Tombstone Tuesday – February 15, 2022 – John C Densmore Jr.

John Densmore was the son of John and Clarissa(Blake) Densmore born in Canada the second of six children. He was born on November 8, 1839 in Darlington, Ontario, Canada. In the 1851 Ontario census, John is found with his parents he is listed as 13 years old.

John married Sarah L Reynolds was married to Sarah Louise Reynolds on June 15,1856 in Durham, Ontario. In the 1861 Ontario census, John and Sarah remain in Ontario. with their two oldest children, Elizabeth (1857) and William(1859). By September 12th 1861, John and Sarah had left Ontario and were now in Marine City Michigan where Sarah would give birth to George Elmer Densmore, the first of their children who were born in Michigan. John and Sarah had a daughter born in 1863, her name was Alice. She died in January of 1864.

John Densmore enlisted as a private in Company K , Michigan 11th Infantry Regiment in Jackson Michigan on February 25, 1865. He served with his company until September 16th when he was mustered out in Nashville Tennessee and returned home to Marine City, Michigan.

In the 1870 Federal Census, John and Sarah are living in Marine City Michigan. Directly across the river from Canada. They have six children; Elizabeth, William, George E (1861), Charles (1864), Effie Matilda1867, Norman(1869). John’s Occupation is listed as Laborer. John had been a carpenter in Ontario. By the 1880 Federal Census, John and Sarah are in China Township. John is farming. John and Sarah have seven children; William, George, Charles, Effie Matilda, Norman, Delbert(1871), Worthy(1873) . William and George E. are sailors. In the 1900 Federal Census, John and Sarah have one son living at home, Harvey was born in 1883. He is seventeen. They are once again living in Marine City, Michigan.

John Densmore died on February 15, 1906 of Addison Disease. He was first buried in small cemetery in Smith’s Creek, Michigan, a small farming settlement near Marine City and later moved to the Marine City Cemetery. This is an, as yet, unverified family story. The story goes that Sarah died twelve years after John and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City probably because by then, their son Charles (my Great Grandfather) was the sexton of the Woodlawn Cemetery. For a few years the Densmore men express concern that their parents were not buried together in the same cemetery. So Charles and several of the other Densmore men got into the liquor one night and after having a few too many decided that they needed to move their Father from the Cemetery at Smith’s Creek up to the Woodlawn Cemetery to be buried next to his wife. They decided that this was the night. The attached horses to the wagon and made their way to Smith’s Creek and dug up their father. They reburied him next to his wife in Marine City. He had a Military stone which they brought with and placed it on his grave. It was a long night when they finally completed the task as the sun was rising. In their haste they set the stone up backwards.

In an effort to investigate this story, I called Smith’s Cemetery. They had no record of his burial in their cemetery. They said they had a fire in the township office and all the records were destroyed. They stated that if the Michigan State Burial record indicated that he was buried in Smiths Cemetery than he probably was but they have no way to prove it. Now the township just goes by the accuracy of tombstones transcriptions for burial information prior fire in the township office. They have records for those burials after the fire. It is an actively used cemetery.

The Michigan Burial record indicates that he was buried in Smiths Creek. I have searched for records of who ordered the Veteran’s Stone. I have not found the order so far. I called Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City and asked if John Densmore was buried in their cemetery and was told that they had no record of him being buried there. He clearly is. I found his stone. Charles Densmore ironically remained the sexton of the Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City until his death in 1943.

So I will keep trying to solve this family legend. It looks like it could be accurate. I’ll keep you posted.

Rest is peace John!

Love, Jan

John Densmore is my 2X Great Grandfather on my maternal side of my family.

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