Saturday, April 25, 2020

A Tragic Reunion - The Fatal Flight of Russell Higby

Love is a wonderful thing. In fact, most people never really get to experience true love in their lifetime. So, when one does find their "soulmate," it isn't hard to imagine how difficult it would be and what lengths one would go, if they suddenly lost that person. Think about it, when you are in love, you feel like you will have the rest of your life with that person, to love and protect them.

I am a very romantic person, always believing in love at first sight and of course, true love. So, when I learned the tragic story of the Higby family, I was moved by the intense love Russell had for Beverly. If you believe that losing the love of your life could make you do drastic and irrational things, then you might just understand the sadness that fell on Russell Higby's shoulders that fateful day on July 25, 1949.

Before I get to the tragedy, let's talk about the happier part of the story first.

1943 Yearbook, Stockton High School
Russell Higby, Jr. was born on May 26, 1925 in San Joaquin County. Beverly Janet Hodgins was born on October 7, 1926 in San Joaquin County as well. Having grown up in the same town, and having went to school together, naturally the two fell in love in high school and on June 10, 1945 the pair were wed at St. John's Episcopal Church on N. Eldorado Street in Stockton.

During WWII, Russell worked as an ambulance driver, and when he got home he was listed as working as a Farmer. According to the Stockton Record, he went to work for his family's produce company which kept him traveling between Stockton and Bakersfield. By 1949, it seemed that Russell had it all: a beautiful wife, a four year old daughter, and a new baby on the way.

Sadly, tragedy struck on April 1, 1949, when Beverly died during childbirth. She was buried in Block 13 at Stockton Rural Cemetery.  Russell was devastated, and attempting to pick up the pieces of his broken heart, he moved back in with his parents so they could help him raise his two daughters. According to the newspaper, his parents later confirmed that Russell had been "very despondent" since his wife had passed away.

Beverly  Hodgins, 1945 Stockton High Yearbook.

Just shy of four months after the death of his beloved wife, Russell did the unthinkable. He went up to the North Stockton airfield (which after further research I believe was Oranges Airfield once located 1 mile north of Hammer Lane, just east of Lower Sacramento Road), and took off in his father's Cessna airplane. I am sure in the beginning, no one thought anything of it, as he had been seen routinely flying his father's plane before. But that day was different. Russell Higby was distraught and it was a one-way flight, with no plan on returning.

That's when he started making a scene with his flying way too close to buildings in Stockton, buzzing above right at tree level, flying under the telephone wires - ultimately scaring everyone half to death in the process. Hundreds of people were phoning the authorities to let them know, and sure enough this chain of events would prove to make headlines.

According to an interview that Russell's youngest daughter gave to the Record back in 2010, her father did a "berserk power dive at their Orange Street home," with him flying so low to the house that her grandmother (Russell's mother) could "see the beautiful blue of his eyes," as he flew by.

Her grandfather tried to chase him down in his Packard, racing up to the airstrip, trying to flag him down with his arms to tell him to go back to the strip and land. Even Sheriff Carlos Sousa had deputies at the airstrip waiting to arrest him. Russell had other plans, and he swooped down, flying beside his father's car and "tipped his wings goodbye, and then he flew up." One can only imagine the horror that his father felt knowing there was no way he could stop his son, and dreading what action he was to make next.

As all sad love stories go, this one would not be an exception. Just like the tale of Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet and many, many more...Russell Higby's undying affection for his beloved was so strong that he could not go on without her. In the final act of love for his soulmate, Russell Higby made two power dives while flying around the cemetery, but on the second dive (which witnesses claimed was a 2,000 foot drop straight down) he flew his father's plane into the spot where his wife was buried inside the grounds of Stockton Rural Cemetery, sealing his fate to be eternally reunited with his bride.

The newspapers reported that the wreckage was scattered over a 1,500 foot area, with Russell's body being thrown a good 30 feet from where the plane actually hit. Parts of the plane were even found as far as the roof of the mausoleum, which is located at the entrance of the cemetery grounds (the Higby plot is near the office which is in the middle of the cemetery).

