Miscellaneous Famous Graves
Animal Actor. Mister Ed, a Palomino horse officially named Bamboo Harvester, was a show and parade horse who was foaled in 1949 in El Monte, California. His parents were The Harvester (Sire), a Saddlebred owned by Edna and Jim Fagan; and Zetna, (Dam) who was sired by Antez, an Arabian imported from Poland. Bamboo Harvester was trained by Lester Hilton. Lester “Les” Hilton had been apprenticed under Will Rogers, and also worked with the mules in the “Francis the Talking Mule” movies. Due to old-age ailments, Bamboo Harvester was put to sleep in 1970. The producer of the Mister Ed series never would answer the question of how the horse’s lips were made to move. There have been many theories over the years, including the use of peanut butter, but none have been authenticated.
Noah Webster, Jr. Dictionary Publisher. Thanks to him, the American and British versions of the English language became separate, unique languages. Born in Hartford, Connecticut to a colonial farm family of five children, Noah Webster was a descendant of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. He began attending Yale College at age 16, then the only college in the British colony of Connecticut, graduating in 1778, after a short break to serve in the American Army during the Revolution. Unable to afford law school, he became a schoolteacher in Hartford, continuing his law studies part time. He eventually earned his law degree in 1781, and was admitted to the bar the same year. Dissatisfied with the school textbooks then in use, which were imported from Britain, Webster decided to write his own three-volume American book, consisting of a speller, a grammar and a reader. For the next one hundred years, it would become the most popular American schoolbook of its time, selling more than one million copies every year. Proudly American and anti-British, he chose to ignore the common British pronunciation and spellings in favor of his native New England pronunciations and spellings. As a result, after American independence, Americans learned to speak and write differently from their British cousins despite a common origin. In 1789, Webster married Rebecca Greenleaf, and they would have eight children. In 1793, the Webster family moved to New York to be closer to the President and the country’s new administration (initially, New York was the capital of the new United States). There Webster started New York’s first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, and later, a weekly publication, The Herald. In 1798, he sold his interests and moved back to New Haven. In 1807, he began to write an expanded dictionary, “An American Dictionary of the English Language,” which would reform the language again, drawing it closer to his New England roots and making it a unique American language. The dictionary was published in 1828, and was an instant best seller. The book was also unique in that it contained a large number of Biblical definitions, more than any previously published reference, because Webster believed that the Bible and Christianity should play an important role in the lives of a free people and its government. A second edition of the dictionary was published in 1840, and a few days after Webster had finished revising the appendix to the second edition, he died.
Eleanor Kidd was a Birmingham philanthropist and fashion model. She attended Phillips High School and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1935. During her time in New York, Eleanor became the face of Lucky Strike cigarettes in a national ad campaign. However, her modeling career peaked when jeweler Harry Winston photographed her wearing the famous 45.5-carat Hope Diamond. Since he donated the diamond to the Smithsonian soon after, Eleanor Kidd was the last woman to wear the Hope Diamond. Eleanor Kidd spent much of her time raising money for local organizations, such as St. Vincent’s and the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Elizabeth “Mother” Goose. Believed by some to be “Mother Goose.” It is unclear whether or not her body is buried under this stone or elsewhere in the cemetery. She married Isaac Goose in 1693 and died in 1758.
Mary “Typhoid Mary” Mallon. Two-Time Typhoid Epidemic Source. Born in County Tyrone, Ireland, she emigrated to New York as a teenager. In the summer of 1906, she was employed as a cook by a wealthy NY Banker, Charles Henry Warren, in Oyster Bay, NY. Within 3 weeks, six of the 11 people living in the house came down with Typhoid, a fairly common disease then among the poor, but very unusual among the rich. George Soper, a sanitary engineer hired to find the source of the outbreak, was the first person to determine that typhoid could be carried by a healthy appearing person who had survived the disease earlier. Tracing her work history, Soper determined that she had worked for 8 families in the past 10 years, and seven of the families had had typhoid outbreaks, with one death. The NYC Health Dept isolated her in 1907 to the grounds of Riverside Hospital, on condition that she never cooked again. The press dubbed her “Typhoid Mary,” a name she hated and she insisted that she was healthy. In 1910, she disappeared and was later found in 1915 under an assumed name, working as a cook for the Sloane Maternity Hospital in Manhattan. During her 3 months there, she spread typhoid to 25 doctors, nurses and staff, and 2 died. She was sent to North Brother Island, where she spent the rest of her life, living in isolation. In 1938, when she died, a newspaper noted that there were 237 others living under city health department observation for typhoid.
