(Reposted from Xanga)
I stopped for about an hour on 12/29/11, at Inglewood Community Cemetery, just west of Los Angeles, to pay respects to the first American member of the Baha’i Faith. He was Thornton Chase (1847-1912). After an upbringing in the Baptist Church, and some dabbling in the teachings of the mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, Mr. Chase encountered the Baha’i Faith, while living in Chicago in the 1890’s. He became the first American Baha’i, in 1895, and confirmed his faith further, by visiting ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land, in 1899.
Mr. Chase moved to Los Angeles in 1909, a move orchestrated by his employer, so as to diminish his involvement in Baha’i. It only resulted in his being more involved, as he traveled the West Coast for business, and spent time with Baha’is in the Bay Area and in Seattle, in the course of his professional duties. His funeral in early October, 1912 was attended by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and nearly a hundred other Baha’is.
His grave site is elegantly marked:
The inscription at the top of his tombstone is in Arabic, and translates in English as “God is the Most Glorious”.