In the end, Russell Higby ended his life in the spot where he felt his life had truly ended, the place where his beautiful wife had been laid to rest. Some people might read this story and think he had lost his mind, and maybe in a way he did. But could you blame him? Call me the romantic, but I think that he just couldn't live without her.  I think it's so very heartbreaking but I myself can understand. I wouldn't want to go on in this world without the person I love either.

So if you ever plan to visit the Higby plot at Stockton Rural Cemetery, please remember the intense love they shared. One so very strong, that the ties that bound them together were not severed in death, but instead drew one to the other even stronger. May Russell and Beverly rest in peace, together forever.

(Copyright 2020 - J'aime Rubio

Some sources:
1943 & 1945 Stockton High School Yearbooks c/o Roland Boulware
Stockton Record, July 26, 1949
Stockton Record  September 26, 2010
Snippets of news articles (Associated Press)
Family Search
Photo of grave property of J'aime Rubio

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Undying Affection - The Love Story of J.D. & Emmaline Peters

Since the very first time visiting Stockton Rural Cemetery with my best friend (whom I also happen to be engaged to), I have always been enamored by the monument for Emmaline Peters. After Roland showed it to me the very first time, I have always felt a closeness and a connection to this plot, and I have always admired the detail and obvious thought put into erecting such an elaborate and beautiful monument.

Then came the curiosity. How did she die? Where did she die? And then even more so, how sad for the husband. The broken heart, the pain, the sorrow...and then, where was the husband buried? Since he wasn't buried within Emmaline's plot. So many questions and so very little answers.

Well, as most of us are, we get busy with life and even when we plan to look into something that interests us, sometimes we get caught up in the day to day stuff and forget. Well, it took revisiting one of my favorite cemeteries recently to resurrect that eagerness to tell Emmaline's story.

Emmaline Taylor was born on February 9, 1839, in New York. By the time the Gold Rush had began, her family had traveled up to California and started a hotel in Columbia, California.  It appears that her father may have passed away by the time we get to this particular part of the story, as by this time her mother, only referred to as Mrs. Taylor, was running the hotel with her two daughters, Emmaline and Zuba Taylor.

According to the History of San Joaquin County, authored by George Henry Tinkham, he allows Ernest J. Hopkins to tell his recollection of how J.D. Peters found his bride.  Enjoy!

“First of the teamsters’ tales is the story of how J.D. Peters won his bride. Be it remembered that the problem of getting a wife in those days was a costly one. It costs $2,000 for a man to leave his business, go east and return with the lady of his heart. One of the hotels in Columbia, a favorite hotel of the teamsters was kept by a Mrs. Taylor, a refined and charming woman, who had two pretty daughters, Emmaline and Zuba Taylor.  

One day in the ‘50s a new team drew up at the watering trough, and the young man who swung the blacksnake was merry and likeable. He had left his native Genoa and landed in America under a vow that he would never work for any man. He had struck a little gold and this team was his first step towards fortune. This young man, J.D. Peters, tied up and went inside for his meal. He was served by the charming Emmaline herself. Peters’ fate was sealed. But soon his eyes took on a weary look. He was a poor man, and this young lady had said, “I’ll never be a poor man’s bride.”

“Now the teamsters were a jolly lot, with more than usual brotherhood. They sized up the situation and laid their plans to help. Two fancy teams with bright steel trappings and gaudily painted wagons met one noon at the eating house, the drivers entered together to be greeted by Miss Emmaline. And one driver said to the other, ‘Who are you driving for now, Bill?’    ‘Oh, I’m driving for Peters.’    ‘Why, I’m driving for Peters, too,’ replied the other. ‘He’s a fine fellow to work for.’