Miss Baker. Animal Figure. First US Animal, with her companion Miss Able (both names taken from alphabet phonetic words) to fly in space and return alive. Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey born in Iquito, Peru, was one of a pair of monkeys sent into space aboard a Jupiter rocket and brought safely back to earth on May 28, 1959. The flight reached an altitude of 300 miles, while traveling at speeds in excess of 10,000 miles per hour. They successfully withstood forces of 38 times the pull of gravity here on earth, and achieved weightlessness for a period of nine minutes. Their mission was the first to recover living beings following their return from space and paved the way for human space travel. They became immediate international celebrities, appearing on the cover of Life magazine for the week of June 15, 1959. She was chosen for her mission because of her tolerance for being confined in a small cylinder. She was also fitted with electrodes for the monitoring of her vital signs. She was specially outfitted for the mission and was observed to be only mildly startled at lift-off and at other times during the 15 minute flight. Immediately following recovery, the unflappable monkey was rewarded with a banana and a cracker, which she ate, and then rolled over and took a nap. She has been described as a “one pound stick of dynamite.” Upon retiring from space travel, she resided at the Naval Aerospace Medical Center in Pensacola, Florida, until 1971. At the request of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center she was then transferred to Huntsville, AL. She remained there, in a temperature and humidity controlled environment especially built for her, for the remainder of her life. During those years, she succeeded in outliving her first husband, Big George, whom she had married in ceremonies conducted in Pensacola in 1962, and went on to take a second mate, named Norman. She graciously entertained all visitors to the Huntsville museum and was especially fond of children. She received daily fan mail. Her birthday was celebrated yearly with local dignitaries, press, and television commentators in attendance. She developed kidney failure which proved to be her final illness. She is buried at the entrance of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville along with both her husbands. It is customary for children who attend the center’s Space Camp to place a banana on her gravestone in her memory. At the time of her death, at 27 years of age, she was believed to be the oldest squirrel monkey ever documented.
David Reimer. Medical Figure. Born as Bruce Reimer, one of twin boys to Janet and Ron Reimer, Bruce’s penis was destroyed in a circumcision accident when he was 8 months old. His parents consulted Dr. John Money at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, who advised Bruce’s parents to also have his testes removed and raise him as a girl. He was renamed Brenda and treated as female by his family from then on. Dr. Money theorizied that gender identity is largely the result of social learning, and believed that if Brenda never knew the truth of her birth, she would successfully transition to a female. However, Brenda’s childhood and adolescence was difficult. She and her twin brother Brian were extensively studied by Dr. Money; both twins later alleged they were sexually abused by Money during some of the treatments. By the age of 14, Brenda was suicidially depressed and begged her parents to discontinue her treatment with Dr. Money. The Reimers ceased her treatment and finally told the twins the truth of Brenda’s birth. Brenda then decided to live as a male, and changed her name to David. In the next few years David underwent further surgeries to reverse his sex reassignment, and later married a woman and became a stepfather to her children. Dr. Money, however, continued to describe David’s original sex reassignment (from male to female) as a success, which lead David to speak out in 1997 to make his side of the story known, and to try to dissuade other physicians from treating other infants as he had been treated. Brian, David’s twin, began having mental problems after learning the truth about his sibling, and eventually committed suicide in 2002. In 2004, David, depressed over his failing marriage and continued psychological problems, also took his own life. The story of Bruce/Brenda/David Reimer was the subject of the book “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl” and the BBC documentary “Dr. Money and the Boy With No Penis.” Dr. Money died in 2006.
Alexander Melville Bell. Parents of Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the telephone.