Monday, January 23, 2012

Motivation Monday - Follow Up Visits to Pine Hill Cemetery and Brockton

There were two things I planned to do today - visit Pine Hill Cemetery in West Bridgewater and Brockton Public Library, 

I've been wanting to visit Pine Hill Cemetery for the past couple weeks after discovering that there are a few more family members of mine buried there. Once I got there, I spoke with a woman at the cemetery office who gave me the section and plot numbers of the graves I was looking for along with a free map of the cemetery. After this, I was able to find the graves I was looking for quite easily. However, these past few days, Massachusetts has received quite a few inches of snow. And although it didn't snow today, the clouds in the sky combined with the snow left on the ground did make it difficult to get decent pictures. So I need to go back at some point when the sun is out and take new photos. 

One surprising thing that happened while at the cemetery was that I located the grave of John A. McRae. John was the son of Walter L. McRae and Laura Belle Spaulding. I knew John had died before Walter (Walter died in 1966; John is not listed as a survivor in his obituary). I called Pine Hill Cemetery the other week and asked if John happened to be buried there. They checked and told me he wasn't. And that was that.

So today, as the woman was going through the files, she pulled out the card that listed all the McRae's buried in Pine Hill. I glanced at it and noticed Walter's name, Laura's name, and two others. One was a female named Gracie whom I have never heard of. And the other was of a John Alton McRae. Curious, I asked her if John was buried with Walter and Laura. She looked it over and told me he was! So much for him not being buried there. . . 

Following my trip to the cemetery, I went to Brockton Public Library so that I could search through some newspaper articles and look through the Brockton Poll Taxes once more. On my top list of priorities was finding John's obituary (I now had a death date), the obituary of his niece, Cheryl Scibetta, and some "In This City" articles (articles that tell of the activities of Brockton residents). 

But when I got there, I started out looking through the poll taxes and got so wrapped up in them that I didn't have time to find search through the newspapers. 

I have been trying to figure out more about the marriage between my great-grandparents, Fred J. McRae and Maude Monroe, and when my great-grandmother would have been committed. I had a breakthrough today thanks to the poll taxes. 

I found out that in 1923, my great-grandparents, Fred McRae and Maude Monroe, were living at 136 Myrtle Street, Brockton, Massachusetts. But in the 1924 Poll Taxes, Maude disappeared. She was no longer living with Fred and wasn't listed as living with her parents either so I can only guess that some time between 1923 and 1924, she was committed. Maude shows up again in the Poll Taxes for 1940. It lists her living with her parents and half-brother and her occupation is listed as "At Home". It said she had been living with them in 1939 too but she didn't actually appear in the 1939 Poll Taxes. So based on evidence, Maude was released between 1939 and 1940, meaning she was institutionalized for about sixteen years. 

I also discovered that Maude's father, Harvey, was a restaurant proprietor. I'm not sure how long the restaurant lasted but I'm very interested in finding more information about it (such as a name, for starters). 

The other thing I'm interested in finding more about is the death place of my great-great grandfather, James R. McRae. His death certificate (he died in Brockton on March 5, 1910) lists his death place as "City Farm". When I first read it, I simply assumed it meant he owned a farm in the city. But I've heard recently that a city farm was a type of jail for people with debts and such. I want to look more into it and figure out what exactly a city farm was and why James would have been in it.


  1. Did Gracie die 11 Dec 1880?

  2. I have her on my tree as the daughter of James Mcrae and his first wife Catherine Morrison. She is on the 1880 census with them in Brocton MA.

    1. I have the same census. That's how I found out about James' other children.