Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mystery Monday: Would you want to know why these three people are buried together?

George H. Waltonbaugh and Bessie Harvey Waltonbough were my maternal great-grandparents.  They had three children in 1913 and Bessie was pregnant with the forth when George suddenly died. The two oldest were twin  boys at nine years of age. George Richards married widow Bessie in 1916. They had two children:  George Boyd Richards, Jr. (1917- 12-6-1957) buried in Arlington Cemetery; and Ruth Richards (1923-1951). Ruth died in a fire in Washington, DC at 28 years old. This Ruth White is most likely Ruth Richards. None of the family records I have acquired show Ruth married.
Family records have George Boyd Richards Sr.  "killed by a truck when his children were very small".
In 1929 Bessie married John C. (Jack) Reed. George Richards Jr. was 12 and Ruth would have been 6 years old.
So George Waltonbaugh was Bessie's first husband with whom she is buried here. Ruth was her daughter by Bessie's second marriage to Mr. Richards. Bessie's last husband was 'Jack' Reed, thus her last name at the time of her death.
If I had stumbled upon this gravestone without knowing my family history I'd be intrigued..... Even so there are still unanswered questions. Where is Mr. Richards buried? Where is Mr. Reed buried? And did Ruth marry a Mr. White before being killed in the fire? Another question is why is the WWII flag holder placed here? Was Ruth working for one of the branches of  the service in DC and thus a veteran? George Boyd Richards Jr. is buried in Arlington so is it here for Bessie's son's service to his country? He served in many places during his service career and died on tour in France. What qualified him for an Arlington burial? Or was it  just placed here by mistake? (All the questions) .Don't you love cemetery mysteries? More to come....


  1. Wow, that is an interesting mystery. Does the cemetery have any records that might help? I'll be following this story to find out :)

  2. Glad you found it interesting. We just found the stone yesterday when looking for markers requested on Find A Grave. Thus this stone is new to us! The cemetery is West Newton Cemetery in West Newton, PA. The stone was located in a section a picture was requested for, and nowhere near any of my other relatives buried through out the cemetery.
    Thank you for the suggestion to check the office, we can never get there during the week because of work.

  3. I am compiling a "pictoral" family tree for my sister and her husband. My brother-in-law is also a great-grandchild of George and Bessie. Of his eight great-grandparents, theirs is the only photographs missing from his records. Do you have, or do you know of, any photographs of the couple? Please advise. Thank you!