Trapp Family Cemetery, Stowe, Vermont (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Seasider53)
Trapp Family Cemetery, Stowe, Vermont | Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Seasider53
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Nestled amidst the serene beauty of Stowe, Vermont, lies a place of quiet reflection and poignant history—the Trapp Family Cemetery. Beyond the charming façade of the Trapp Family Lodge, this hallowed ground serves as the final resting place for several members of the von Trapp family, immortalizing their legacy and the indelible mark they left on the world.

The story of the von Trapp family, made famous by the beloved musical “The Sound of Music,” is one that has captivated hearts around the globe. However, their journey extended far beyond the silver screen. After embarking on a U.S. tour with the Trapp Family Singers in the early 1940s, the family found themselves enchanted by the picturesque landscapes of Stowe, Vermont. The rolling hills, lush forests, and tranquil ambiance of this region bore a striking resemblance to their homeland, Austria.

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Royalbroil)
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont | Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Royalbroil

Driven by a deep connection to the beauty of Stowe, the von Trapp family decided to make this enchanting town their new home. Their arrival marked the beginning of a beautiful chapter in the town’s history, and the Trapp Family Lodge was born.

The Trapp Family Cemetery is more than just a burial ground; it’s a connection to a rich and storied legacy. It serves as a reminder of the family’s enduring spirit and their love for Stowe. For fans of “The Sound of Music” and anyone captivated by this remarkable family’s history, a visit to this sacred place is a truly moving experience.

Listed below are just some of the notable family members buried at the Trapp Family Cemetery:

Maria von Trapp

Maria von Trapp Singer, the matriarch of the von Trapp Family, left an indelible mark on history and popular culture. While most people know her through the iconic character portrayed by Julie Andrews in the 1965 Academy Award-winning film “The Sound of Music,” Maria’s life was a remarkable journey of love, faith, and resilience.

Maria von Trapp (Photo Credit: Public Domain)
Maria von Trapp (Photo Credit: Public Domain)

Born as Maria Augusta Kutschera on a train en route to Vienna, Austria, her early years were marked by adversity. Her mother passed away when Maria was just two years old, and her father, seeking opportunities, left her in the care of a cousin. Raised as a socialist and atheist, she harbored skepticism towards organized religion.

It was during her college years that Maria’s life took a transformative turn. A chance visit to a crowded church, where she believed she was attending a Bach concert, led her to a life-altering encounter with Father Kronseder, a visiting Jesuit priest. Unable to leave the crowded church, Maria found herself captivated by his sermon. Afterward, she sought out Father Kronseder, demanding, “Do you believe all this?” Their subsequent discussions on matters of faith ultimately led to Maria’s conversion to Christianity.

In 1924, Maria entered the Nonnberg Benedictine Convent with aspirations of becoming a nun. However, fate had other plans. In 1926, she was sent to serve as a governess in the household of Captain Georg Ritter von Trapp, a widowed retired Austrian Navy Captain with seven children. The bond between Maria and Georg quickly blossomed into love, and on November 26, 1927, they exchanged vows. Maria embraced her role as the stepmother to Georg’s seven children: Maria, Rupert, Agathe, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, and Martina. Georg and Maria had three children together including Rosmarie, Eleonore, and Johannes.

During the challenging years of the Great Depression, when the von Trapp family business faltered, Georg turned to chicken farming to provide for his growing family. In 1936, Maria and family friend Monsignor Franz Wasner founded the Trapp Family Singers, a musical ensemble that would soon gain recognition and acclaim, receiving high honors at the 1936 Salzburg Music Festival.

The rise of Nazi Germany and the union of Austria with Nazi forces in the Anschluss in 1938 deeply troubled the von Trapp family. Their refusal to align with the Nazis was evident when they declined an invitation to perform at Adolf Hitler’s birthday celebration. Georg also rejected an offer of a commission in the German Navy. Faced with increasing Nazi pressure and the unsettling political climate, the family made the courageous decision to leave Austria for the United States in early 1939.

Their initial settlement in Merion, Pennsylvania, marked the birth of their youngest child, Johannes von Trapp. However, in 1942, they purchased the Gale Farm in Stowe, Vermont, which would later become the Trapp Family Lodge in 1950. This picturesque lodge, with its Austrian-style main building, offered guests breathtaking mountain views and became a beloved destination.

