Jennie Palmer Buckbee
Not Exactly the Edgar Allen Poe “Gravesite Toaster”
Who exactly was the “Poe Toaster”? For over seven decades, an unidentified person paid an annual tribute to American author Edgar Allan Poe by visiting the commemorative stone which marks his original grave in Baltimore, Maryland, in the early hours of January 19th, Poe’s birthday. This stranger would pour a glass of Martell cognac and raise a “toast”. He then arranged three red roses on the monument in a distinctive configuration and departed, leaving the unfinished bottle of cognac.
So, as the story goes … Jennie was born on April 11, 1833 in New York State. She was born Abbie Jane Palmer, the daughter of Salmon and Abbie Jane (Sears) Hubbard and was subsequently adopted by Dr. Alexander S. and Jane Palmer. A.J. Palmer graduated from the Rockford Ladies Seminary (Rockford College) in 1854, the first class of this institution. She was aged 21 at that time.
On February 18th, 1863, A.J. Palmer, a.k.a. Jennie Palmer, married Francis Asbury Buckbee. Francis A. Buckbee and Jennie Palmer Buckbee moved to Lake Geneva. Francis A. Buckbee became a Justice of the Peace for the Town of Geneva from 1877 to 1886. He was also Justice of the Peace for Lake Geneva from 1881 to 1896 and 1902 to 1905. Constitutional amendments abolished the position of Justices of the Peace in 1966, and thereafter municipal courts and judges were created. The Buckbee farm was located in the Town of Lyons, and that is how the road got its name.
Francis A. Buckbee died in 1907 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lake Geneva, WI. Jennie Palmer Buckbee died on April 20, 1918 at age 85 and was buried next to her husband in the Buckbee cemetery plots. At the time of her death, pursuant to her Last Will and Testament, Jennie Palmer Buckbee directed that ornamentation of her gravesite lot at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lake Geneva, WI, be carried out. For more than one hundred (100) years the tradition of placing flowers has been continued at the gravesite of Jennie Palmer Buckbee, all pursuant to the Last Will & Testament.
Attorney Ed Thompson is the current “Gravesite Toaster” who sees to it that appropriate ornamentation and flowers are placed on the Jennie A. Palmer Buckbee gravesite.