John of Grand Haven originally asked about a grave he saw on Lakeshore Drive near Kirk Park. "I can't seem to locate it anymore," he wrote. "What happened to it? I think the name was Dechenne or something similar."
Here's what I've found out since this Mailbag was first posted Nov. 6:
The grave of Mathilda DuShane is indeed on the east side of Lakeshore Drive, just north of the entrance of Kirk Park. The marker says she was the daughter of Peter and Mary DuShane of Agnew, and she was just 17 days old when she died Aug. 8, 1872.
Kelly of Grand Haven called me and said she had been in contact with a descendant of the girl, and the elderly man told her the history of the grave. Kelly was told the family used to own the farm in that area in the 1800s, and later fought the state and the county to maintain the grave under the big old tree.
The grave is surrounded by a wrought-iron gate. A new marker has been added in recent years.
If you would like to see photos of the grave, CLICK HERE.
There is also a grave inside Kirk Park, surrounded by a wood fence. There is no name on a worn headstone, just "Aged 5 yrs. 5 mos. 3 days."
In his "Directory: People in Ottawa County," Dr. Wallace Ewing explained that the grave dates back to 1856. Ewing says a 5-year-old Native American boy, Ponesso, is buried there. The boy's father, Chief William Cobmoosa, drowned in 1870 and is buried at Lake Forest Cemetery. The boy's mother, Sophia Cobmoosa, died in 1874 and is also buried at Lake Forest Cemetery.
"Chief Cobmoosa visited the Kirk Park area for its clay, which the women fashioned into pottery while the men hunted," Ewing explains. "While on one of these expeditions in 1856, his 5-year old son died and was buried there.
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