We had a pleasant surprise at Tolomato Cemetery yesterday when TCPA member Natalie Lucas brought Latrell Pappy Mickler to visit the cemetery. Latrell Mickler has written an excellent, story-rich book on her Minorcan ancestors, focusing particularly on the Papy and Pons families and their descendants.
She spent many years researching it, poring over records in the archives in St Augustine as well as personally interviewing other Minorcan descendants and finding records elsewhere. The result is a large book with factual accounts, some quite detailed, of the lives and deaths of many of the people buried at Tolomato Cemetery.
One particularly sad story concerns a vault that we worked on restoring this spring, the Oliveros-Papy vault (both, of course, families to whom Latrell Mickler is related).
One of the stones we cleaned was this pretty stone bearing the name “Nena” and a spray of roses, as well as the information that Nena was only 16 when she died.
And as sad as the death of any young person is, her story was even more tragic. Latrell told us the details: when Nena Papy was 16, she was accidentally shot and killed by her younger brother, 12 years old at the time. The killing, reported in the press, devastated the family and probably contributed much to the later unhappy life of the brother.
There is an account of the event in Latrell Mickler’s book, along with many other stories that remind us of the real people buried under these historic stones and our need to treat the cemetery with respect and care.