The answer, I decided, must be in father's family. Of all the people to whom he had given
his book, surely he must have given one to a relative. My path to his family lay in an obituary of his
mother that had been kept with his photographs.
Catharine Burnett Van Deusen had been a writer, herself, and the first female publisher of a newspaper in
Canon City Colorado. Her obituary said that her father was Henry Burnett, and that she was descended from Henry B. Gibson of
That, and the fact that her pallbearers were the Governor of Colorado and three generals!
From files in Canandaigua I followed threads that led to Henry Burnett, one of the special judge advocates at
the Lincoln Assassins Trial. Great grandfather, too, had turned out to be a writer.
In Goshen New York I found his memories of the trial. But on a huge tombstone he had had
made to guarantee that he would be remembered, was only the word BURNETT.
Someone had stolen great grandfather's plaque.
I found no relative who had father's book, but it seemed I had found another relative who needed my help.
I searched for the blueprint of the plaque but, in the end, found no trace.
Instead of saving father for the future, I'd just found another ancestor I hadn't
been able to help.