27 January 2009

The Bennington Monument at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

There is a 60-foot tall granite obelisk monument in the northern end of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on the east side of the road. It was dedicated on January 7, 1908 to the sailors who lost their lives on the USS Bennington in 1905. The Fort Rosecrans web site says:

"... notable monument in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery commemorates the deaths of 62 sailors in a boiler explosion aboard the USS Bennington. The Bennington, which had just returned from maneuvers in the Pacific, was anchored in San Diego Harbor. On July 21, 1905, the crew was ordered to depart in search for the USS Wyoming, which had lost a propeller at sea. At approximately 10:30 a.m., an explosion in the boiler room ripped through the ship, killing and wounding the majority of the crew. Two days later the remains of soldiers and sailors were brought to the post cemetery and interred in an area known as Bennington Plot."

Here is a picture of the monument from the southeast:

The plaque on the north side of the monument:

A view looking at the monument from the southwest towards San Diego Bay and the city.

The white gravestones nearest the monument are for the sailors who lost their lives in the explosion.

The web site of the San Diego Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) shows more photos of the history of the monument, and the ceremonies in 2008 that honored the dead buried there.

20 January 2009

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is located on Point Loma, a peninsula that separates San Diego Bay on the east from the Pacific Ocean on the west, and is part of the city of San Diego. The cemetery mailing address is: P.O. Box 6237. San Diego, CA 92166. Phone: (619) 553-2084. FAX: (619) 553-6593.

The office hours for the cemetery are: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

The Visitation Hours for the cemetery are: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A map of the cemetery relative to the City of San Diego can be seen here (you may have to zoom out to see the City).

There are over 96,000 interments in this cemetery, which currently covers 77.5 acres. This cemetery has space available for cremated remains. They may be able to accommodate casketed remains in the same gravesite of previously interred family members.

The office to the cemetery is on the west side of Catalina Blvd., which extends the length of Point Loma to the Cabrillo National Monument on the southern tip. From the roadway, here is the office area looking to the west.

Opposite the office area, the east side of the cemetery looks like this:

Almost all of the graves at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery are standard issue - white, with name, rank, service, birth date and death date, as shown in the photo below. There are some early gravestones that are different, and several memorials (such as the Bennington Memorial in the photo below).

In the background of the picture above (looking northeast) is the city of San Diego with the backcountry mountains far in the distance (the tallest peak is 6,500 foot Cuyamaca Mountain, which is about 40 miles away).

New interments at this cemetery are accepted for cremated remains and are buried in spaces along roads and in the columbarium walls shown below (on the east side of the cemetery):

In the background of the above picture is the downtown San Diego city skyline, with the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge on the far right.

The names of those interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery are in several online databases:

* FindAGrave has 59,101 interments listed.

* Interment.net has 71,608 interments listed.

* The USGenWeb Archives has a complete list (as of 15 June 2006) for the cemetery in a series of files at http://files.usgwarchives.org/ca/sandiego/cemeteries/ . The Fort Rosecrans records are in the sdnational-a1.txt through sdnational-z.txt files on the list.

07 January 2009

The Kimballs at La Vista Cemetery

The Kimball brothers were early settlers and large landholders in the southern part of San Diego County.

Two Kimball stones and several others of related persons are in a fenced yard at La Vista Memorial Park in National City.

The fenced area has a monument outside thel ocked gate:

Thei nscription reads:

National City, California

Restored 1990

Warren C. Kimball's stone is at the east end of the fenced yard.

Warren O. Kimball's inscription reads:

Warren O. Kimball
Born in Hopkinton, N.H.
July 19, 1829
May 9, 1913

The Frank A. Kimball stone is at the west end of the fenced yard:

The inscription of Frank A. Kimball's stone reads:

Frank A. Kimball
Born Jan. 26, 1832
Died Aug. 11, 1913

The history of National City and the lives of the Kimball Brothers are summarized in an article in the Journal of San Diego History titled National City in Review by Irene Phillips (Volume 8, No. 2, April 1962).

Another biography of Frank A. Kimball is found in Chapter 4 of the book History of San Diego, 1542-1908, by William E. Smythe.