Ten years after I was hired as the library media specialist at Jim Bridger Eighth Grade Center in Independence, a neighbor stopped by to chat with my husband, who was mowing the yard. "Guess you folks know that you're livin' on Bridger's old farm," he said. My husband rushed into the house to tell me, igniting a journey that included extensive research, trips to the Old West, new friendships, deep disappointments, and thrilling victories. The startling discovery that I lived on the former farm of my school's namesake fueled my interest in the mountain man who previously was of little interest to me.
I began researching his life, using books and the Internet to find information about this man who had walked on the same ground on which I was walking. As I learned about the intrepid frontiersman who guided more wagon trains out west than all the other scouts combined, I began wondering about his descendants. I discovered that three of his great-grandchildren were still living - one in Modesto, California, one in Belle Plaine, Kansas, and one in Columbus, Kansas.
I joined the Westport Historical Society and met their historian, Peggy Smith, another Bridger enthusiast. She told me that Bridger's granddaughter, Louise Lightle Wachsman, was buried in an unmarked grave at Mount St. Mary's Cemetery. With the support of my principal, G. W. Gelven, I initiated a fund-raising campaign with Bridger students that allowed us to dedicate Louise's headstone within a school year. This event whetted my appetite for more opportunities to educate the community about the unknown hero who had played such a key role in the Westward expansion.
Several years later, two groups of gifted students from Jim Bridger Eighth Grade Center raised $26,000 during a two year period to commission a statue of Jim Bridger by renowned sculptor, Tom Beard. The completed work (at the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence) was unveiled by two of Bridger's great grandchildren at a reception held a few days before the Old Scout's 200th birthday.
I am now the library media specialist at Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee Mission, KS. My former history club members were part of the findagrave.com team. During my club sponsorship, the students adopted the children's section of Elmwood Cemetery in Kansas City. Once a month, they cleaned the area and raised funds to purchase headstones for children in unmarked graves (http://www.theleaven.com/past_issues/_pdf/v31/Leaven10-30-09.pdf).
Memorial# 12676315 I hope all is well. See my last message to you? The memorials are still duplicated. I hope you and the other contributor can work this out. The cemeteries are side by side so it might be confusing. Let me know if you can't tell which cemetery these belong in. The other contributor seems to have trouble communicating, except to say she is correct (?).
Memorial# 12676315 Hello fellow Contributor, I just wanted to send you a quick heads up as there are two duplicate memorials created. However, I am unfamiliar with these cemeteries so I leave it up to you and the other memorial manager to sort it all out. They have such a beautiful and distinctive family gravestone that it should not be too hard, I think, to determine which cemetery they belong in.
In Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau, Marathon County Created first by: Judi Wollenziehn
Dennis Charles Brennan Memorial# 12676315 added: Dec 13, 2005 wife, Anna W Mary Brennan Memorial# 12675755 added: Dec 13, 2005
In Saint Joseph Cemetery, Wausau, Marathon County Created by: Kathleen Englebretson
Dennis Charles Brennan Memorial# 102401788 added: Dec 20, 2012 wife, Anna W Mary Brennan Memorial# 102401837 added: Dec 20, 2012
Goodykoontz family Hi Judy, I'm trying to tie up loose ends in my mother's family and saw that you did the memorial for Joe "Leslie" Goodykoontz #55776329. Do you know the family? His information matches exactly the Joseph Thomas Goodykoontz I have in my family except for the middle name ("Thomas" was on Joe's WW I draft registration). Joseph Thomas' first wife was Nellie Sheets, who was first cousin to my grandfather. The information I have is from a history written by Nellie's first cousin. Any ideas? Thank you for the memorials and your help.
Memorial# 38854504 Just updated "Hoot Gibson". William Melton Booker buried in Slate Cemetery, Red River, Texas. Is indeed the son of Frank and Texanna Salter of Monroe Cty. Alabama Please update your memorial for them. Thanks Allen
RE: Albert Sense Judi, Sorry...I edited as far as I could go with his birth, I believe it was. USA, WI, Marathon Co., and then when it came to the town, etc. the scroll downs never show the Town of Maine in Marathon Co., which is actually larger than the Town of Berlin which the scroll down shows...So that is why I said no scroll down for Maine. I meant the Town of Maine.
So what I usually do is add the Town of Maine to the biography part and say that there was no scroll down and say that the person was born or died in the Town of Maine, Marathon Co., WI.
Edits Greetings Judi, sent a few edits, nice bio, I'm just a hop, skip and a jump from Bishop Meige. Small world Indeed. Where abouts was that farm, I had quite afew Aunts and Uncles that owned farm land in what is now Noland Road.