Respecting the dead

On visiting gravesites

My husband is a quiet man and extremely thoughtful. Recently, he went to visit his great grandfather’s gravesite, and took on a small restoration project for a GAR marker he found broken on the ground. Before I explain how this came to be I want to provide a little background detail.


Interesting fact about Steve’s great grandfather is that he is buried near where Steve has been working for over 20 years, in Westminster, California.

Steve’s great grandfather’s name is Alfred E. Johnson and he was born in England in 1862. Now logically you might think Alfred lived and worked near where he was buried along with some other members of the family, however, it is not the case. Alfred was a farmer in Yuma, Arizona. And the farm still exists and run by Johnsons to this day. So it was a little puzzling to us as to why he was buried in the cemetery where we found him. The only thing we can deduce is that the cemetery used to be part of the city of Westminster when the plots were purchased. Being that he was born in England this must be why (namesake for England). I found an old tombstone at the cemetery which provides some clues as well. In fact, Westminster was not always part of Orange County either as the tombstone seems to indicate.

Photo of Steve and his great grandparent’s gravesite.

This photo above is a very old tombstone which has the words, “DIED In Westminster, Los Angeles, Ca” – indicates the cemetery was not always Orange County, or in the city of Garden Grove.

The Visit to the Cemetery

During Steve’s last visit to the cemetery at the end of May, he was looking at some nearby plots and found a broken GAR emblem on the ground. He took pictures of the gravesite and brought home the broken emblem. With his contacts, he was able to have it repaired and re-coated to look almost new. Neither of us actually knew much about the emblem and had to do some online research. It turns out the marker is for those who served in the Civil War for the Union, Grand Army of the Republic. Being a member of the DAR myself, my husband’s act of kindness made me extremely proud. Respecting the burial sites of those who came before us and fought for this country displays a true character and soul.

Note: Captain Trefethen was a merchant sea captain who lent his services and ship to blockading the South.

Below are photographs of tombstone for Capt Joseph Trefethen, Magnolia Memorial Park, Orange County, Ca.