Friday, September 02, 2011

“P. C. Pardon”


c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(8-11)




Most residents of Geauga County are familiar with the story of Peter Chardon Brooks. This erstwhile landowner from Massachusetts provided the property for our county seat, and was eternally honored in the process.

When I first came to town in 1983, I was immediately transfixed by the mural depicting Brooks’ story at Godfrey’s. (This establishment is now known as the Maple Leaf Restaurant.)

Though that painting is long gone, the tale continues to inspire local citizens.

Rick Bissell’s “Pardon My Chardon” Internet blog proves the point irrefutably.
Recently, I read his report of visiting P. C. Brooks’ grave, and was inspired by the unique adventure he described.

What follows here is the story itself, offered with Rick’s kind permission:

The Final Resting Place of Peter Chardon Brooks (edit)

A few years ago, I wrote an article for this blog about Peter Chardon Brooks and the history behind Chardon’s name: "On the Naming of Chardon." I wanted to include some information in that article about Mr. Brooks’ final resting place, but unfortunately wasn’t able to find any information about it… I’ve always felt that the article was slightly incomplete because of that missing piece of the puzzle. Today, thanks to a recent family vacation, I have that information.

My wife and I visited Boston several years ago in conjunction with a trip to Connecticut to visit relatives. This year, we decided to return, with one of our daughters, and we decided to drive so that we could spend a day in Concord before continuing on to Boston.

I was planning our agenda, and it occurred to me that we might have an opportunity to learn some more about Peter Chardon Brooks on this trip – perhaps even find his grave, which I assumed must be somewhere in, or near, Boston. Once again, I searched the Internet for information about Mr. Brooks and found a Wikipedia article which didn't list his grave site. This time, I also found a listing on www.findagrave.com which indicated that he was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, in Medford, Massachusetts. I checked the map…we would be passing Medford on our way from Concord to Boston!

Having this piece of information, I went into full research mode. The findagrave site did not have a picture of his grave and did not show a map with its exact location, something we would need if we visited the cemetery. I searched the Internet for more information about Oak Grove Cemetery and found out that it is located adjacent to a noteworthy piece of property – The Brooks Estate! I discovered that the Brooks family has lived in Medford since the 17th century. You can read more about the estate here at www.brooksestate.org. I also found contact information for the cemetery on the Medord city website.

Having this, I sent emails off to the Brooks Estate and to the cemetery. The Brooks Estate did not return my email, which was very disappointing. I had better luck with the cemetery. The helpful proprietor replied to my email and confirmed that Mr. Brooks was indeed buried in the cemetery, and gave me the plot number. He said that I should be able to get a map at the office and find it pretty easily. I filed this information away for our trip.

After a pleasant day in Concord, we headed into Medford, a pretty town about 30 minutes away. A GPS is a wonderful thing…we found the cemetery on Playstead Rd, and found the office located just inside the gate. I asked a fellow behind the desk for the location of Peter Chardon Brooks, assuming that he would know it off the top of his head, but it didn’t seem to be noteworthy to him, and he pulled out a box filled with index cards and started flipping through them, looking for the grave. There was a bit of confusion for a few minutes, and for a moment I thought we were in the wrong place. Apparently, the original grave was located at the Salem Street Burial Ground, which is Medford’s oldest cemetery, but was recently relocated to Oak Grove. The man confirmed that there was a family plot that had Mr. Brooks, his wife, and his children. He pulled out a map and showed me how to find it. We got in the car and went looking for Peter Chardon Brooks.

Oak Grove is a very large and beautiful cemetery…I wish that we could have had more time to explore it.

As you can see, the headstone looks to be fairly new, with little weathering; it is obviously not the original headstone from the Salem Street burial ground.

We had a wonderful time on this trip, and finding the grave of Peter Chardon Brooks was definitely one of the more interesting things that we did. Standing at his grave, I had to wonder how many “Chardonites” (if any) have stood here before me, thinking about the man who generously donated some of his property in the Western Reserve for the foundation of a town that would bear his middle name - a town that he never got to see.

I took out a small stone that I had brought with me from the Chardon square and gently placed on his headstone. “Thanks for the town…” I said.

Peter Chardon Brooks is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, 230 Playstead Road, Medford MA, at Plot 212, Grave 1, on Oak Ave. Rick Bissell’s blog is at: www.pardonmychardon.com.

Comments about Thoughts At Large may be sent to: icewritesforyou@gmail.com
Visit us at: www.thoughtsatlarge.com

1 Comments:

Blogger EmAManda said...

I enjoyed reading your article about the man after which Chardon was named.
:-)
Emilie

2:22 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home