This picture of a gravestone was among the photographs I received from my aunt. The inscription reads, "Nichols. Emerson L. 1913-1935." Naturally, I wondered who Emerson L Nichols was and how he relates, if at all, to my family.
I obtained the death certificate at the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton.
From the death certificate, we learn that Emerson Lambert Nichols died June 15, 1935 from a motorcycle accident. He was 21 years old, born in Waterbury, Connecticut. His parents were George E Nichols of Lowell, Massachusetts and Mabel G Lambert of New Hampshire. He died on "Pompton Pike" (now called Pompton Avenue or State Route 23) in Cedar Grove, Essex County, New Jersey. His residence was 103 Broadway in Newark.
|The doctor did not "attend" Emerson. He "saw" Emerson.|
The cause of death was "highway accident motorcycle with driver and one passenger ran into side of 10 ton mack truck, fractured skull, cerebral laceration, hemorrhage and edema; ruptured lungs, ruptured spleen." Emerson was the driver of the motorcycle. This accident sounds horrific.
Next I set out to find the gravestone. The place of burial is listed as East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Delawanna, New Jersey. Delawanna is a section in the City of Clifton in Passaic County. FindAGrave had no entry for Emerson. (Ridgelawn Cemetery in Delawanna is listed as a separate cemetery on FindAGrave. This should be combined with East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clifton.)
Here is what the stone looks like today.
From the gravestone, Emerson's father, George, died in 1954 and his mother, Mabel, died in 1957.
|I visited the same spot in Ridgelawn Cemetery that my grandfather stood to take this photograph almost eighty years earlier.|
In the older photograph, the gravestone in the background on the right with the letters L and Y is blocked in the recent picture by the Soule gravestone. The surname is Lay.
To the left in the old picture is a textured gravestone with two tiny shrubs in the row ahead. Their view is completely blocked in the recent picture by large bushes and more stones.
|East Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clifton, Passaic County, New Jersey|
The Campbell gravestone is the textured stone behind the small bushes in the older photo. In the eighty years since the picture was taken, the bushes grew and were chopped down. A gravestone was placed in between the bushes for Pucillo.
I don't know how Emerson Lambert Nichols relates to my family. He was the same age as my grandfather, so maybe they were friends. Maybe someone will read this and let us know.