Emmaline listened with interest. Every day after that new names were added to the army of men who were working for Peters. Then signs began to appear hung on the sides of wagons where all might read.  J.D.P., J.D. Peters,  J.D. Peters & Co. The legend grew and grew – a colossal joke spreading over the whole Stockton-Sonora district.

Wherever the young lady walked or rode on horseback she would come across that sign, J.D. Peters, or be greeted by pleasant-faced fellows who straightway praised their boss. ‘When I came to America, I swore I would never work for another man’, he told her at evening at they sat on the porch of the hostelry, ‘And I’m keeping my promise.’  What girl could resist?”

History proves that Emmaline could not for she and J.D. Peters were married at Columbia in 1858, and a jovial crowd of teamsters attended the wedding and made Rome howl far into the night. Later she learned the joke, but Peters was then making big money and she had no cause for complaint.

Mrs. Peters died in April, 1874, and to her memory her husband erected an ornamental markble block, surmounted by a life-sized figure, the features resembling the deceased. Imported from Italy it was of pure marble, personifying Hope, a work of art costing $1,000.”

After the marriage, the couple went on to have one daughter,  Mary Emma Peters who was born on March 27, 1864, but I have found no other records of any other children being born. Emmaline passed away on April 29, 1874, and this beautiful monument was erected in her honor, out of love and loss, and one that is said to resemble the likeness of Emmaline herself, is all that is left to remember Emmaline by.  I have searched and searched but have failed to come up with anything explaining Emmaline's death. Did she die from illness? Complications from childbirth? So many unanswered questions.

I did find that her husband, Joseph D. Peters, remarried to Anna Foreman and they are both buried at the Catholic Cemetery together just next door to Stockton Rural. Hopefully sometime in the future I will be able to add that to this blog. But until then, I hope you have enjoyed this short story raised from the depths of the forgotten archives, giving light to the love story of Joseph D. Peters and his beloved, Emmaline. ----

(Copyright 2019 - J'aime Rubio. All Rights Reserved.
Photos copyright of J'aime Rubio. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Brutal Slaying Remembered

While strolling along the perimeter of Stockton Rural Cemetery, you might notice the elaborate crypts and monuments placed amidst the meager and modest graves. Like everyone rich or poor, famous or not, we all have a story to tell and we all deserve to be remembered. Some stories are more tragic and far more disturbing than others, but again, they didn't choose the way in which they passed no more than we will when our time comes. And just because a death is more shocking or uncomfortable to read or hear about than others, does not mean their story is any less important or shouldn't be shared for fear of upsetting someone's sensibilities.

In this case, we have the story of Geraldine Ortega who was born on August 25, 1946 in San Joaquin County. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Copeland, and she more than likely attended high school in Stockton. At the age of 20, Geraldine married a slightly older man named Daniel Ortega, Jr. on August 31, 1966.  Very shortly after exchanging their nuptials, Geraldine became pregnant with their second child, Teresa. The marriage would prove to be one filled with domestic violence and after 15 months, Geraldine fled from her husband to live with her grandmother, Elva Copeland at 1734 Rhode Island Avenue in Stockton, California.  She had only been living with her for about two weeks before the tragedy struck.

It seems Daniel was not about to let his family leave so easily. Geraldine had been receiving the worst threats from her estranged husband just one week before Halloween, but she had no idea how real the threat was. Just a week later, On November 1, Daniel showed up at Elva Copeland's house and started a physical assault on Geraldine. At some point her grandmother, Elva attempted to intercede to stop him, but that was when the brutal crime began.

During the struggle Daniel took a meat cleaver and physically attacked both Elva and Geraldine, fatally wounding both women. The details of the crime were too gruesome (and in bad taste) for me to describe, so I will just leave you with the fact that he butchered these poor ladies, all the while Geraldine's two infant daughters were in the home, possibly witnessing the act. After Daniel had committed the murders, he threw the murder weapons (meat cleaver and hunting knife) on the rooftop of a nearby building and many hours later, he eventually called the authorities the morning of November 2 and turned himself in.

