David Woldridge’s Great Great Granddaughter, Doris (Darnall) Hamel Meets Stan Lowe, the man who found David Woldridge’s Gravestone in the Bulldozed Cemetery

When Doris Hamel traveled from California back to Illinois this summer, she made a special phone call to set up a lunch with the folks who found her great great grandparents grave stones.

They all met for lunch at the Plaid Rooster Restaurant in Petersburg, IL on Saturday, 9 August 2008.

It’s a small world. Come to find out, Stan Lowe’s grandpa “Bud” Grant had farmed for many of Doris’s relatives, in the Pleasant Plains, IL area when she was young. They talked for hours and compared land, houses and names. What a joy it was.

Doris (Darnall) Hamel comes through a long line of prominent ancestors, including Revolutionary war soldiers, soldiers from the War of 1812, Civil war soldiers, Sam and Mary (Woldridge) Watkins of Petersburg who were famous for the quarter horse, Peter McCue. The list goes on and on.

She had no idea that another famous person would be among her impressive list of ancestors. Then, she was contacted last year and learned that her Great Great Grandparents, David & Margaret Greene (Hawthorn) Woldridge’s grave stone had been recovered.

The two stones were among four that had been found by Stan & Jeanie (Hale) Lowe and Duane & Betty Albert of Petersburg on 22 April 2007.

David & Margaret Woldridge were buried in 1857. It is thought that the stones remained in the cemetery for more than 100 years, during which time the land was in the hands of descendants. However, it is thought that around the late 1960’s the stones were bulldozed off into the woods and covered with dirt to hide the hideous destructive and illegal act of desecrating a grave stone and cemetery.

While it was a shame that the cemetery had been bulldozed so that crops could be planted. A significant piece of history went along with the destruction.

David Woldridge was the first client of Abraham Lincoln. Woldridge descendants are coming together to learn more about their ancestor since the find.

Unfortunately, corn is growing strong in the fields and there is no access to the cemetery at this time of year. Doris was given a DVD of the original find last year.

David & Margaret Greene (Hawthorn) Woldridge
Mary (Woldridge) & Sam Watkins
Elizabeth (Watkins) & Elijah Purvines
Rollie (Purvines) & LaRue H. Darnall
Doris L. (Darnall) Hamel


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Illinois Ancestors