First of two parts
Almost two years after I first wrote about the lost Cody cemetery, I’m no closer to finding it. But I have learned more about three of the six people buried there and the loved ones they left behind.
The cemetery was only used for a few years until nearby Sandon was incorporated in 1898 and a new and better burial ground was established to serve both communities.
The Cody cemetery appears to have been abandoned afterward. The late Gene Petersen alluded to it in his posthumously-published autobiography, and might have known its exact location, but if so he took it to his own grave.
The first burial, and only one known to have been marked, was that of William Tonkin, struck by lightning while prospecting on June 13, 1892. Because no cemetery yet existed in the area and it was difficult to remove his body, he was interred along the trail to the Freddie Lee mine.
Then on January 4, 1893, miners Martin Flaherty and Frank Switzer were caught in an avalanche at the Freddie Lee. When their bodies were finally recovered seven months later, they were laid to rest alongside Tonkin — although I didn’t realize that until I came across this critical mention in the Grand Forks Miner of January 9, 1897: “The cemetery at Cody, which serves for Sandon also, contains but three graves, those of two men who perished by a snowslide, and one who was killed by lightning.”
The next burial was not until August of that year, when Jacky Lilly of Sandon died. The cause was not reported, although the Mining Review noted that “the poor little fellow had been a sufferer for a long time.” His body was taken to Cody by train and buried the next day.
I have since discovered that Jacky was born Albert Edward John Lilly in New Westminster on October 5, 1892 — so he was not yet five when he died. He was the son of William Henry Lilly and Catherine Amelia McGrath, born in Port Stanley and Demorestville, Ont., in 1849 and 1861 respectively.
Although it’s unclear when they married or what brought them west, by 1887 William was a justice of the peace and ‘retail trader’ at Donald, a railway town between Revelstoke and Golden. In 1897, he was station agent for the Kaslo and Slocan Railway and subsequently Sandon’s city clerk, coroner, police and stipendiary magistrate, a school trustee, and secretary of the local Masonic Lodge.
Jacky had two sisters, Stella Andrie, born somewhere in BC in 1890, and Jessie Irene, born in Sandon after his death.
In August 1902, William went missing. Or at least he left Sandon, and his “whereabouts are unknown to the officials of the government.” Before he departed, he collected $143 owed to two parties in small debts court, but only paid $60 to one of them.
I’m not sure if he was actually accused of absconding with the money, but the following month, his appointments as magistrate and coroner were rescinded. Soon after, the provincial government settled up with the aggrieved parties.
By 1904, the family was in Northport, Wash. where William was by turns a deputy marshal, telegraph operator, and storekeeper for the smelter. He died there in 1912, age 63.
Jessie attended Pullman college and Stella apparently went to Washington State University. Both taught at Lincoln high school in Tacoma. Neither ever married.
When Stella retired in 1952, the sisters moved into Tacoma’s historic Elliot Hall apartments. A man whom Stella taught became a co-owner of the building and renamed it the Lily Hall apartments in her honour, but left out one of the Ls. (It has since reverted to its original name.)
Upon being informed that her $250 per month rent would be raised $25, Stella told her former student she would not pay any more than she already was, and never did.
Jessie died in 1973, age 73.
A neighbouring tenant said Stella — better known as Miss Lilly — would have tea on the back porch every day, weather permitting, and often fall asleep in a chair.
Cheryl Schliemann, who with husband John owned the building from 1988 to 2006, told me Stella hoped to live out her remaining days there but was moved to a nursing home in 1986. She died three days later, age 96.
An estate sale was held in her former apartment.
“They just went through and put a price on everything,” Cheryl says. “Very sad. Everything Stella had was antique. My husband and I had been in her apartment a few times deciding if we wanted to buy the building. It was like stepping back in time.”
From 1937 to 1939, Stella apparently toured Asia, as she collected a box of maps, tourist pamphlets, magazines, books and other literature on Japan, Shanghai, and China, which are now in the University of Puget Sound archives.
A fellow tenant bought a box of Stella’s family photos along with a 1920 college yearbook in which Jessie appeared. When the tenant moved out, she gave them to Cheryl, who in 2006 tracked down a surviving Lilly cousin in the Midwest and sent them the photos.
Most of the pictures were of the Seattle-Tacoma area. One showed the sisters with their parents, but none depicted Jacky. Cheryl never knew they had a brother.
Next: Who was Mrs. L.N. Remillard?