Sunday, December 11, 2011

Aurora Ghost Town (R.I.P. Elijah Butler)

The previous two blogs dealt with the "new" or more recent cemetery. Now I will be showing some graves from the older cemetery which is outside what I have previously shown. It is the part of the cemetery that would have been used during the boom years, but as you will see it has graves that go beyond that time period.

The first thing to point out is there are a lot more graves like the following. Someone was interred there, but no names are given. Many graves back during that time probably just had a wooden stake, or something like this with the name on the wood. With that it is just a matter of time before the weather wiped it out.
There are a few tombstones around, and I suspect something like the following tombstone was added at a later date. In the video I state the guy on the left was the husband of Mary Fredricks, but I am not so sure about that. That was something I inferred from one of the books I own. I assume it is, or at least a close relative of her. From what I got out of this is that Mary Fredericks died due to complications from the child birth and then the child died around 14 days later.This one is an interesting and sad story that I only realized while I was looking at this gravesite this last time I was there. I remembered the name Butler from a book I had in my backpack, so I did a quick check. It was definately him!Elijah Butler was a native of Wisconsin and served three years in the G Company of the Wisconsin 3rd Cavalry regiment.After the war he moved west to meet up with all his family. His relatives were living in Bodie and Aurora at this time. In early January of 1868, he left Bridgeport in pursuit of some of his oxen. He was found frozen to death about a mile or two away from Bodie. He was well liked by all the people of those towns, and was 25 years of age at his death. BTW, the engraving is just as hard to read there as it is in this picture. This is William Horner's grave. July 26, 1845-November 14, 1875. The name Horner is one I know of from that era, but I haven't tried too hard to find anything else on him.
Finally, another example of one of these.
I should note that guys like the Daly Gang, their victims, Lee Vining, and other persons of that era would have been buried around here. No one knows where though. BTW, I do not know if I have ever mentioned this before, but Lee Vining supposedly died when his gun when off in his pants. He could have been murdered, but it seems like it was an accidental discharge that made him bleed to death. In some ways, if you have ever been to the town of Lee Vining, that makes sense. ;)

Just as an aside, there is a tv movie called Roughing It (2002) that was very loosely based on Mark Twain's book. James Gardner plays an older Mark Twain as flash backs are use with another actor as Mark Twain. The funny thing in that movie is they have the younger Mark Twain arrive in this prarie type of area called "Lee Vining". No Mono Lake nearby. I got a laugh at of that when I saw it.

The book that mentions Elijah Butler and his relatives is mostly about Bodie, but did quote the short newspaper article and have a picture of him:

Wedertz, Frank. Bodie 1859-1900. (Bishop: Sierra Media, Inc., 1996)

One more blog on this cemetery and it will be time to wrap this one up.

R.I.P. Aurora (Youtube Version)

R.I.P. Aurora (Vimeo Version)