St. Helena cemetery board seeks to raise $800 for gravestone

St. Helena cemetery board seeks to raise $800 for gravestone

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During its Jan. 30 annual meeting, the directors of the St. Helena Public Cemetery Association voted to raise $800 for a gravestone marking the Ambrose Bierce family plot.

According to Wikipedia, Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran. Bierce’s book “The Devil’s Dictionary” was named as one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature” by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration.

In 1885, the famed author and his family moved to St. Helena. This included his wife Mary Ann “Mollie” Day Bierce, sons, Leigh and Raymond (known as Day) and daughter Helen. The children were often noted in the newspaper coverage of St. Helena schools.

While Bierce resided at Angwin’s Resort, his family lived in rented quarters in town. By 1905, all had died and were buried in the St. Helena Public Cemetery. In 1889, Day, 19, was killed in a duel in Chico. In 1901, Leigh died of pneumonia at age 27. Their mother Mollie died in 1905.

Ambrose Bierce disappeared in Mexico around 1914 without purchasing a marker, so the Bierce family rests in anonymity in St. Helena.

Napa Marble & Granite Works said a simple gravestone and installation would cost $800. Donations of any amount may be made to the St. Helena Public Cemetery Association and are tax deductible. Mail to 2461 Spring St., St. Helena CA 94574. Call 963-3544 for more information.

Current board members are President John Sales, Vice President Darrell Quirici, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Rich Shurtz, Secretary Mariam Hansen, directors Dan Williams, Mike Thomas, Stephen Taplin, Susanne Salvestrin, and Howard Siegel.

Board members Richard Shurtz and Dan Williams were re-appointed. Issues before the board included the annual audit of the Endowment Care Trust Fund, financial results for the quarter, maintenance and office reports.

The association has been charged with managing the non-sectarian cemetery since 1872.

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