Amateur sleuths track down the Dees burial place

Reproduced with permission of Irene Adams

20 October 2012 (14:30)

Hello Peter

Just back from a few very eventful days in Cornwall and after many phone calls and lots of mileage we did eventually find where Joseph has been buried!! But first, the story.

A few weeks ago, because you couldn’t confirm whether he had been buried or cremated, I rang the local Crematorium offices who were of little help. So I rang the Records Office. Again no help. Then a few funeral directors: too long ago, they couldn’t help either. Then I went onto Facebook (you know of it?) and looked for Barron-Hamilton and found a Susan and Tim Barron-Hamilton living in Brisbane, Australia! I wrote her a message asking if she was to do with The Firs1 and if so did she remember Joseph – and I got a reply!! She said she had been the owner of The Firs and that she remembered Joseph being buried and that “his brothers attended”(??), but couldn’t remember where as it was so long ago. So at least we knew he had in fact been buried.

Before we left last Monday morning, I noted down a couple of local (to Zimapan/Illogan) cemeteries. Trawled round one near Zimapan on Monday afternoon. No luck. Rang phone number on notice board: unobtainable.

Also went to Zimapan. The Thorringtons let us in and showed us around and agreed we could call back on Wednesday to take some photos.

On Tuesday, we went to Illogan where we found Karenza (where the Dees moved to from Zimapan), then went up the road to the cemetery. Again no luck finding a grave and the number on notice board but it was unobtainable! We then decided to go into Redruth library on the off-chance of finding an obituary. Just as we were about to give up, we found one in the 13 June 1991 edition of the West Briton! He was buried in Charlestown Cemetery (with Daisy May), which is on the south coast side of Cornwall near St Austell!! (We didn’t find an obituary for Daisy May in April/May 1982).

We headed straight over there and over an hour later we arrived at the cemetery, but couldn’t find his grave. I rang the phone number on the notice board but it was unobtainable!! So we called on the vicarage of the local church further down the road and were given an up-to-date Council enquiries number. I rang and was transferred to the Burials Officer, but he’d gone home as by now it was 5pm!! Anyway, I spoke to him the next morning and he gave me the grave number. I asked if there was a headstone and he confirmed that there wasn’t, so I asked for the name on the one next to the plot. We then drove back down there (we were actually staying in St. Ives!!) and went to “section C, row 33, grave no.5“!!

We found it easily, though of course it was only a strip of grass. But bless him (ed. Burials Officer), he’d been down in the meantime from his office in Bodmin and had placed a plot marker for us. Can’t believe that the Dees were buried so far away from where they’d lived, but I know from Facebook that there are quite a few Aberdeens and Dudart-Aberdeens in that area (I think I told you I wrote to one some time ago enquiring if related, but got no reply), so that probably explains it.

Her son Maxwell and two grandsons (an F and a J, Johnny?) attended Joseph’s burial after a service at Redruth Roman Catholic Church.

On Wednesday, we went back to Zimapan and though they (ed. Thorringtons) were very welcoming again, they had decided they didn’t want any photos taken of their home. They mentioned they’d already had the man from Mexico [ed. Jamie Frank Williams2] round who took some pictures.

The dining-room (as I knew it) to the right of the entrance hall, together with the corridor leading to a single bedroom and on into the Dees bedroom, has been knocked into one large dining-room – so impressive – with the one room now having three sash windows and two fireplaces. It’ll be the only room they hope to get finished for their Christmas dinner, apart from the already completed lovely kitchen/breakfast room which is in the area at the back that was originally the sitting-room of the “holiday let” and had been extended further to the rear a few years ago.

It also appears that the electric meter had been bypassed and a pipe had been connected to the gas pipe to siphon off gas from the main gas supply. There was also evidence that psychoactive plants had being grown there. Various articles that were found lying around there suggested that the house had once been used as a brothel.3 Oh Mrs Dee would have been heartbroken!

We will forward you a photo of Karenza later if you want one. It’s just a double-fronted modern-ish bungalow with the name on the wall. However, a neighbour confirmed that it was the house where the Dees had lived in the late 1970s. Also a photo of the cemetery with the plot marker, and a copy of the obituary.

Irene Adams (née Fulford)

1. The nursing home where Joseph and Daisy May DLDM were residents.
2. The great grandson of Charles Rule Williams who originally named the house Zimapan
3. During occupation by squatters while the house was unoccupied.

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