"Dual Suspect Cries 'I Am Guilty!'
Daniel R. Ortega, 25, of Stockton, who was arraigned in Municipal Court yesterday for the murder of his wife and her grandmother, admitted the slayings during his court appearance. Ortega was booked at the county jail early Friday morning for the murder of Mrs. Geraldine Ortega, 21, and her grandmother, Mrs. Elva Copeland, 80, of 1734 Rhode Island Street in East Stockton.

The suspect reported the murders to Sheriff's deputies Thursday afternoon and subsequent investigation led to his arrest. Officers said the murders occurred several hours earlier. The two women had been hacked to death with a meat clever. Officers said the slaying apparently climaxed a domestic quarrel.

Ortega cried out in court yesterday, "I did it, I am guilty."  His arraignment was continued to Tuesday, November 7 at 2 p.m." -- Lodi News Sentinel  (November 4, 1967) ---

Such a sad and terrible end to two precious souls, who lost their lives far too soon and in such a horrific way.

Elva was laid to rest at Burwood Cemetery in Escalon, California, while Geraldine was buried at Stockton Rural Cemetery in Block 19. Her simple concrete marker lays neatly in a row with others who have passed before or after her, and just like them, she had her own unique story to tell.

I visited Geraldine today and took photos of her grave for her granddaughter, and she was kind enough to give me permission to share the photos and her story with all of you. Since Geraldine's story has been forgotten for so long, I felt the need to share it with you, so she will be forgotten no more.--

Thank you Heather Benfield for reaching out to me! May your grandmother and great-great grandmother rest in peace, always.

(Copyright 2018 - J'aime Rubio, All Rights Reserved)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Murder of Judge Belt

Newsclipping of the time- Sac Daily Union, June 4, 1869

The Stockton Independent, dated June 4, 1869, relayed the story as follows:

“The Late Homicide In Stockton”

“Shortly after twelve o’clock yesterday, Judge George Belt, of Merced county, was shot and killed by William Dennis, of this city, on Center Street, in front of J.A. Jackson & Co.’s office. The tidings of the tragedy soon spread extensively throughout the city, and but a short time elapsed after the sad affair transpired before a large crowd had assembled at the scene of the homicide, every one manifesting eagerness to see the body and ascertain, if possible the cause of the shooting. Various rumors prevailed in regards to the matter, all showing that an old and bitter enmity had existed between the parties for years. As the case will undergo a rigid legal investigation, and not desiring in any manner whatever to bias public sentiment in regard to it, we refrain from giving any of the vague and unauthenticated rumors prevailing, but await the testimony of those cognizant of the facts in the matter.

Coroner Bond soon arrived at the scene and took charge of the remains of Judge Belt. The Coroner, in removing the hand of the deceased from his coat pocket, found firmly held in its grasp a loaded derringer pistol. On the body was a bowie-knife, apparently new, and a new scabbard (dagger). Dennis, it is stated, fired the fatal ball from a revolving pistol. The ball entered about two inches under the deceased’s left ear, severed the spinal column, ranged up-ward, and is supposed to have lodged in the brain. The remains were removed to the office of the Coroner, on Weber Avenue, and the following jury of inquest summoned and sworn: C.G. Hubner, E.R. Dagget, J.B. Sears, Patrick Tye, Benjamin Chadsey, and M. Stoll. After examining the body, further investigation was postponed until this morning at ten o’clock, when witnesses will be examined.

Deceased was an old pioneer. He was the first merchant that settled and established a store in Stockton, having arrived in 1848, and located his store on the corner of El Dorado and Levee Streets, there occupying two lots given to him by Captain Weber. Dennis has been a resident of this city for many years, and is an extensive property holder. Dennis was arrested by Chief of Police Fletcher, and placed in jail.”—-

The following news article gives a little bit more information about the incident, although it appears some of the statements contradict the first article:

“About twenty minutes past twelve o’clock this afternoon Stockton was the scene of one of the most horrible homicides (murders would perhaps be a better name) that ever occurred in any civilized community. At the time specified above, George Belt, an old, wellknown and highly respected citizen of Merced County, was shot dead by William Dennis, of this city, in front of the office of J.A. Jackson & Co., on Centery Street.