The passing of Georg von Trapp in May 1947 thrust Maria into the role of family matriarch. Her determination and resilience were evident in the years that followed. In 1950, urged by a family friend, she penned the family’s remarkable story in the book “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.” This book would later serve as the basis for the successful Broadway musical adaptation by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1959, followed by the beloved film “The Sound of Music” in 1965.

In 1957, the Trapp Family Singers disbanded, with its members pursuing individual paths. Maria, along with three of her children, embarked on a missionary journey to the South Pacific. After several years, she returned to Vermont, where she took on the management of the Trapp Family Lodge, a role she fulfilled until her passing in 1987, at the age of 82.

Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp

Georg Trapp, an Austrian Naval Officer, is a central figure in the remarkable saga of the von Trapp Family, whose captivating story inspired the iconic 1965 American musical drama film, “The Sound of Music.” While this beloved movie took creative liberties with their narrative, Georg Trapp’s real-life journey is no less captivating.

Georg and Maria von Trapp (Photo Credit: Public Domain)
Georg and Maria von Trapp (Photo Credit: Public Domain)

Born as Georg Trapp in Zara, Croatia, which was then part of the Austria-Hungary Empire, he followed in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in the Navy. His naval journey began at the naval academy in Fiume, where he graduated in 1898. His training included a fascinating two-year cadet program that even took him on a voyage to Australia.

In 1900, Georg was assigned to the cruiser “Queen Maria Theresia.” His exceptional dedication and performance of duty during the Boxer Rebellion in China earned him well-deserved decorations. Fascinated by submarines, he made a significant career shift in 1908 by joining the newly formed U-Boat Division. His expertise in submarine warfare led to his appointment as the commander of the newly commissioned Austrian submarine U-6 in 1910.

A significant milestone in Georg’s personal life occurred on March 1, 1912, when he married Agathe Whitehead, an Englishwoman. Their union would eventually bless them with seven children. Georg’s naval career was marked by remarkable achievements. He took command of the submarine U-5 in 1915, leading nine combat patrols. Later that year, he assumed command of the captured French submarine “Curie,” which was renamed U-14. Under his leadership, the U-14 conducted ten additional war patrols, successfully sinking 12 cargo ships totaling 45,670 tons, as well as two warships—the French cruiser “Leon Gambetta” and the Italian submarine “Nereide.”

In recognition of his exceptional service during World War I, Georg was promoted to Captain in May 1918. His contributions were further honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Maria Theresia and a knighthood, which added the titles Ritter and von to his family name.

Following the end of World War I and the collapse of the Austria-Hungary Empire, Georg settled in Salzburg, Austria. Tragedy struck in 1922 when his wife, Agathe, passed away from scarlet fever, leaving him as the sole caregiver for their children.

In 1926, Maria Augusta Kutschera, a young novice from the Nonnberg Benedictine Convent, was sent to be the governess for Georg’s children. Love blossomed swiftly between Georg and Maria, leading to their marriage on November 26, 1927. Maria embraced her role as the stepmother to Georg’s seven children, and the couple welcomed two more children, Rosemarie and Eleonore, in the following years.

The challenges of the Great Depression prompted Georg to adapt. In 1935, as banks collapsed and the family business faced hardship, he ventured into poultry farming to provide for his family. In 1936, along with his wife and family friend Monsignor Franz Wasner, he founded the Trapp Family Singers. Their talents soon garnered recognition, with high honors at the 1936 Salzburg Music Festival.

The turbulent political landscape in Austria, marked by the union with Nazi Germany in the Anschluss in 1938, deeply troubled Georg. He and his family refused to align with the Nazi regime, declining an invitation to perform at Adolf Hitler’s birthday celebration. Additionally, Georg turned down an offer of a commission as a Captain in the German Navy.

Amid increasing pressure from the Nazis to conform to the new regime, the von Trapp family made a courageous decision to escape the deteriorating political situation in Austria. After embarking on a tour through several European countries, they eventually emigrated to the United States. They initially settled in Merion, Pennsylvania, where their youngest child, Johannes von Trapp, was born.

In 1942, the family purchased the old Gale Farm in Stowe, Vermont. In 1950, this picturesque property was transformed into the von Trapp Family Lodge, featuring an Austrian-style main lodge and offering guests breathtaking mountain views.

