William Humphreys Tomb?

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This Gothic tomb hugs the side of a hillside in Bellefontaine Cemetery; I could find no writing on it, just a plaque in the ground to the right of the tomb with “Wm. Humphreys” written on it.

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I have no idea what the story is behind the obviously sealed entrance and window, filled with cement

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The erosion on the stone has erased clues as well.

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  1. Asking the obvious (and NOT a diss) but – the cemetery has no information on the burials? I thought that it might, at least for ones over 100 years old. It would seem good publicity – but I guess a cemetery of the stature of Bellefontaine does not need that, huh?

    I notice the two details (name?) on the ends arch (word?) surrounding the window are different; I thought the one on the left had just eroded, but on closer examination it is definitely “blank,” unlike its sibling on the right. It is also a different shape.
    Is that some kind of funerary message about the life of the person entombed or death or life itself?

    • I went on a weekend, so the office wasn’t open. It’s almost more fun to see if my readers can solve the mystery!

  2. I know Calvary has good records, I don’t know how Bellefontaine is. Calvary told me they could help me locate my great-grandfather’s tomb. Of course in that case I know the name just not the location.

  3. I don’t know anything about the tomb, but I’m willing to bet it’s the resting place of William Humphreys, who was born in England in 1800, came to America and started out as a rope-maker, and ultimately made a lot of money in land speculation (a chunk of land in Lafayette Square, around Hickory Street, was – and still is – platted as “Humphreys’ Addition” in 1866; he also speculatively owned land in “Carondelet City” and outlying counties). I believe he died in the late 1860’s, and it seems like he left relatively few things to his children (there were at least 4 of them), choosing instead to sell off most of his possessions.

    Maybe the concreted tomb door, and lack of nearby Humphreys family plots, is a result of his choice to sell off his belongings rather than pass his wealth on to his children (alienate the family = nobody subsequently cares about the tomb or the man inside = nobody bothers to look after the thing)? Obviously, that’s a total guess…

    …it’s pretty crazy what kinda information a person can dig up on the internet…

  4. There was also a slightly later William Humphreys who was somewhat of a mover and shaker – he was involved with some other STL names (still prominent) who started what was called the “Tunnel Railway of St. Louis,” which was apparently a connector line of some sorts between major RR lines in the City through a tunnel from near the riverfront to a point somewhat West. He was functioning in the 1870s and later – I could find nothing more about him, though.
    This Humphreys’ middle initial was “S.” and I think the fellow that Pete mentioned had an initial of “A.”
    The story on the Railway is at http://books.google.com/books?id=LKspAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA550&lpg=PA550&dq=william+humphreys+st+louis&source=bl&ots=W-mBFl7bhL&sig=zrdaGCgR9G9Ytv9KhbVdjHo6YwA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1FvNU8vxCcamyASooIHYAg&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=william%20humphreys%20st%20louis&f=false

    I like Pete’s story better, though… 🙂

      • Correct; the tunnel in question is described as running from 3rd & Washington, underneath the “congested” city, to Spruce.

        And as it turns out, there were quite a few “William Humphreys” in STL back then…and it seems like every William Humphreys had a son named William Humphreys…which makes doing any research plenty confusing…but I’m gonna try to figure out a little more on this railroad tunnel guy…

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