in cemeteries too. It is humbling to read the wonderful gravestone inscriptions and very sad to see how many babies died in each family. I love that you found out more about Mesannie! How amazing! It reminds me of the story of Grandma Gatewood and her walk...or walks! I feel brave walking on my trails and can't imagine taking off into the unknown! Thanks for a beautifully written post. I hope you feel good today. Sweet hugs, Diane

  3. Oh wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this. Last semester I had to write a paper on the Railroad here in this town. Lo and behold, while visiting/upkeeping the family gravesites, I found so and so and then so and so...what stories these graves tell. smiles

  4. What a wonderful story! How fun that you got to borrow her book too.

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds these kinds of things interesting! We spent an enjoyable day in Scotland in a few grave yards. Their tombstones are beautiful and full of information.

    Look at that Mesannie! Good for her! My friend Jane says that if she ever finds out she's got something terminal she's going on a month long cruise!

  6. I also find it worthwhile and comforting to wander through cemeteries. I enjoyed reading the amazon write-ups about this book! I can't remember if I ever posted about how my husband's headstone was put on the wrong grave and how Andy and I were frantically searching the small rural cemetery where he is buried until we found it and we able to have the error corrected. Somehow, I know Paul would have enjoyed the joke of it all.

  7. WOW! no way could I ever top Mesannie's story, Oh how I would loved to have met her, now aren't you glad that your Sis refused to wash only parts of the fence! You would have missed this great adventure and so would we. I absolutely loved this post! So happy you are feeling better! Keep them coming, makes my day!
    Love you,

  8. That is one great and interesting story about Mesannie.
    I enjoy walking around cemeteries too.
    I can honestly say I am doing what I want to do. It has been such a blessing moving up here!!!

  9. I must be in the minority as I have spent no time ever exploring cemeteries. I'm thinking now I may have been missing a lot of interesting stories and history.

  10. What a character Mesannie was. Great job tracking her down. "But God saw fit those hopes to blast" Now that really is a telling statement. I'm looking forward to seeing things in the truth of eternity.

  11. That was interesting. All in all, a fun day with your sister :-)

  12. Oh my, how interesting this all is. I am a history major because I want to know everything about everyone who ever lived. An impossible task for sure. Thank you so much for the stories.

  13. Vee, you and your sister remind me of a Father Brown or a Murder She Wrote episode! So exciting to take it all in and find a book as well with your sleuthing. What an interesting one that Mesannie was!

  14. Oh my, Vee, you and your sister sure have adventures!!! I loved reading all about the cemetery and the gravestones, but the poor family who suffered so much, oh dear. At least they’re all together in heavenly bliss. Mesannie sure was an adventurous soul! It sounds like you had a very fun, fulfilling sister day.

  15. Now that was an interesting read! I love the story of Mesannie who chose not to languish, but to just go ahead and live. Our times are in His hands, aren't they?

    What would I want to do? That is a good question and worth considering because truly we never know when our time here is finished and so we ought to be doing that thing or those things (whatever they may be) with our precious days. I think I'd want to be "laying up treasure in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21) . . . talking more to the Lord . . . investing in people . . . loving, listening, serving . . .

    1. ☺️ I could have predicted that answer. Course, Cheryl, those are all things you are doing already. What “extra” thing would you like to do? In a way, Mesannie was probably interested in those things as well because she lived such an isolated life a mile off the beaten track, seldom seeing people, that I believe she relished meeting new people and having all those wonderful conversations that a 7,000 mile journey afforded.

  16. That may be how this post ends, but you will tell us more next time, right? Most interesting story! That was way more fun than washing a fence, right? Take care, Vee!

  17. Wow, interesting post. I love a good walk through a cemetery.

  18. Sorry I am just now reading and commenting on this wonderful post! First of all, I am with you on those old cemeteries and they stories they tell...even if only in part. I find it quite intriguing to do a little digging myself to find out more. Can you just imagine what Mesannie's life was like? Especially after she had been told the news that she would be dying soon. She certainly showed that doctor a thing or two! Thanks for sharing this!

  19. What an interesting post! I loved reading about Mesannie's life.
    Hope you have a good day.