Revisiting Mt. Hope Cemetery: From Jack the Ripper to the grandfather of the internet

Revisiting Mt. Hope Cemetery: From Jack the Ripper to the grandfather of the internet

“Positioned behind a fence at the north gate of the Mt. Hope Cemetery – method acting – I prepared for my entre, feeling like John Wilkes Booth about to jump onto the stage at Ford’s Theater.” November 6th, 2015. From Stalker of the Town plays Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk

As our archives bulge, from time to time we revisit magazine themes and sites. A reader and writer favorite is Mt. Hope Cemetery, a place of adventure, hi jinks and grave sites illuminating the rich heritage of Rochester.

As seen in Stalker of the Town plays Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk in November 2015, I was invited to play Jack the Ripper for the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk. On the tour, history and local ghost stories come alive in this cemetery-side walk.

At the Cemetery gates, out leaps Jack the Ripper who some claim is buried in another Rochester cemetery, Holy Sepulchral on Lake Avenue.

As seen in Audrey’s excellent adventure in Rochester, in April 2016, my niece Audrey and I had an excellent adventure in Mt. Hope in Cemetery in which Audrey gave Jack (aka Talker) his comeuppance.

“We then revisited the nearby site where my brother had acted as Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk. Looking too gleeful and self-satisfied for my taste at the terror he had sown, my brother peered upon the scene of the crime. Audrey felt this was the time for Talker to finally be rendered mute if not moot.”  From Audrey’s excellent adventure in Rochester

In Memorium: In search of Talker at the Grand Light Torch Tour tells the story of another spooky revisit to our old haunts in which Talker appears to disappear into thin air.

Dean Tucker at The Grand Torch Light Tour in Mt. Hope Cemetery 10/15/16 From In Memorium: In search of Talker at the Grand Light Torch Tour


SUSAN B. ANTHONY — Women’s Rights leader

Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite on Election Day and the day after

With Representative Louise Slaughter (1929 – 2018) (center) and friend [Photo: member of Louise’ staff] 11/08/16

PETER BARRY — Mayor of Rochester, 1955 – 1962

Rochester Mayor Peter Barry survived the attack at Pearl Harbor. So too did Rochesterian Anne Newell, only to die from polio nine years later.

Peter Barry (1912-1973)

DR. HARTWELL CARVER — self-proclaimed father of the Pacific Railroad 

Was a Rochestarian the founder of the transcontinental railroad? Not so fast.

Dr. Hartwell Carver (1789 – 1875)

ADELAIDE CRAPSEY — Rochester poet  

In Mount Hope Cemetery remembering the tragic vision of Adelaide Crapsey and Alone in the Dawn” Restorationist James Caffrey joins the conversation with more on Adelaide Crapsey

Adelaide Crapsey 1878 – 1914

EDWARD R. CRONE — Died in World War Two and the model Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-5

Kurt Vonnegut’s 1995 “Billy Pilgrim” pilgrimage to the Mt. Hope grave of Edward R. Crone Jr, Brighton High School ’41

(left) Edward R. Crone Jr., (1923 – 1945) Brighton High School Crossroads yearbook, 1941. Held at and scanned courtesy of Brighton Memorial Library; (right) Crone’s gravesite in Mt. Hope Cemetery, 12/15/18 [Photo: David Kramer]


“The greatest American of the nineteenth century” and FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND PLYMOUTH ROCK

(left) Photo by David Kramer (right) Frederick and Helen Pitts Douglass graves in Mount Hope Cemetery – Photo by Leigh Fought

FRANK GANNETT — Founder of the Gannett Company

Saying goodbye to the weekday print edition of the Democrat and Chronicle

Frank Gannett (September 15, 1876 – December 3, 1957)

SETH GREEN – America’s most important fisherman

Seth Green: The Most Important Fisherman in American History

Seth Green’s gravesite in Mount Hope Cemetery. The women who took the picture were visiting from Hobart and William Smith College. They said I should pose as if “reeling” in the great fisherman. 9/11/16

DR. CHARLES T. LUNSFORD — Physician and Civil Right’s activist

On Dr. Charles T. Lunsford and the house where he entertained Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Charles Terrell Lunsford’s grave is located in the northeast half of the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Range 10. On the grave is the emblem of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the inscription Rochester’s First Black Physician, along with the years in which he practiced medicine, 1921 to 1972 [Photo: UR medical resident]

JANE PARKER MARSH — Author, friend of Frederick Douglass and anti-suffragette 

The Terquasquicentennial of the Day of Wrath and the Great Disappointment atop Cobb’s Hill. Are the ascension robes a myth?

Jane Parker Marsh (1836 – 1913)

GENERAL ELWELL STEPHEN OTIS — Commander-in-Chief of American troops in the Philippines, 1898 – 1900.

