In the box of glass negatives from photographs taken by Joseph DeKorn there is an image that I wonder about. It seems to be an elaborate headstone for a man named Louis Van Wyck. Placed on top of the headstone is a cornet. The inscription reads, in part, “Last cornet solo played in Y.P.L. meeting June 18, 1911.”
His birth and death dates are also engraved on the headstone. He died the day after the cornet solo, on June 19, 1911. He was 17 years old–not a man, but a boy!
A photograph leans against the marblebase. He looks young and blond. The stone is further engraved with images and a poem.
Although I have his dates, I can’t find Louis through Ancestry’s search function–or Find-a-Grave either. So I turned to Genealogy Bank where I found one article about his memorial service.
Read it here: Louis Van Wyck memorial service. Note that the passage about the funeral is at the VERY END of this article.
I didn’t know what Y.P.L. on the headstone meant, but after reading about the Salvation Army hosting Louis’ memorial service, I looked it up online. It seems to mean Young People’s League. Now I have to admit I don’t know much of anything about the Salvation Army except that it is a Christian denomination and a charity, I sometimes donate furniture or clothing to them, and they (or volunteers like my family and friends) ring bells at Christmas outside shopping malls. I think Sarah in the musical Guys and Dolls belongs to a fictional representation of the Salvation Army.
That is kind of fitting because I just read up a bit and discovered that music has been important to the Salvation Army from the beginning. How fitting this headstone was, then, for poor Louis. But how did he die at such a young age? And how was he connected with Joseph DeKorn or my family? He would have been about 12 years younger than Joseph.
And why can’t I find him in documents in my initial search?
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