Christopher Crisp Uncovered

December 10 was a warm & sunny day when we headed down to Inglewood Park Cemetery to visit the graves of my brother, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. This year was a bit different from past years, though, because we had an additional mission. Before we left the house I logged onto Find A Grave to see if anyone had a photo request posted. Several were there, including one from October, which is unusual since requests at this cemetery are usually claimed within a few days. Not so with this one. We soon found out why.

Christopher Crisp was one of three people we were going to hunt for. The first two were easy to find. Little did we know it would take an hour and a half of cemetery tromping to find the third one. Mr. Crisp was born in England, so we started using our best English accents (Mike’s is good, mine not so much) when speaking to each other (hey, Mike started it!), which made the search more fun.

After scouring the La Ramada section for an hour I decided it was time to visit the office and ask for help. We were starving and parched, but weren’t willing to give up yet. The young lady in the office offered to send a customer rep out to help us find the grave. Louis joined us a short while later and ended up going way beyond any expectations to help us find the grave. Perhaps he was caught up in finding the missing headstone, too.

After spending about 10-15 minutes checking markers for a grave number close to Mr. Crisp’s without success, Louis headed to the front office to pick up a list of graves in the same row as Mr. Crisp’s. One of the graves on the list was quickly found, which gave Louis a place to start.

Louis started poking his shovel in the grass where the headstone should have been. Clunk! Hmmm, could that be it??? He jabbed the ground a few inches over and… clunk!… another hit. Yep, it was indeed a headstone. The excitement mounted as he lifted the blanket of sod and there was… Mr. O’Hara. Ok, then, it MUST be the next one over. Again, Louis gave the ground a jab and – clunk! – a possible headstone. A few inches over and… another clunk! Could THIS be Mr. Crisp?

UPPER LEFT: Louis starts the search; UPPER RIGHT: lifting sod; LOWER PHOTO: oops, wrong headstone – let’s try the next one over

Once again, Louis lifted a blanket of sod, but before he had it completely lifted I could see CHRISTOPHER and 1847 imbedded in the sod. We had found Mr. Crisp!

CHRISTOPHER 1847 in the sod

CRISP embedded in the sod

Hello Mr. Crisp!

A little cleanup reveals a headstone in perfect condition. There isn’t a chip, crack or scratch to be found. Even Louis was impressed.

Two headstones uncovered… Mr. Crisp and Mr. O’Hara

Mike starts cleaning Mr. Crisp’s headstone….

…and Louis steps in to help. He’s got the BIG broom and a gallon of water.

CHRISTOPHER CRISP 1847-1921

We’ve decided to adopt Mr. Crisp as our honorary great-grandfather and will be trimming, cleaning and decorating his grave each Christmas along with our family members’ graves at Inglewood Park; his grave will never become overgrown again as long as we’re around. Graving has provided adventures for us before, but this is one that will stand out in our memories. We’ll never forget the fun we had searching for – and the thrill of finding – a long-forgotten headstone.

* * *

We’ve been reading all the Crisp Point Light Historical Society info and now plan to go see it in person one day. It’s amazing how beautifully the lighthouse has been restored. I just wish there was more info – and a photo! – of Mr. Crisp somewhere.

~ UPDATE! ~
Here are a couple of photos of Mr. Crisp’s grave for 2013. We brought along a little lighthouse and a light that we thought looked like it was part of a lighthouse (use your imagination). We never got to see the light at night, but hopefully Mr. Crisp enjoyed it.

Christopher Crisp gravesite 2013

Christopher's grave lighthouse 2013

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24 responses to “Christopher Crisp Uncovered

  1. Just got here from the Crisp Point website. What a great story! Thank you for preserving this bit of history. We love this lighthouse and its story.

  2. I really enjoyed the hunt for Mr. Crisp’s headstone; and I was so glad to see it and hear how it will not be in such shape again!
    I first was interested in the lighthouse since I live in Michigan and often camp “up north” as we call it.
    Another reason for my interest was that my grandmother, was Susan C. Crisp, daughter of Jones Crisp of Floyd County, Ky.
    I don’t think there is a link so far, as my Crisps were in KY very early.
    But who knows.
    I hope my husband and I can see the lighthouse this summer!

