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Gravestone of Lansing pioneer returns to Mt. Hope Cemetery after being lost for 146 years

Posted at 7:59 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 23:16:29-04

LANSING, Mich. — Peter J. Weller was a Lansing pioneer whose gravestone was lost in 1875. Now it's been found and will be restored and placed on his grave in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Weller was a well-known Lansing businessman who owned a restaurant in what used to be known as Upper Town on the west side of Cedar Street.

Peter J. Weller was a Lansing pioneer

He died the day after Christmas in 1849 and was buried at Oak Park Cemetery.

"Then in 1874, when the city opened Mount Hope cemetery...burials from Oak Park were moved to Mount Hope," said Loretta Stanaway, president of Friends of Lansing's Historic Cemeteries.

Stanaway said the headstone was lost during the move and showed up in a family's home where they were using it to make fudge.

Peter J. Weller's headstone ended up in California

"It showed up in a family's home when an auctioneer went to assess the property for an auction, and no one in the family seemed to know how they came to be in possession of it," Stanaway said.

They weren't related to Weller at all.

The auctioneer put the headstone on his website and a man in California, Walter Anderson, saw it and contacted the Friends of Lansing's Historic Cemeteries.

"When that headstone popped up, and I saw that it was Lansing, that's when I went to do a genealogical search. And all the information just started rolling in," Anderson said.

Stanaway said the auctioneer agreed to, "pull it from the website and to take it out of circulation for sale."

Friends of Lansing's Historic Cemeteries got permission from the city to put the monument back in its rightful place, after searching and finding no surviving relatives for Weller.

Weller's gravestone will be put back in its rightful place, which is next to his daughters, Lucretia and Christina.

A preservationist will be working Saturday and Sunday to clean the gravestone and create a foundation for it so it can be put up.

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