Monday, April 11, 2016

I Knew Emma Was There

I already knew where my Big Paw Paw's mother was.

Luckily, the Galveston County Genealogical Society had transcribed Lakeview Cemetery's records in 1992 and according to the transcriptions, Big Paw Paw's great grandparents — John and Emma (Schleicher) Marschall — were buried in Block #22, lot # E1/2 of 1. However, their grave numbers are blank. [1]

And when I went looking for them back in March of 2008, they weren't in the section they should be in.

Then Hurricane Ike hit in September of 2008, [2] and I attempted to look for them again in August of 2009 with no luck. [3]

Lakeview Cemetery is a very neglected private cemetery though it still has interments. As blog reader and fellow graver, J. Edward Stark, once commented on my (old) tombstone blog:

"There doesn't seem to be any order or layout to the place, almost as if someone threw a handful of seeds to the wind and tombstones sprung up in whichever direction or angle they landed in." [4]

And he's right.

I've been back a time or two looking for them but after that I'd always been with my family who had become wise to my cemetery and tombstone shenanigans.

(Especially after on the way to Iowa to a Pointer family reunion no one wanted to attend except the only person in the car who hadn't been born a Pointer (me), I may have tricked them into stopping at this old cemetery that was ... ohmigosh what a coincidence ... right off of I-35 in Cameron, Clinton County, Missouri, where my great grandparent's were buried. Good thing this non-Pointer Pointer did that because we haven't been back to a Pointer family reunion since. And then there was that time in San Antonio looking for Daniel and Annie and it was 97 degrees out... Okay. So judge me.)

And I'd been on the island a few times for client work, but not to Lakeview Cemetery.

Then my daughter started attending Texas A&M University at Galveston located on Pelican Island just off of Galveston Island. However, I kept arranging times to go visit on the weekends with family in tow. Who, after grocery shopping at Krogers for my daughter, I might have directed to drive a back way from the Kroger to the dorm knowing that Lakeview Cemetery was behind it. And I might have pointed out to them, "Oh look. There's Lakeview Cemetery where John and Emma are. Somewhere. In there." And they'd not reply but I could feel their nervousness, and their brains were super loud as they wondered if I was going to make them stop and walk the whole cemetery like in Missouri. And in San Antonio. I didn't. But I felt the power I had in that moment and I liked it. (So, judge me.)

Then I noticed a few months ago on Find A Grave that Emma's tombstone had been found and photographed a couple of years ago! [5] I just hadn't checked back. Clearly her tombstone was broken and laying across the foundation in that photograph and it looks like it had been in the ground just a bit on the bottom right hand side. And I decided I'd put her off long enough. It was time to find Emma for myself. And possibly John.

So a few weeks ago, I left for the island to find them and take my daughter to dinner. Unfortunately, I picked a week where it had rained on the island and the cemetery was mostly under water especially the ruts in the ground that meander through the cemetery and act as the "roads" inside of the cemetery. However, I drove around the perimeter of the cemetery noting the pockets of older tombstones that are, as Stark so accurately described, "scattered" every which way throughout the cemetery. [6] I also noticed the signs that marked the different sections were gone.

I did walk the east side of the cemetery which was a bit drier and where John and Emma should have been, but still didn't locate them.

Last Friday, I went back. The skies were blue. It was about 73 degrees with a nice gulf breeze.

And the ground was dry. I had decided to start on the west part of the cemetery where last time I had noted some bigger pockets of older tombstones. I stopped the car every so often to get out and look at the older tombstones.

I uncovered so many stones. And stories...a man who had been born in London, England, whose tombstone was covered with dried grass clippings and two overgrown lilies which were now bushes. (Luckily, there were no snakes in there. *shudder*)

A Scot born in 1818 whose tombstone was along the crumbling back wall.

Eight small tombstones with only last names whose stories were cut short.

All the while, I kept an eye out for a white tombstone with a not-too-sharp point at the top, almost rounded, with no notches on the top corners.

I was worried that since it was broken in the image on Find A Grave that perhaps it might be lost, misplaced, or stolen.

