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Slab for fudge was actually gravestone lost from Michigan cemetery nearly 150 years

The Charlotte Observer logo The Charlotte Observer 9/23/2021 Chacour Koop, The Charlotte Observer

The slab was used by a family to make fudge for many years.

With a perfectly square shape and smooth surface, it was perhaps perfect for the job. Fudge-makers often use marble slabs to cool their creation, transforming liquid into solid.

But when a resident saw the slab for sale in an online auction in Michigan, he got in touch with The Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries.

Why? Because on the reverse side of the slab — the side not used to make fudge — was etched the name of Peter J. Weller, who died Dec. 26, 1849. This slab was actually a gravestone.

“I came across it on a local auction house, and I’m really into genealogy,” Walter Anderson told WILX. “So, I saw this headstone — let me just punch it in on my computer to see if I can find out who this guy was.”

Peter J. Weller was a pioneer and businessman in the Lansing area who was initially buried at the Oak Park Cemetery in the city, according to The Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries. His grave was moved 26 years after his death to the Mt. Hope Cemetery, the group said.

“Most likely it was just one of those unfortunate things that happens when you’re moving almost 2,000 bodies and the monuments and markers that go with them and something got lost in the transition,” Loretta Stanaway, the president of The Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries, told WILX.

For the past 146 years, the gravestone has been lost until an auctioneer found it at a home in Okemos in the Lansing area.

“No one in family knew how or when they came to be in possession of it,” Stanaway told MLive.com. “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.”

The auctioneer donated the monument after learning it belonged on Weller’s unmarked grave at the Mt. Hope Cemetery. No living descendants have been found.

Weller’s gravestone has been cleaned and placed on his grave next to where his two daughters are buried. A dedication ceremony for the monument will be held this weekend — 172 years after Weller’s death.

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