The 19th century's most famous women's rights leader and its leading African-American orator: Their burial spots in Rochester are well known and often visited. Less well-known residents of Rochester cemeteries, however, tell stories just as interesting, even if they had a less direct impact on American history.
Among them: a Jack the Ripper suspect, the man who was the model for Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's modern classic novel "Slaughterhouse Five," and one of leading sex symbols of the silent film era.
Susan B. Anthony, the women's rights leader, who lived her whole adult life in Rochester, and Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became a leading abolitionist and who lived in the city for a decade, are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. Its rolling hills and abundance of trees make visiting it a pleasant experience, despite all the headstones.
Also interred in Mount Hope is Edward Crone, who was an American POW in Dresden, Germany, when it was firebombed by the Allies in 1945. Early estimates put the death toll at 200,000, greater than the combined deaths from the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. However, historians now believe the actual toll at Dresden was about 40,000.
That firebombing was the principal event in Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 anti-war, science fiction novel, "Slaughterhouse Five." Vonnegut was also a Dresden POW. The book's protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut said, was based on Crone: "He simply sat down with his back to the wall. He wouldn't talk, wouldn't eat, wouldn't do anything, and then died."
Three of Buffalo Bill's children are also interred in the cemetery. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was performing in the city when one of his children became ill. Five-year-old Kit Carson Cody died of scarlet fever. Two daughters, Orra Maude and Arta, died elsewhere and their bodies were returned to Rochester to be buried near their brother.
Also buried at Mount Hope are Seth Green, who developed the world's first fish hatchery; Lewis Henry Morgan, the leading American anthropologist of the 19th century; Frank Gannett, founder of the country's largest newspaper chain; George Selden, who is often credited with inventing the automobile; singer William Warfield; and about 350,000 other people.
Although Mount Hope is the final resting place for more famous people than any other cemetery in the Rochester area, a cluster of famous burials can be found in the city's northernmost section.
At Kodak Park -- a giant industrial center -- are the remains of George Eastman, founder of Kodak. Eastman, who never married and had no children, committed suicide (a gunshot wound to his heart) in 1932 at age 75. He left a suicide note: "My work is done. Why wait?" He was cremated and his ashes are interred at a plaza within Kodak Park.
About a mile further north is Holy Sepulcher Cemetery. Among the famous there are Louise Brooks, one of the great actresses of the silent film era. She was both a great sex symbol of the times and a highly praised actress. She had two husbands and dozens of lovers. She wrote that, among others, she had a one-night affair with Greta Garbo.
Long after her film career ended and she was living in near obscurity in New York City, she was rediscovered as the result to two film retrospectives in her honor, one in Paris, the other in Rochester. She moved to Rochester in 1956, living there for the rest of her life. She died in 1985 at age 78.
Also interred at Holy Sepulcher is Francis Tumuelty, who made a fortune selling fake medicines. He happened to be in London at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders (1888). He was arrested on a charge of homosexuality partly because somebody with the London police believed a homosexual was more likely to have committed the five (or 11, depending on who's counting) Ripper murders.
Tumuelty fled to France and then to the United States, where New York refused to extradite him because there was no hard evidence to connect him to the Jack the Ripper murders and because the crime he was charged with, homosexuality, was not an extraditable offense.
In 1913, Chief Inspector John Littlechild of the London police wrote a letter speculating Tumuelty was in fact Jack the Ripper, but Littlechild was never actually part of the team investigating the murders.
A historical oddity about Tumuelty is that two decades prior to the Jack the Ripper murders, he was briefly detained as a suspect in another famous murder case. In 1865, he was held for a while as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He was released when authorities realized they had mistaken him for someone else.
Also buried in Holy Sepulcher is Francis Silk O'Loughlin, one of the first umpires in the American League. Among his other claims to fame is that he was the first umpire to throw Ty Cobb out of a game (May 2, 1908). In fact, twice he led the league in ejecting players (1908 with 17 and 1912 with 18). He once said he never made an incorrect call, that only he and the pope were infallible.
O'Loughlin died at age 42 in 1919, one of an estimated 100 million victims of the influenza epidemic that spread across the world.
Also permanently residing at Holy Sepulcher is mystery writer Edward D. Hoch, who published more than 900 short stories, about half of them in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Col. Patrick O'Rorke, who helped repel a Confederate assault on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, is here. It helped assure the Union victory in the war's turning point engagement.
And Catherine de Valera Wheelwright, mother of Eamon de Valera, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916 and president of Ireland from 1959 to 1973.
Just north of and adjacent to Holy Sepulcher is Riverside Cemetery. Its most famous inhabitant is Joe Aiello, a leading opponent of Al Capone for control of Chicago criminal activities in the 1920s. Aiello was gunned down on a Chicago street in 1930 on Capone's orders. There were 59 bullet holes in his corpse.
Sam Patch rests in Charlotte Cemetery. Patch made his living by jumping over waterfalls. He made successful jumps in Massachusetts and New Jersey and at Niagara Falls. Thousands of people turned out to see him.
His final jump was over High Falls in downtown Rochester on Nov. 13 (a Friday), 1839. His body wasn't found until the spring, near the mouth of the Genesee River.
Those who get hungry or thirsty after visiting Rochester's famous dead might cross the Col. Patrick O'Rorke Bridge just north of Charlotte Cemetery to visit the Silk O'Loughlin Restaurant, where on a nice day diners can sit outdoors and get a good, but unmarked, view of the spot where Sam Patch washed up after his ultimate leap.
If you go
To reach Mount Hope Cemetery, exit the Thruway at I-390, follow signs to Lehigh Valley Road and turn left; at West Henrietta Road, turn right. West Henrietta turns into Mount Hope. Go north about 10 miles. The cemetery is on the left. At the northernmost entrance, a large map shows locations of the famous graves. Not included is Edward Crone; he's in Section 4.
To reach Kodak Park, exit the cemetery and turn left; turn left at Ford Street, cross bridge and turn right onto Exchange, which turns into State Street and then into Lake Avenue. Total distance to Kodak Park is about five miles. The plaza containing George Eastman's remains is just north of Route 104.
Holy Sepulcher Cemetery is one mile farther north. A computer in the main office gives the location of any grave.
Riverside Cemetery is adjacent to and north of Holy Sepulcher.
Charlotte Cemetery is two miles north of Riverside. Sam Patch's grave is in the northwest corner.
To reach Silk O'Loughlin's Restaurant, continue north of Lake Avenue, turn right onto Pattonwood Drive, cross the O'Rorke Bridge, go to St. Paul Boulevard, turn left, continue to Silk O'Loughlin's at the end of the street. From cemetery to restaurant is two miles.