Without any warning, but in deliberate cold blood, the deceased was sent into the presence of his Maker. For a number of years—dating back at least as far as 1863—- the parties to this tragedy have been engaged in a legal feud involving the right of certain property. A bitter enmity had consequently sprung up between them, and for years no kind word, if any at all, had passed, and for the last three or four years we doubt if they had exchanged a word of any kind. Thus matters have stood.

Last evening, Judge Belt arrived in Stockton, for the purpose of attending to some business. Today, until the moment of his murder, he was about the streets attending to that business and conversing with friends, of whom he had many. About twenty minutes past twelve, he left the office of Jackson in company with that gentleman and McFarlane of Merced, and when just reaching the edge of the sidewalk, preparatory to crossing the street, Dennis approached him from behind, drew a revolver and deliberately shot him.

The unfortunate man did not know that the assassin was near him, and had no opportunity to defend himself. He fell immediately and expired without a struggle. The ball entered about an inch below the left ear, passed through the spinal column and come out on the other side. Dennis immediately gave himself up to the authorities and was taken to jail.”—- Sacramento Daily Union, June 5, 1869

So just who were Judge Belt and William Dennis? 

Hon. George Gordon Belt
Born: September 25, 1825
Died: June 3, 1869

Born in Beltsville, Maryland, George came to California with the Stevenson Regiment at Monterey, later arriving in Stockton around 1849, where he opened up a tent store. At just 24 years of age he was appointed as the first Alcalde (Chief Officer and Judge) of Stockton under the former rule of Mexico. He also was appointed as a licensed trader at the Merced Indian Reservation. He was the one who established the city government in Stockton in 1850. Later on, he was affiliated with the Mason Henry Gang.

William Dennis
Born: April 18, 1809
Died: January 22, 1874

Native of New Jersey, William Dennis was infamously known as the man who shot Judge George Belt and killed him in June of 1869. His infamy seemed to overshadow any sort of reputation he had in Stockton, prior to this incident. It was known that Dennis owned a lot of property within the city, but little else is mentioned. After Belt’s murder, Dennis was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by Judge Cavis of the Fifth District Court.

In Conclusion

The strangest thing I found while researching this story was documentation that claimed Dennis was sentenced to prison for the murder, but died before his term was up. I didn’t think to question it at first, given the fact he did die in 1874; However, according to the Sacramento Daily Union dated November 27, 1869, Judge Crockett released Dennis on a $15,000 bail AFTER he had already been sentenced to 10 years by Judge Cavis.

So apparently, Dennis literally got away with murder. Did he have some friends in high places? It really makes you wonder. When he died in 1874, he was buried in Block 12 of Stockton Rural Cemetery, not too far from his victim, Hon. George Belt, who is buried in Block 11. Now these two enemies are stuck with each other, for eternity. Funny how that worked out, huh?

(Copyright 2018 -J'aime Rubio -

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Stockton's Very Own Texas Ranger

McMullin Monument at Stockton Rural Cemetery

John McMullin
Born: June 27, 1824
Died: November 13, 1868

One of the most majestic looking monuments in all of Stockton Rural Cemetery is in the McMullin plot. John McMullin was born in Baltimore, Maryland the summer of 1827, and by the age of fifteen he had ran away to Texas to join a militia known as the “rangers.”

John McMullin
Upon arriving, McMullin met someone who would turn out to be one of his two best friends in his life, his commander, John Coffee Hayes, one of the men who inspired the Lone Ranger, and Zane Grey’s novel “The Lone Star Ranger.” These rangers weren’t just any militia, they would soon be known as the “Texas Rangers.”

Said to have rode horses better than even the Comanche (which was considered a compliment), McMullin even won a riding match between the Texas Rangers, Commanche warriors and Mexican rancheros.

