A Headstone for Thomas

This campaign is to raise funds to pay for a headstone for my Scottish ancestor, Thomas Carmichael, whose grave at Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens, New York, has never been marked.

Thomas, a ship steward, died from a fatal injury in New York in 1939. His descendants have long perpetuated a tale that he had been brutally murdered on Manhattan's docks, robbed for his wages, when he disembarked from a tourist ship one night on a short visit. For almost one hundred years, we have believed his life ended in homicide, but we have since learned a lot more.

After years of research I have discovered that Thomas led a free-spirited life, remarkably different from the usual stories of ancestral lives. Unbeknown to his descendants, Thomas became a US Citizen, lived in Manhattan Village, worked for the ill-reputed United Fruit Company travelling to exotic lands and died in the city's notorious Bellevue Hospital. Prior to life in the USA, Thomas worked on Scottish mail shipping routes and carried out covert duties with the Royal Navy as part of a top secret operation at Hawkcraig, detecting German U-Boats. World-famous medical detective Milton Helpern MD carried out the autopsy on Thomas and from his notes I was able to trace Thomas's resting place to Maple Grove.

Sadly, the lives of those in unmarked graves become quickly forgotten. By marking Thomas's grave, I hope to preserve the life story of a 1920s and 30s Human of New York and all of the social history he represents, much of which is  overlooked in our classroom lessons and risks being lost through time.

I hope to raise enough to fund a simple, humble pillow stone grave marker and cover the cemetery's foundation cost, to memorialise my ancestor for his future descendants and for everyone with a passion for preserving Scottish and New York history.

Thank you for taking the time to learn Thomas's story and for your contribution to this campaign, no matter how small.

In donating to this project you are helping to bring history to life.




  • Katie Carmichael 
    • £25 
    • 2 mos


Katie Carmichael 
Alloa, Scotland, United Kingdom
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