I turned away from the too-small tombstones in the middle of the cemetery back towards the west and spotted a small white tombstone with a not-too-pointed, almost rounded top with no notches on the top corners and it was poking out of the ground.

Was this Emma?

As I got closer, I noticed it was buried in the ground behind its foundation and dried grass clippings were trapped in the space between it and the foundation.

Emma Schleicher Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

I quickly cleaned the clippings away and pulled the weeds surrounding it, and...there was Emma!

A quick survey all around her only yielded empty spaces where her husband, the Prussian immigrant who first landed in Galveston on Christmas Day in 1878, is supposed to be, but there are no tombstones. [7] Just empty spots.

Emma Schleicher Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

Gee, I hope no new tombstones appear there in the future.

For John is there. Somewhere.

I just know it.


1. Linda Ludgate McBee, Lakeview Cemetery Record, Galveston, Texas, Volume III, 1917-1929, (Galveston: Galveston County Genealogical Society, 1992), not paginated but listed alphabetically by surname.
2. Caroline M. Pointer, Disasters: Not Today, ( : accessed 11 April 2016).
3. Caroline M. Pointer, Tombstone Tuesday: Hanging Out, ( : accessed 11 April 2016).
4. ibid., "J Edward Stark," comment made August 19, 2009.
5. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 11 April 2016, memorial page for Emma Marschall (1856-1928), Find A Grave memorial no. 132,156,623, citing Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas; the accompanying photograph by Floyd Lanny Martin is clear and informative providing enough data to ascertain this is the correct Emma Marschall.
6. Caroline M. Pointer, Tombstone Tuesday: Hanging Out, ( : accessed 11 April 2016), "J Edward Stark," comment made August 19, 2009.
7. Galveston County, Texas, Index to Naturalization Docket, 1860-1890; Declaration of Intentions, Vol. 1; 1860-1871; Vol. 2, 1871-1879, Vol. 3, 1880-1892, unpaginated, chronologically arranged, 4 Oct 1880, "John Marschall;" Texas State Library and Archives, Austin; TSLAC microfilm no. 1009834, vol. 3, p. 15.


  1. Well done, a great sense of accomplishment

    1. Hi Lilian,

      Thanks! Yes, and it brought closure.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Haven't stopped by for a while and forgot how much I enjoyed your blog, writing and stories. Old cemeteries where family are buried are a joy and a pain. A joy for the reward of the search. A pain in the looking and some times in the finding of broken, untended stones. Thanks for the story.

    1. Thanks, Joan! And thank you so much for coming back by to read and thank you for your kind words!

      Yes, old cemeteries can be a bother, but what joy when you discover what you were looking for.


  3. It's always tearful when we find those stones. Always love reading what you do, Caroline. Hope you don't stop blogging.
    Is the Marschall originally Marchal from Alsace-Lorraine ? I am looking for your tree somewhere.

    1. Hi Magda,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! No, I won't stop blogging. Ever.

      And thanks for stopping by and reading!


  4. I see now that Marschall was from Gorszewice. I have Evangelical Lutheran Germans that lived in Poland too.

    1. I see you found them. They were in Posen (region as opposed to the city) now in Poland and while their children were all baptized in the Catholic church on Galveston, Island, John and Emma both have burial records from the Evangelical Lutheran church (late 1920s) there in Galveston.

      Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate it!


  5. Every stone has a story, great blog. Its my first visit to your blog and now I plan to come here and will drop by more often. I loved your resources and planning to credit some authors in my friends website since I am searching on a few surnames myself. Just yesterday I went to visit my great grandmothers stone, of course I wasn't born back then when she passed away, but got these unusual sensations like a different feeling. It felt very different but the feeling was genuine.

  6. Caroline, great job with finding her. Did you poke around a little in the spots on either side of her? You know how those broken stones can lay flat and then get covered up with grass. He might be there already.

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Yes, I did look for the stone around her, but didn't see it under the groundcover. But he's definitely there beside her. So many of the older tombstones in that cemetery are broken and lost.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!



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