By 1845,  McMullin was second in command of a company of Texas Rangers led by Ben McCulloch, a former neighbor of the one and only Davy Crockett. He had went to Texas along with his brother, following Crockett who had left earlier on. The many stories of their adventures during this time period is the stuff movies and fantastic novels are made of, and hopefully in the near future I can share more of McMullin’s life with the world.

At some point during the war with Mexico, McMullin met David S. Terry, who had come down to fight alongside the Texas Rangers. The two became close friends and remained so for the rest of their lives. In 1849, the both of them came to California together.  McMullin went from prospecting, to becoming a cattle rancher, and later to breeding horses. He was one of the first people to organize the State Fair, and he helped found the San Joaquin District Agricultural Society.

In 1856, while David Terry was facing problems with the San Francisco Vigilantes, McMullin stayed by his friends side and defended his character on many instances. And when Terry was facing assault charges for beating up the editor of a newspaper that ran a slanderous story about Terry, McMullin was honest about the affair, again defending Terry’s character,  but at the same time not shielding him from consequences of his actions. In the end Terry was only fined $300 for the altercation.

In 1857, McMullin married Eliza Fleming Morgan in Kentucky. He brought her home to California shortly thereafter, purchasing for her a beautiful home on California Street in San Francisco. They went on to have nine children during their marriage.

The family spent their time between San Francisco and San Joaquin County where the ranches were. During his time in San Joaquin County, McMullin built up a 28,000 acre ranch, and also many commercial properties, including a two-story brick structure that once sat on the southeast corner of Main and El Dorado Streets. According to Glenn Kennedy’s research, McMullin also built Stockton’s very first theater.

Unfortunately, Stockton never had a chance to see what other good things McMullin could have accomplished because his life was cut short at the young age of 44. According to his obituary he passed away on November 13, 1868, after suffering with typhoid for only a few days.

The day of his funeral, it was reported that it was the largest procession the city of Stockton had ever seen. With over a hundred carriages following the hearse to the rural cemetery, one can only imagine it was a sight to see. Interestingly, John McMullin had purchased his family plot just across from his best friend David S. Terry. That was actually quite common back then. To the end, McMullin, Terry and John Coffee Hays* remained friends, and two of  the three are resting at the cemetery just across the path from one another.

John McMullin's life is so interesting and detailed that it would take a book to really explain how amazing his adventures were, especially given the fact he lived a relatively short life. I hope to focus more time in the future to tell his story, and go even more in depth, so that others can enjoy learning about this amazing man buried at Stockton Rural Cemetery.

(Copyright 2018- J'aime Rubio,

(* John Coffee Hays is buried in a humble grave at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland).

History of San Joaquin County, George Henry Tinkham
Lone Star Ranger, Zane Grey
Colonel Jack Hays, James K. Greer
Trial of David S. Terry by the Committee of Vigilance, Charles L. Case
Remembered Men in Stockton Rural Cemetery, Glenn A. Kennedy (San Joaquin Historian, 1968)
Tales of Frontier Texas, 1830-1860, John C. Duval

Early History of Stockton's Cemeteries

(Copyright - J'aime Rubio)

Early History of Stockton’s Cemeteries

According to “The History of Stockton” by George Henry Tinkham, Captain Weber deeded the land for the cemetery to "rural associates" who then brought in plants and trees to make the cemetery more like a park. When Captain Weber was still alive, he was often seen there in the cemetery spending a lot of his time working on the grounds. In his older years, he was more reserved and spent a lot of time gardening and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the cemetery as well as other gardens.

“The Illustrated History of San Joaquin County” states the very first cemetery in Stockton was located on Channel Street near San Joaquin Street, and later a second one (Citizen’s Cemetery) was started near Weber and Union Streets. Apparently, there was no fence surrounding the grounds, so livestock would run rampant through the cemetery, as well as vandals defacing the monuments and stealing vases. Because of this, that cemetery was also closed.

