Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Phil Wasden visits the Gunnison UT Cemetery

From Phil Wasden:
September 26, 2008
I drove to Gunnison, Utah knowing that grandmother Tilda Christena Christenson Wasden was born to Swedish parents living in that area.  I am quite sure that great-grandfather John Christenson is buried there and I desire to visit the gravesite.  The Gunnison Cemetery has a sign indicating a left turn into the driveway.  As I entered the driveway, I became increasingly concerned with the high-security fencing along the roadway, culminating in a barrier and security checkpoint.  Three heavily-armed and uniformed men greeted me; I said something to the effect, "Obviously, this is not the Gunnison Cemetery?"  To which one replied, "No, but some "inside" might think that it is!"  The Supervisor Guard pointed out:  "The entrance to the Cemetery is located just a few feet on the other side of the driveway."  Receiving permission, I made a hasty U-turn and left.

There is no directory to the Cemetery so, I "legged" it out through the expansive area in a "serpentine" fashion through the markers.  I was becoming a little discouraged because after about forty minutes and at three-quarters of the way, all of the "Christen..." names were Danish-ending "-sen" and not Swedish "-son" spellings.  The name, "WASDEN" on one marker stopped me "in my tracks!"  Realization flooded over me as I read the full name, "John Brooks Wasden," my great-grandfather!  I had no idea he was buried in this Cemetery!  Next to John Brooks is his first wife, Nancy Arilla Herring.  I remember grandfather James Brooks Wasden telling me that when his mother died at his birth, Nancy raised grandfather "as one of her own."  He said, "I often felt I was better treated than her own children" of which, she had thirteen!  (Four died in infancy or childhood).  On the other side of Nancy, Thomas Wasden, my 2nd great-grandfather is buried.  On the other side of Thomas is William Wasden, a 2nd great grand uncle.  these are all names familiar from years of copying pedigree and family group records but suddenly, it is now more "personal."  The shock is more than an "Aha moment, it is a WOW moment! In my excitement, I discovered nearby the object of my original search:  the marker for great-grandfather John Christenson!  

I must interrupt here to go can peaches.  I will try to reproduce Phil's photos of the grave stones later.


Ann said...

Thanks to Phil and his photos from the Gunnison cemetery, I no longer feel the strong need to go walk the cemetery in search of these grave sites. And thanks to his reminder as to the correct spelling of "Christenson", I have corrected the spelling in an earlier posting. I really appreciate Phil sharing his experience, as well as the photos.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Phil, for making the trip, the effort, and the photos. This is a great addition to family history. Glad you took the time and effort, and didn't let yourself be deterred.