Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

I have a strange fascination for old cemeteries. Yesterday I visited Fairview Cemetary in the village of Naples, after enjoying ice-cream with my daughters at Bob and Ruth's. I thought about Memorial Day and took several pictures of graves that had flags marking the resting place of veterans.Some were too faded to read. After doing some homework, I figured out that this grave is actually the grave of an infant girl name Lillis Ann Oakley, who died at age 11 months. Thus the flag was put on the wrong grave. I also found out that little Lillis Ann's father (William) passed away less than a month earlier at age 39...making me wonder if there was some sort of sickness passed about. Her poor mother (Ann Oakley) and sister (Elizabeth) were left behind.
This photo is presented in honor of Captain Nathan Watkins who fought with the 12th Massachusetts Regiment during the Revolutionary War. Nathan Watkins was one of the first white settlers here in the area. He constructed the fourth house in the settlement of "Watkinstown," later called "Middletown" and finally renamed "Naples." The house was made of logs. He later constructed the first barn. You can read about it here if you'd like.
And this photo is in honor of Sgt. Jabez Metcalf who also fought during the Revolutionary War.
I found out that Jabez Metcalf may have been instrumental in naming the town of Naples. (I say "may have"...because any good librarian knows to check her sources for reliability before declaring anything as truth)

...the original name of Naples was MIDDLETOWN...and, it was changed to Naples in 1808....Jabez Metcalf ran a tavern in Naples. One frequent guest was a Duke from France who remarked that he loved the area because it reminded him so very much of Naples Italy, one of his favorite places. In that era there were six communities named Middletown. Consequently, when anyone said where they were from, they always had to explain which one. The folks grew tired of that and wanted something unique. They held a meeting and during the discussion, Jabez mentioned the Duke's comment. Middletown was changed to Naples.

He also helped erect the first saw mill in Naples.

If you like history: Find out more here.

It all started out to be simply photographs of old graves with flags on them. Then I Googled the names and found out so much more about them. I'm always fascinated by stories and history.

In any case: Thank you to all our veterans. We remember and appreciate you!


Katya said...

Wow, that's fabulous, Priscilla! I love reading stories about the people who settled areas as well.

One of the popular places for bikers seems to be Middletown Tavern. I knew about the name change and such, but not wh was detrimental in te renaming! Interesting, for sure.

Hard to believe a world traveler from France frequented the area!

Priscilla said...

Hey...I read it on the I'm not sure if it's really true. The story sounds interesting and cool though. might be true, who knows?

Martha said...

I had thought to make it to the cemetery this weekend, but it was not to be. I love the photo of the old gate and will have to return to read the old stories. Maybe one day you should take a ride with me to the old Brighton Cemetery.