Tombstone Tuesday: Power of the Unexpected

 On Sunday, May 20th, I arrived in Columbus, Ohio too late to meet up with my aunt and cousin for a concert. But I had an hour before they'd be able to greet me. With an hour to myself, I decided to head over to Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. I decided I would randomly select one of the many sections that I had planned visiting on Monday for a 'dry run' of photographing cemeteries. I was little prepared for what would happen next.

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
I selected Section 82

Of all the places to select, I randomly selected section 82. Why? I really don't know. However, it could have been a prompting or just lucky chance. In any case, I made my way over to section 82. I parked the car and then looked at my spread sheet to see who the lucky relative I would visit. Would it be someone closely related? Would it be a distant relative?

As chance would have it, it was my great-grand father George Joseph GEISZLER's plot. Wow! I've been to George's son Robert Paul GEISZLER, Sr's plot before. George's son is my grandfather. Now I was standing in front of great-grandpa. The very great-grandpa I didn't realize was buried here until I started preparing for this trip. I've slap my forehead and said "ugh" many times while preparing for this trip for not realizing who else was buried in the same cemetery of my grandfather before now. Nevertheless, I was in Green Lawn armed with the names of ancestors. And on this Sunday afternoon, I was in the absolutely perfect plot.

George Joseph Geiszler; about 1948
Copy of original in my possession

This spot was perfect because I have pictures of Grandpa Geiszler with his son George Barton GEISZLER in the latter's military uniform. I have pictures of Grandpa George in his home playing games or just hanging out with his grandchildren (my father was one). I've been inside his home, though it was now his daughter Margie GEISZLER WASSON's home. To be here, of all the sections I could possibly have chosen at random was very emotional.

As I began the arduous task of reading a section map, I found great grandpa's stone. It was situated in a row of other stones set flush with the ground. Beside him was an unknown (to me) person on his left. On his right was the stone of his wife Evaline Townley PEAK. To Evaline's right was an open space. And just below their stones was a beautiful stone for their son Carl Richard GEISZLER. Before I touch on Carl's stone, I wanted to share about that space.

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Section 82 Lot 169
Owner: George Joseph Geiszler

Carl Richard's stone is the foreground center. His parents are
to the  left of the open space.

George and Evaline had a daughter in 1921 that they never named. She would have been their second child, and second daughter. However, the pregnancy came to a screeching halt at 7 months. I can't read the writing on the death certificate, but in 1921 an early deliver didn't usually end well. If I read the death certificate correctly, she only lived 10 minutes. Understandably, this girl never received a name and never received a headstone. However, she was buried on the Geiszler plot. Part of me likes to imagine that the space above Carl Richard's stone is for the little girl without a name. It might not be factual, but it's fun to speculate.

Now back to Carl Richard. Carl was born in 1925 but died shortly after his birthday in 1928. The family story says that Carl had gone with his family to visit a farm around Easter time. In those days, farmers would dye the feathers of baby chicks in pastel colors for the Easter celebration. The Geiszler family, of one girl and three boys ages eight to two enjoyed the visit. Upon returning to the family home, Carl got really sick. He got progressively worse until ultimately he died in the arms of his mother Evaline. Carl's older sister Margie thought he had an allergic reaction to the dye as it closed off his ability to breathe. Carl's death certificate attributed his death to influenza. Could allergies been diagnosed as influenza in 1928? Perhaps.

Knowing this story, I was again excited to be standing at George and Evaline's family plot. I felt I actually knew them. I can picture George and Evaline in their later years (as I have pictures). I couldn't picture Carl or the younger Evaline, as I had no picture. But an image of a sobbing 35 year-old mother, cradling her youngster feels real to me. Margie remembers Evaline rocking Carl in her arms as he died. There was no better place to start my research journey than at this set of stones.

Carl Richard Geiszler's tombstone
1925 - 1928
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

As I read Carl's inscription, the tears streamed down my face and my heart ached for my great-grandmother who had this experience 84 years ago. The doctors and medicinal knowledge of the day might have been inferior to give Carl's his life. God chose to receive the baby boy back at a tender age and leave his parents and siblings grieving. The inscription captures all that heart ache "Our Dear Little Boy."

It is possible that I was guided to this set of stones on Sunday, when I'd rather be in church, for a profound reason. My ancestors wanted to reach me and they did. My Journey to the Past was only just beginning. I couldn't have picked a more perfect place to start.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.


  1. Wow! What a wonderful story of discovery for you.

    But oh, those poor grieving parents. How tragic for them to lose their little boy and baby girl.

    1. I just wanted to let you know I’ve listed this post on my Fab Finds list for July 13, 2012 at

      Have a lovely weekend!



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