    Ann Glasgow

  3. What a nice thing to do! This is what we mean when we talk about “Respect Life.” I too love the lighthouse, thanks for doing this.

  4. As the great-great-grandson of Mr. Crisp, thanks for finding and visiting the grave! Cool story!

  5. A good time to go would be in July or August. Is it ok if we use some of your pictures of Cristopher’s grave marker on the Crisp Point website?

    • wanderingseniors

      Please do! That would be exciting. We went to the cemetery two days ago and once again had to uncover Mr. Crisp’s marker, but only one corner of it this time. It looked like someone had dumped dirt on it (along with several other headstones in the area – geez). As long as we’re around it’ll be kept up.

      • Jeffrey Leckrone

        Thank you wanderingseniors for this neat story of finding Christopher Crisp’s resting place. My favorite lighthouse is Crisp Point and it is so exciting to learn the history behind the light. Hopefully others will follow you in keeping Christophers marker cherished and remembered. Thank you.
        Michigan lighthouse enthusiast

      • wanderingseniors

        I’ve thought of looking for a lighthouse society of some kind in Southern California that would be willing to take over the upkeep of Christopher’s grave when we can’t do it anymore. It would be a shame for it be lost again, but we’ll be getting the gps coordinates for his grave and posting them so it should never be completely lost.

  6. Wonderful post! I bet Mr Crisp is beaming from above at his adoptive great-grandchildren. How lovely that he has been uncovered again – for all to see and remember 😉

    x

  7. You can go in the spring. Road is ok since Luce County has worked on it. I will be a volunteer in July the 13th to the 17th. I will be there to let people in to see the insides. There will be someone there from June till end of september to show visitors around from 10am till 5pm. Hope you can make it.

    • wanderingseniors

      Thank you for the info. I don’t know if we can go in July, but we’ll see what we can do. We would certainly want to see the inside, too!

  8. I’d say July or the first part of August. Better yet, contact the folks at CPLHS (http://www.crisppointlighthouse.org/) and see what they advise as the best time to go. We combined our trip with a stay at the Whitefish Point Crew Quarters (http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com/crewsquarters), and it was lovely.

    • wanderingseniors

      The Whitefish Point Crew Quarters looks wonderful. That would be quite an experience I’m sure. Thanks for the information.

  9. Where is Inglewood Park Cemetary located. Not anywhere near the lighthouse I bet? Thank you for finding his stone. I love going to the Crisp Point Lighthouse. It is a beautiful place. Hope you can visit it sometime.

    • wanderingseniors

      Inglewood Park Cemetery is located in Inglewood, California…in Los Angeles County and near the city of Los Angeles. It seems strange that Mr. Crisp came to California; does anyone know why he did?

  10. What a wonderful story. I have been to the Crisp Point Lighthouse,it is a beautiful lighthouse. My visit was in winter with snow so deep we had to hike the last 1/2 mile in, as the last little hill was too steep and slick for my 4 wheel drive to make . I hope to go again in the summer.Thanks to your story, now know where it got it’s name. Thank you for sharing.

    • wanderingseniors

      We can’t wait until we can go see the lighthouse in person. It definitely won’t be in the winter! We’re not much on being out in snow; spring, summer or fall will be good. Thank you for your comment.

      • I’d reccommend you avoid spring, too, unless you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and are up for a little “fun.”

  11. This is very cool. As a Florida-based fan of northern Michigan’s Crisp Point life, I appreciate your 21st-century service to history and to those brave souls of the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Crisp Point Light is way off the beaten path, but a very special light indeed. Its story–both past and present–are a testament to those who kept the light for mariners of old and for those who keep it as caretakers of history today.

    • wanderingseniors

      Thank you for your comment. We’ve read a little bit about the light keepers and Mr. Crisp apparently was the best. I don’t think too many people could do the job they did. The folks who restored the lighthouse are very special; they’ve done a fantastic job and I’m sure it was very difficult. Kudos to all of them.

      • wanderingseniors

        Hmmm, what would be the best month to go, then? We’re not big on roughing it, but we’ll endure some “fun” in order to see the lighthouse.

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