Marble is the best surface for making fudge. According to one blog, “Real fudge makers … all use marble slabs.” Apparently one family in Okemos, Michigan began making fudge on a 5-foot marble slab around 1875. The slab was passed down to future generations, who also perfected their fudge-making skills with the same old marble slab. The slab was finally turned over by an estate auction dealer who posted it for sale on the Internet. One inquiring mind reached out to the Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries (FoLHC) in Lansing, Michigan, where it was identified as the long lost—some 146 years lost—tombstone of Peter J. Weller. On Sunday, September 26th, a celebration was held to celebrate the re-installation of the tombstone. Fudge was served!
Peter J. Weller was a recent transplant to Lansing. He was born in New York in 1801 and relocated to Lansing in 1845. He died from inflammation of the bowels on December 26, 1849, at the age of 48 years, 8 months, and 22 days. He was initially buried in Oak Park Cemetery. His two daughters Christina and Lucretia were also buried there. By 1875, Lansing was growing, and the city was extending boundaries. All of the interred bodies at Oak Park were relocated to Mount Hope Cemetery. Tombstones were to be reinstalled, as well. Both Christina (4.3.1832-5.11.1854) and Lucretia (dates unknown) had individual tombstones that traveled to Mount Hope and marked their new resting place. For some unknow reason, Peter’s went missing.
The City of Lansing and the FoLHC attempted to locate any living descendants. None were found. The historic society paid for Peter’s tombstone to be clean and installed once ground penetrating radar was used to verify there were remains and a coffin buried in an unmarked grave. The daughters’ broken and aged tombstones were also clean and restored. The family are resting in a 10-plot family site. Peter’s first wife Louisa, and the known mother to Christina, is in another unmarked grave in Mount Hope. The second wife is not buried in the cemetery.
This is another one of those stories where tombstones are removed from cemeteries and used for odd purposes. A house in the neighborhood I grew up in had tombstone fragments in the turret in their house. Strange, indeed.