Friday, December 12, 2008

An accusation carved in stone

One of the most eye-catching sites within the bounds of Greenwood Cemetery in downtown Orlando is the Weeks mausoleum, mostly because just about everybody around this little corner of heaven was buried in the ground.

Anyway, if ye rabbits are brave enough to closely inspect the mausoleum, you will find a curious Bible verse (Luke 10:30):

"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves."

There's a fairly humorous story behind that inscription.

It seems Fred S. Weeks came to these parts from Quincy, Illinois, in the late 1800s, and began searching for a good piece of land to start an orange grove.

He traveled the countryside and came upon a promising parcel of land that some locals were already clearing for that purpose. They were piling up the scrub brush in a pile and burning it to make way for rows of new citrus trees.

Seeing this, Mr. Weeks eagerly made an offer on the property, figuring the current owner had already done the hard work of clearing it. He should have been slightly suspicious when his offer was accepted just as quickly . . .

When he and his wife went out to the property to build their new home, they discovered all the smoke from the scrub fires had masked the view of the entire tract of land. As it turned out, clear skies revealed a boggy marsh unsuitable for citrus. They had been swindled!

Exhausting all normal means of recovery from the swindlers, Mr. Weeks erected his mausoleum in Greenwood Cemetery. At the time, as pointed out in previous posts, the cemetery did double duty as a public park and had quite a lot of pedestrian traffic. So, you can imagine how embarassed the swindlers were when they found their names had been chiseled below the aforementioned Bible verse for all their neighbors to read!

Long story longer, they settled-up with Mr. Weeks and he allowed them to pay someone to remove their names. (You can still see the "blank" space beneath the verse where the swindler's names used to be listed!)

References:
* 1870 Census, Adams County, Illinois, page 427b.
* 1880 Census, Adams County, Illinois, page 589a.
* 1900 Census, Orange County, Florida, page 45b.
* 1910 Census, Orange County, Florida, page 206b.
* 1920 Census, Orange County, Florida, page 130b.

4 comments:

Apple said...

The year of death is not complete. Is Mr Weeks actually entombed there? Neat story!

wsmv said...

You know, I'm not certain of that, but am following-up! I'll post the results of my sleuthing here, I promise!!

Don Price said...

He is there. Fred S. Weeks (79) DOD 8/08/1918.

Don Price, Sexton
Greenwood Cemetery

wsmv said...

Thanks for that, Don!