Tombstone Tuesday – Showmen’s Rest

The Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma has a section called Showmen’s Rest where a number of circus performers and professionals are buried. The area is set off by several pillars that state “Showmen’s Rest” with an elephant atop each of them.

Showmen's Rest

Showmen's Rest

Many of the tombstones depict some phrase that would indicate their love and enjoyment of the life they lived as a part of the circus world. One sentiment I particularly liked was this one:

May all your days be circus days.

May all your days be circus days.

How wonderful to live a life bringing joy, laughter and happiness everywhere you went – so much so that you would wish for everyone that all their days could be lived as fully and joyfully as this sentiment expresses.

Tombstone Tuesday – Eva Fox

My grandmother, Eva Fox, and her son, Albert Edward, are buried in a single plot under a single tombstone in the Highland Cemetery at Oilton, Oklahoma.The entrance to the cemetery is surely a tribute to the importance of oil to the city of Oilton – it is two oil derricks with a connecting crosspiece. This cemetery is now owned by the City of Oilton. In spite of the fact the cemetery website states they have no records of people buried there before they took over ownership, the clerk at City Hall pulled out a record book and found Eva immediately. It is their record that confirms Eva and Albert are buried in the same plot. Eva is buried in section 9 of the old part of the cemetery.

Entrance to Highland Cemetery

Eva gave birth to her tenth chld, Albert, on December 21, 1921. Eva suffered a stroke during her labor; Albert developed pneumonia and died on January 1, 1922. Eva apparently did not regain consciousness and developed pneumonia. followed by a cerebral hemorrhage and death on January 12, 1922. Tombstone of Eva Fox and her son, Albert EdwardMy daughter has reposted some of the detail of Eva’s death in her post is now entitled “Eva and January.”

Because my mother was only 19 months old when her father died and not yet eight when her mother died I never had the opportunity to know my grandparents. In fact, I don’t even remember hearing about them other than the fact my mother was an orphan.

Probably due to her early traumatic losses, my mother avoided the experience of death throughout her life; consequently, we never visited cemeteries or burial sites of family members. My mother’s sister, Bernita, though obviously hurt by the loss of her parents, was ten years older than my mother and did not avoid death in the same way; in fact, Bernita was killed in an automobile accident on Memorial Day of 1967 as she returned from visiting her mother’s grave.

The first time I visited my grandmother’s grave site was after my daughter started doing genealogy when we made a research trip to Oilton.

Joe & Leonard at Eva's Grave My uncles, Joe and Leonard, visited their mother’s grave, by guess, around the mid-1930s. As you can see, the headstone was white and clean at that time. The photo above from two days ago shows the stone to be deteriorating and is now a rough texture with occasional orange or rust-colored bumpy places on the surface. Additionally, the cement square visible in the earlier photo for the plot behind Eva’s stone is not visible in yesterday’s photo, although a similar cement square is visible around the plot to the north of her.

Eva’s name, though not as clear as in the earlier photographs, can still be seen. The stone has no listing for Albert and there is no birth or death date listed  for Eva.

Custody of Eva’s children was given, not to their stepfather, but to a prominent citizen of Oilton, S.C. Harrah. While I was in City Hall, I asked about Mr. Harrah; the clerk looked him up and he, Sam, and his wife, Ruth, are buried in section 11 of the cemetery. Cemetery maps or directions around the cemetery are not available and, though I walked a good portion of the old part of the cemetery, I did not find their graves.