Here’s what I’d like to know. If they loved these cats so much that they’d bury them in Aspin Hill Memorial Park, underneath a solid granite tombstone, why couldn’t they have come up with more imaginative names than Cat #1 and Cat #2?
Timmie was, by all accounts, and extraordinary cat. For one thing, he loved birds. Most cats would rather eat them than befriend them. But Timmie would let them perch on his head or his back. Once he had a baby robin as a companion, but it had to be released into the wild. His owner bought him a pair of ducklings. Timmie loved those ducks, and was devastated when they had to be sent away because they were too big to keep in a city apartment. They were replaced by a baby chick. Timmie’s most famous avian pal was Caruso, a canary who belonged to Calvin Coolidge. Timmie was so enamored of Caruso that Coolidge gave him to the cat for keeps.
Continue reading Timmie the Cat
Tipperary Mary was indeed a great jumper. In 1928, with a 13-year-old boy on her back, she jumped to victory at the National Capital Horse Show at Bradley Farms in Chevy Chase. Young Don Bradley and his little brown mare competed in the “Touch-and-Out” event, involving a series of jumps up to four feet high. According to the report in The Washington Post, Tipperary Mary was the only horse in a field of 39 who completed the course perfectly on her first try.
By 1934, Tipperary Mary belonged to Jean Barnsley of Olney, Maryland. She was an avid equestrian who competed in a charity horse show that year in Montgomery County. The pair took first place in the “handy hunter” class, which involves a course that attempts to replicate the turns and jumps of hunting. Tipperary Mary continued to compete at 25 years of age.
Donald Bradley, who rode Tipperary Mary to local fame in 1928, married her owner, Jean Barnsley, some time between 1935 and 1940. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I like the idea of this remarkable horse bringing them together. Tipperary Mary died in 1951 at the age of 36. The Bradleys’ shared devotion to the spirited Tipperary Mary led them to bury her at Aspin Hill Memorial Park with this beautiful gravestone.
Inscription: TIPPERARY MARY THE GREAT JUMPER 1915-1951 Jean-Don & Donna Bradley Location: Aspin Hill Memorial Park N39° 04.745 W77° 04.662
“Eleven Big Events Inaugurate Horse Show in New Home: Donald Bradley, Only 13 Wins Coveted ‘Touch-and-Out’ Jumping Award.” The Washington Post, May 18, 1928, pg. 2.
“Gov. Ritchie Sees ‘The Hour’ Win Charity Horse Show: Crowd Ignores Showers as County’s Best Mounts Run and Jump.” The Washington Post, Sep 30, 1934, pg. M6.
“Horse Show Crown Again Won by Recall,” by Anne Hagnet. The Washington Post, Sep 15, 1940, pg. 3.
This gravestone caught my eye, and not just because of the noble German Shepherd dog whose photograph graces it. It was the inscription, “Mack Famous Seeing Eye Dog of George Ramey,” that got my attention. I wondered just how famous this dog might have been. I found the answer in the pages of three local newspapers of the period, The Washington Post, The Evening Star, and The Alexandria Gazette.
Continue reading Mack the Famous Seeing Eye Dog
During one of my many visits to Aspin Hill Memorial Park, I couldn’t help noticing Napoleon the Weather Prophet’s gravestone, especially when the afternoon sun gave it an orange cast. It stood out among mostly gray markers which surrounded it. When I read the inscription, I felt I simply had to investigate this cat.
Continue reading Napoleon the Weather Prophet of Baltimore MD
One of the most frequently repeated stories about Aspin Hill Memorial Park is that Petey from the Our Gang movies is buried there. As evidence, newspaper articles about the cemetery in Aspen Hill, Maryland point to the grave of General Grant of R.K.O., whose nickname was Jiggs.
When I visited General Grant of R.K.O.’s grave in 2012, I found a gravestone with a photo of a bulldog on it. That was my first clue that something was amiss. I knew already that all of the dogs who played Petey (there were three of them) were American pit bull terriers. I’ve never seen a bulldog in an Our Gang movie, nor were any of the dogs named Jiggs or General Grant.
Continue reading Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb? Not Petey of Our Gang.
For the first twenty-four years of my life, I lived less than two miles from the one of the oldest pet cemeteries in the United States. During those years, I never visited it, although I would occasionally hear stories about it. People would say that J. Edgar Hoover’s dogs were buried there as well as the dog “Petey” from the Our Gang movies.
Continue reading The Stories Behind the Stones