When the rural cemetery was finally planned, a huge parcel northeast of town is what was chosen. That land belonged to E.M. Howison, Captain Weber’s former clerk. It was after the city appointed six trustees to plan a newer cemetery, that Weber and the trustees purchased the seventy-five acres from Howison together to establish the rural cemetery. Weber paid $1,000.00, while the trustees appropriated the remaining $1,700.00, making the total cost for the land, $2,700.00.

Mr. Lowe was the very first landscape gardener for the cemetery. The land was broken down into 1,500 lots, both large and small, along with roadways, plots and lots of trees and bushes. The cemetery was established in 1861, and remains one of the only privately owned cemeteries in California operating under the State Act of 1859.

(Copyright 2018 - J'aime Rubio,

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Honoring the Kennedy's

Brothers Glenn, Maurice and Roy Kennedy were born at the turn of the Century in Stockton, California, to parents Ernest Walter Kennedy and Avah May Jones Kennedy.  Growing up in Stockton during it’s infancy, and watching it sprout up into this huge city over the years must have made a huge impact on this family, because it was the history of Stockton and its early pioneers that led to them getting
involved in the Rural Cemetery.

Anyone who is truly knowledgeable about Stockton Rural’s history, will always mention the Kennedy’s at some point while speaking about the cemetery itself. The Kennedy’s were the life blood of the cemetery for decades upon decades. Had it not been for this passionate family of history lovers, much of what is preserved today regarding those buried within these gates would be forever lost.

Maurice Kennedy and his wife, Marietta, both worked at the cemetery together. Maurice was the cemetery’s superintendent and general manager, while Marietta worked as the secretary for over 20 years until her retirement. Glenn Kennedy, brother to Maurice, was the biggest history lover of them all, and he not only worked as secretary and treasurer to the cemetery for many years, but he devoted his life to researching the history of everyone buried within these hallowed grounds.

Glenn Kennedy spent years researching, compiling, writing and publishing small books dedicated to honoring the dead at Stockton Rural, by telling their stories in great detail. He would often donate his published works to the local elementary schools to encourage the children to learn more about Stockton history and those who made history in Stockton. His lifelong work is remembered with every story that has been resurrected from the past and put to paper by way of his hand.

According to all the records I could find, it does not appear that Glenn ever married, but instead was married to his work as a local historian. On November 30, 1994, at the age of 94 years, Glenn Kennedy passed away. His obituary found in the Stockton Record stated that at his request there was no funeral or memorial service. His accomplishments were not given a mention either. 

The fact that he requested there be no funeral or services for him shows he must have been a very humble person, and not one to toot his own horn. That is very telling on the part of his personality. Although he strove to bring back the stories of the forgotten ones at Stockton Rural, digging through archives, books and every record he could get his hands on to make sure none of these pioneers were forgotten, Glenn was uninterested at leaving his own personal legacy.   

No other person had such dedication to this cemetery, and I doubt there will ever be anyone with such devotion there again. Those who roam the winding paths of this property, taking photos, reading headstones and even researching the stories within, will never understand the depths of loyalty and love he shared for this place. Sadly, when Glenn passed away, his legacy was swept aside and nearly forgotten.

I have vowed that as long as I am researching the stories hidden here, and as long as I am walking these grounds, I won’t let Glenn Kennedy be forgotten. I will always keep Glenn Kennedy’s legacy alive by speaking about him and all the work he did here so that his lifelong passion and dedicated research will have not been in vain, because I feel that just like he wanted to make sure everyone was remembered here, now I want to do the same for him.  

To the original keeper of the forgotten ones, you will not be forgotten either.
  Rest in peace dear Glenn.

P.S. Thank you to Roland Boulware, a long time Stockton Rural Cemetery researcher who initially introduced me to both Glenn Kennedy's work as well as the cemetery itself. 

(Copyright 2018 - J'aime Rubio,
Photos by: Roland Boulware.