Remembering General Elwell Otis on his Day, June 15th: Rochester’s imperial war hero

General Otis’s grave in Mt. Hope Cemetery. In 1922, his body was re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery

ISAAC AND AMY POST — Among the first believers in Spiritualism, radical Hicksite Quakers involved in the struggles for abolitionism and women’s rights

The Spirit is Willing! George Washington and seven other Presidents appear: Rochester – January 18, 1852

Grave of Isaac and Amy Kirby Post in Mt. Hope Cemetery. [Photo: David Kramer, 3/1/19]

JAMES D. REID — acknowledged “Father of the Telegraph”

The grandfather of the internet is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery

The James Reid monument in Mount Hope Cemetery is a square column set on three graduated marble steps. Two of the four faces of the top section are visible in this photograph. One has Reid’s birth year, 1819, enclosed in a wreath. The second contains a bronze portrait plaque of Mr. Reid. The bronze tablet set into the support column reads, “James Douglas Reid, 1819-1901. Born Edinburgh, died New York. A pioneer of the telegraph and its first superintendent. Friend and associate of Morse. A kindly gentleman of beautiful character and stainless life. This monument was erected 1914 by telegraphers in appreciation and loving memory of his unselfish helpfulness.”[From the Monroe County Library website. [Photo: David Kramer, 10/21/19]

DR. JOSEPH ROBY — Instrumental in curtailing the 1918 influenza epidemic

Dr. Joseph Roby could not save Lenore Engel, 11, victim of the 1918 pandemic buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery

Dr. Joseph Roby, 19 Aug 1871 – 15 Jul 1954, Mt. Hope Cemetery, Section MM, Lot 161 [Photo: David Kramer, 3/23/20]

NATHANIEL ROCHESTER — founder of Rochesterville

When President John Quincy Adams visited Rochester on July 27th and 28th, 1843 and toured Mt. Hope Cemetery

No doubt Adams saw Nathaniel Rochester’s grave on his tour of Mt. Hope Cemetery. Between West and Glenn Avenues in the R section, the grave is # 15 in the Mount Hope Cemetery Pocket Guide. 7/28/16

DR.  JOHN H. VAN EVRIE — racial propagandist

In search of America’s “first professional racist” in Rochester

6/25/20. Recently, Van Evrie’s grave was restored, under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Friends of the Mt. Hope Cemetery.

The Firemen’s Plot

6/30/20. Mt. Hope Cemetery. The Firemen’s Plot was first purchased in Mt. Hope Cemetery for the purpose of burying fallen firefighters in 1843. In 1880, the Rochester Firefighters Benevolent Association, realizing more space was needed, traded that plot for a larger section. The burials from the original plot were transferred to this new section. A 50 foot obelisk was also constructed for the new plot. On Sept. 9, 1880 a ceremony was held to dedicate the new Firemen’s Plot. The monument was re-dedicated on September 9, 1984. The plot is at the corner of Fireman’s Avenue and Grove Avenue, in the northwest corner of section BB. The 1880 dedication and 1984 re-dedication is found at the bottom of the Firemen’s Monument. (Rochwiki) [Photos: David Kramer] From Up the Stairwells

Plaque dedicated to To the men, women and children whose unmarked graves were discovered in Highland Park.

Mt. Hope Cemetery [Photo: David Kramer, 4/30/20] To the men, women and children whose unmarked graves were discovered in Highland Park. From The Remember Garden in Highland Park refurbished and beautified in time for the Lilac Festival

War in Mt. Hope Cemetery

Civil War 


The Civil War Veterans’ monument in Mount Hope Cemetery was erected in September 1908, and unveiled on September 25 of that year. Statues of two soldiers stand atop a granite base. The older soldier holds a flag. The younger one holds a bugle. The bronze plaque on the base reads “1861 -1865. On Fame’s eternal camping ground/ Their silent tents are spread, /And glory guards with solemn round/ The bivouac of the dead.” The music for the verse completes the plaque. 6/18/18

Spanish-America War

Spanish-American War monuments in Rochester.

 (above) Audrey holding a photograph of David Kramer in the Spanish-American War uniform of Lynda Howland's grandfather and holding a photograph his photograph. (below) Trophy Cannon from the Spanish flagship Reina Cristina sunk in the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898

(above) Audrey holding a photograph of David Kramer in the Spanish-American War uniform of Lynda Howland’s grandfather and holding a photograph his photograph. (below) Trophy Cannon from the Spanish flagship Reina Cristina sunk in the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898

World War I  

Rochesterians in World War One and the One Hundredth Anniversary of Château-Thierry

Mt. Hope Cemetery, 7/18/18. A Centennial Remembrance of Sergeant William H. Cooper

When all was quiet on the western front on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918.

World War Two

Paul C. Zaenglein, Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY. Zaenglein was killed one week before the surrender of Japan.

On the day to remember its fallen, Brightonian Slagana Avramoska Mitris reflects on what Memorial Day means to her.

Korean War

PVT Glenn F Smith 32nd Infantry Regiment, Army,Hostile, Died of Wounds (DOW), Date Of Loss: September 27, 1950, Service Number: RA12286630 ,Born: May 14, 1929 ,Home Or Place Of Enlistment, Rochester, New York, Location Or Battle Zone: Seoul, Burial Location, Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY, Comments: Private Smith was a light weapons infantryman with the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was seriously wounded during the assault of the southern areas of Seoul, South Korea on September 27, 1950 and died of those wounds later that day.

Remembering the Korean War in Rochester


THE FANDANGO — the Rochester Mirage

The Fandango and the Rochester Mirage

The Rochester Mirage. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, May 13, 1871. Caption: “Extraordinary Mirage, Showing the Canada Coast of Lake Ontario, as seen from Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, April 16th”

Mt. Hope’s Subconscious Side: Symbolizing Life and Death in America’s Oldest Victorian Cemetery

Architectural flourishes include grand obelisks and columns, statues and an 1875 Florentine fountain made of cast iron.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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