REMEMBER THE CHILDREN!
When William F. Cody's 5-year old son, Kit died in April 1876, the family bought a plot at Mount Hope, near their home in Rochester, NY.
The grieving parents sought relief and Buffalo Bill fostered 7-year-old Lewis H. "Johnny" Baker, who he met at a performance in Nebraska the next year. They hit it off and Bill groomed Johnny to became a star of the Wild West, with a 40-year career with the show!
In 1883, their 11-year-old Orra Maude died and her parents returned to Mount Hope to bury her beside little Kit in Range 2, Lot 215.
But it wasn't over, in 1904 their eldest daughter, 38-year-old Arta Lucille died suddenly as a result of diagnostic surgery, a month after her marriage to Dr. Charles W. Thorp, leaving two orphans from her first marriage. Now, three of the four Cody children had passed.
During his last trip to Rochester in 1929, Johnny Baker laid Christmas wreaths on his benefactor's children's graves, just as he'd seen his adoptive father always do. Johnny died in 1931 and is buried nearby.
Mount Hope Cemetery has over 350,000 graves. Many of the powerful and famous of their day, such Americans as the Eastmans, Bausch and Lomb, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, lie there under perpetual care. But Mount Hope has no budget for individual gravestones, only the grounds. Acid rain falls and washing away the inscriptions, leaves blank lumps of mute cold stone.
You may be facing similiar challenges today, in caring for the gravestones of your loved ones. Acid rain and lack of funding threaten graveyards across the nation. Its hard not to feel a sense of panic when returning to a favorite site, only to find vandalism and neglect have stolen a precious memory. "A Graveyard Preservation Primer" can help you understand what needs to be done.
Now the ICFA takes pride that we can chemically preserve the gravestones of Buffalo Bill's children. Pollution is eating away these once everlasting memorials of Buffalo Bill's love of children and we are working to save them. For Kit, his sisters, Orra and Arta, and Johnny too!
Be sure to visit the Buffalo Bill Ephemera Gallery on his Facebook page!
Mount Hope is a beautiful place any time of year, when you're in Rochester, stop by and pay your respects.
Please join the Executive Board in remembering Buffalo Bill and fund this preservtion by making a donation now. We need only $250 to do this, so a ten, a twenty, any amount is appreciated.
As of December 28, we raised $175! Here's a salute to this year's donors, thank you for your generosity!