Georg von Trapp’s passing in 1947 left Maria as the family’s matriarch. In 1950, Maria published the family’s story in the book “The Trapp Family Singers,” a narrative that would serve as the basis for a stage play in 1959 and the acclaimed film “The Sound of Music” in 1965. The movie garnered numerous awards, including five Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and Best Actress. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress recognized its cultural significance by archiving it in the National Film Registry.

Dr. Rupert von Trapp

Born in 1911 to Georg and his first wife, Agathe. He grew up to be a medical doctor known for his early career as an entertainer, he was part of the renowned Von Trapp family of singers. Fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria, they sought refuge in America, embarking on a nationwide tour. He passed away in 1992.

Agathe Johanna Erwina Gobertina von Trapp

Johanna Erwina Gobertina von Trapp, the daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead, played a pivotal role in the von Trapp family’s musical journey. After immigrating to the United States, the family signed record deals with RCA Victor and Decca Records, embarking on a remarkable tour that spanned 30 countries.

Agathe von Trapp, in addition to her music career, was actively involved in managing the Trapp Family Lodge and a summer music camp in Stowe, Vermont. Later in life, she shifted her focus to painting and illustration, and she also contributed to the operation of a kindergarten near Baltimore, Maryland, until her retirement in 1993.

In 2004, Agathe penned her memoir, “Agathe von Trapp: Memories Before and After the Sound of Music,” offering a personal glimpse into her life, both before and after the famous “Sound of Music” era. Her multifaceted journey exemplifies a life rich in creativity, dedication, and a commitment to sharing her unique experiences with the world.

Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp

As the second-oldest daughter of Georg Ludwig von Trapp and Agatha Whitehead von Trapp, she played a pivotal role as “Louisa” in the renowned Trapp Family Singers, whose captivating story served as the inspiration for the beloved musical “The Sound of Music.” Her melodic voice, singing second soprano alongside her sister Martina, contributed to the choir’s harmonious melodies.

In 1938, the von Trapp family made a courageous decision to leave Austria, fearing repercussions for declining to perform at Hitler’s birthday and rejecting a commission in the German Navy. They found refuge in the United States in 1938 and eventually settled in Vermont in 1942, where their music continued to captivate audiences across the nation.

Following the passing of Baron von Trapp in 1947, the family’s musical journey carried on until 1955. Subsequently, Maria von Trapp and her stepmother dedicated themselves to lay missionary work in Papua, New Guinea.

She held the distinction of being the last surviving member of the original seven von Trapp children of Georg and Agathe, a legacy that continued to resonate with admirers of their remarkable story. Maria passed away in 2014.

Von Trapp Family Singers (Photo Credit: Public Domain)
Von Trapp Family Singers (Photo Credit: Public Domain)

Werner von Trapp

Born just a few days before Christmas in 1915, Werner was the child of Georg and his wife Agathe. He was part of the von Trapp family singers. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 91.

Hedwig von Trapp

She held the distinction of being the fifth child of Georg and Agathe von Trapp, and her life journey was closely intertwined with the famed Trapp Family Singers and the Trapp Family Lodge. Following the disbandment of the Trapp Family Singers, she embarked on a teaching career that commenced in Honolulu.

In Hawaii’s capital, she took on the role of directing a children’s choir and imparting valuable skills in handicrafts, carpentry, and cooking to eager learners. Her dedication to education and nurturing young talents was evident in her work. As her teaching path unfolded, she eventually found herself in the tranquil heights of the Austrian Alps, where she continued to inspire and educate.

Her commitment to teaching and her enduring connection to the von Trapp legacy are testaments to her passion for sharing knowledge and fostering growth among her students.

Martina von Trapp

She was a cherished member of the renowned von Trapp Family singing group, whose captivating story inspired the iconic film and play, “The Sound of Music.” As the youngest of seven children born to Georg von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, with Maria von Trapp as her stepmother, she hailed from Klosterneuburg, near Vienna, Austria.

Martina’s early life was marked by the loss of her mother to scarlet fever shortly after her birth. In the film adaptation of “The Sound of Music,” she was portrayed as “little Gretl” by actress Kym Karath.

Martina later embarked on a new chapter in her life, becoming the beloved wife of Canadian Jean Dupire. Her role in the von Trapp family’s enduring legacy and her contributions to their remarkable journey continue to resonate with fans worldwide.

Conclusion

The Trapp Family Cemetery is located at 700 Trapp Hill Road in Stowe, Vermont.

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