Thomases Buried in Corozal

Report #2 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to PanamaExactly a week after visiting the Vallee graves I returned to Corozal with my father’s cousin, Enrique, who showed me where my paternal grandfather’s siblings and their mother are buried.  Sadly, the cemetery is not well cared for and the state of the grave sites range from kinda bad to deplorable.

Garfield Thomas, the eldest of the six Thomas Beckles children, was buried towards the top of a hill.  He lived from 24 Dec 1910 through 30 Nov 1966.

The bottom line of Garfield’s gravestone inscription is obscured by the overgrown grass and weeds. The last three lines read as follows: “Sadly missed by wife Hortense & children George, Kenneth, & Deanna.”

Alwilda Thomas Nurse (second eldest) and Clyde Thomas (fourth-born) were laid to rest right next to each other in another section of the cemetery.

Clyde (center left) and Alwilda (center right) are the only members of the family buried this close to each other.

Though the headstones state Clyde passed away in 1980 and Alwilda died in 1981, Enrique remembers clearly that they died just a few days apart from each other, which is why it was possible for them to be buried in adjoining plots.

“Clyde E. Thomas / July 27 1919 / Agt 15 1980 / Sleep on.”

Enrique said that Alwilda’s gravemarker is the one that is correct and that they both passed away in 1981.

The inscription on Alwilda’s headstone reads: “In loving memory of Alwilda Nurse / Date of Birth January 25 1914 / Year of Death 1981 / Rest in peace dear mother”

Last but not least, my great-grandmother Clarissa Beckles Thomas was downhill from her eldest child, Garfield.  No exact dates are given for her birth or death but the headstone indicates she lived from 1886 through 1964. I can’t be sure how accurate the birthyear is. As I discussed in a previous post, the estimated birth years I arrived at for Clarissa based on her stated age in two different censuses are 1888 (1920 census) and 1885 (1930 census).  At least the information on her headstone doesn’t widen the window of time I’m looking at!

“In loving memory of Clarissa Thomas / Year of Birth 1886 / Year of Death 1964 / Rest in peace Granny”

There were only three out of the eight members of the Thomas Beckles clan whose graves we did not find at Corozal. My grandfather Kenneth passed away nearly a year ago in Florida and was buried next to my grandmother in New York, which leaves my great-grandfather Nathaniel and my great-aunt Carmen.  Does anyone else in the Thomas family know where they are buried?

I can’t imagine how much time it would’ve taken me to find those graves if I hadn’t been with Enrique, who knew where they all were. Mil gracias Enrique!

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