Headstone used to make fudge restored to Michigan gravesite after nearly 150 years


The headstone of Peter J. Weller (left) has been missing since 1875 when his grave was moved from Lansing’s Oak Park Cemetery to Mt. Hope Cemetery. Where it was for most of the past 146 years is a mystery. It was recently discovered in an Okemos home where the backside had been used to make fudge.Provided by Loretta S. Stanaway via MLive

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A headstone missing for 146 years has been returned to its gravesite, reports WLNS media partner MLive.

The headstone was used by an Okemos family to make fudge. It was discovered after the family’s matriarch moved into a nursing home and an auctioneer was hired to clean out her old home.

Brad Stoecker of Epic Auctions & Estate Sales said that he was “puzzled” after turning over a granite slab to discover it was a headstone, Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries President Loretta S. Stanaway told media partner MLive.

“No one in the family knew how or when they came to be in possession of it. The homeowners just said, ‘We used the backside of it to make fudge.’ We had no way to find out whether the family knew it was a legitimate monument or if they thought it was just a throwaway or something,” said Stanaway.

The cemetery group was alerted to the headstone’s existence by a former Lansing resident named Walter Anderson who saw the gravestone in an auction. Stoecker then donated the stone.

The five-foot-tall stone commemorated the resting place of grocer Peter J Weller, a settler who made his home in Lansing in 1845 and died in 1849. His grave was moved to Mt. Hope Cemetery in 1875, where his headstone was likely lost.

No living relatives of Weller could be found.

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