1856 — Holgate’s Fairy Land: Gravestone, Inscription, and Notes
This stone was photographed in Lakeview Cemetery in Seattle, Washington, in February, 2014.
The Transcribed Inscription
Abraham Levering Holgate, son of Cornelius and Mary Levering Holgate, born March 1, 1791, in Roxboro, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. United in marriage to Elizabeth Jones, March 1818 in Pittsburgh PA. Died at the age of 56 in Winchester County, Iowa, November 8 1847.
A true disciple of Jesus, in whom was no guile.
Milton Gilbert Holgate, son of Abraham Levering & Elizabeth Jones Holgate, born April 8 1840 in Winchester, Van Buren County, Iowa. Fell on the morning of January 26 1856, during the attack on Seattle by Indians.
Brave in life, heroic in death.
Deacon Lemuel J. Holgate, born in Trenton Ohio, October 19 1834, died October 22, 1892.
Notes About Research & Invention
This stone is square in cross-section and has inscriptions on multiple sides. The Holgate family made a series of westward movements. Abraham Holgate and his wife and children and grandchildren were 19th century American ‘settlers’ who sought better lives for themselves by going west and establishing homesteads in ‘new’ territories.
Abraham Holgate moved his family from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and then to Iowa, where he died. His sons named on this stone, Milton Gilbert Holgate and Lemuel J. Holgate, traveled west from Iowa on the Oregon Trail with a large group of relatives and friends.
That band of Iowans was inspired to go further west to establish homesteads near the Duwamish River by letters of encouragement sent by another of Abraham Holgate’s sons: John Cornelius Holgate.
Abraham Holgate’s daughter, Abby, the storyteller, had married a man named Hanford, and was a mother when she joined the wagon train coming west from Iowa. Her son, Cornelius H. Hanford, was raised in Washington State. He became an attorney and eventually was appointed to be a judge. He wrote an essay including a description of the family’s history published in the 1911-1912 edition of Annals of Iowa. Mr. Hanford’s descriptions of his mother, her storytelling talent and its influence on his uncle John Cornelius, and their family’s dynamics, provided information used here.
It isn’t clear how long John Cornelius Holgate stayed in the Seattle area after his little brother, Milton, was killed, but he eventually joined a gold rush in Idaho and died there — shot in a gunfight over mine ownership.
The backdrop of the illustration is a night photograph of a street in Seattle, near the scene of the battle, a place transformed into the center of a major city, not preserved as a cluster of cabins. Information about the Duwamish people, early residents of Seattle, this battle, and related events can be found in multiple sources.
Susan Marie Brown, © 2014