Monday, September 03, 2012

Taphophile Tragics: John Doe 13

One of the things I write about on my Oakland blog is history. And one way to learn about history is by studying cemeteries, where you can learn about all sorts of people who made and lived history. K and I recently took a trip to Kauai for a family reunion for my parents 50th anniversary, so I have some non-Oakland posts to write about.

I dragged K along to examine a couple of cemeteries during our recent trip to Kauai. Initially she was being nice and tagging along, but she quickly discovered why cemeteries can be interesting places to visit. While exploring at the Koloa Cemetery, she discovered this small, plain marker. There were a number like this; some were generic markers where no one had bought or made a headstone, but there were a surprising number of "John Doe" markers. In the U.S., John Doe is used as placeholder name for an unknown or unnamed man; similarly Jane Doe (or Roe) for a woman, and Baby Doe for an infant. It can be used in a legal document, but is also commonly used to refer to unknown people.

I couldn't find out much about the Koloa Cemetery. It's outside of town, marked by a small sign. It seems to be the public cemetery for the area. A nearby Catholic church has its own cemetery, and there are other cemeteries in other towns across Kauai. It's a relatively small cemetery, but has a variety of markers from the 1920s to the present, and being in Kauai, is in a beautiful setting.

Visit Taphophile Tragics for interesting posts about cemeteries around the world.