Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed your holiday season. It’s been non-stop rain here in Atlanta but the sun just came out today. YAY!
Last time, I shared the story of a tragic train accident that took the lives of three people buried at Malvern Cemetery in Iowa. Today, I’m going to share some more stories about those buried there.
So often we see a gravestone and have little idea of who the person was or what was the cause of their demise. However, thanks to the efforts of Find a Grave volunteers and better access to historic books and documents, we have more opportunities to fill in the blanks now.
One example is Andrew Scott. I photographed his marker partly because it features a handsome example of the Modern Woodmen of America seal. I’ve written about Woodmen/Woodman in its various forms in other posts. Joseph Cullen Root founded MWA in 1883 but eventually was ousted when fellow leaders disagreed with him. He started Woodmen of the World soon after.
A local newspaper called the Glenwood Opinion reported:
He was about 21 years of age and loved by all who knew him for his upright character. He went to New Mexico for his health and it was thought he was entirely cured. The immediate cause of death was from disease of the throat. Those who were with him at the time of his taking off pronounced him as having been resigned beyond the lot of most young people, coming to his end with the peace which passes all understanding.
I’m not sure what “disease of the throat” killed poor Andrew but I’m sure his parents were devastated. They are buried close by. When I looked up his father, Samuel, I read another rather tragic story. By 1910, he and Andrew’s mother, Teresa, were living in Lincoln, Neb.
According to the account I read, Samuel was riding on a streetcar in Lincoln when he experienced a sudden fit of paralysis (possibly a stroke). I can’t imagine how frightening that must have been. A few days later, he had what was probably a second stroke and died at home. A Civil War veteran, Samuel was 68 years old when he died.
When I looked at Samuel’s records on Ancestry, a descendant had noted that Samuel had been an invalid since 1875. The 1880 Census lists him as a farmer and the 1900 Census lists him as a dry goods merchant. There is a record of him receiving a Civil War invalid pension starting in 1879. Teresa received a widow’s pension after his death.
The obituary included this note of thanks that at least Samuel had help on that fateful day on the streetcar:
The family wish to extend to the motorman and conductor and also to their neighbor, Mr. L. Bauer, their sincere thanks for the kindness in assisting Mr. Scott after he was stricken while a passenger of the street car.
Teresa died 12 years later in 1922. Her parents, Andrew and Ellen Purcell (spelled Pursell on the monument), are also buried at Malvern Cemetery. Their monument lists nine of the children they had together. The first five were all born in other states before the Purcells settled in Iowa. Most of the ones listed died in infancy.
Ellen died in 1892 at the age of 71. Andrew remarried to Mary Dayuff and died in 1908 at the age of 89.
Monuments like the Pursell one are so valuable to descendants tracing their roots. It’s highly possible some of these infant children would never have been known about had it not been for their inclusion on this marker.
There are several Raines (also spelled Rains by some) buried at Malvern Cemetery. I noticed that the grave of John Raines was off by itself and I wondered why. I was not prepared for the tragic story that unfolded.
John Rains was the son of Henry Raines, the man who originally owned what became Malvern Cemetery, burying his youngest daughter Elizabeth their in 1857. John married Elizabeth Williams in Pettis County, Mo. in 1847. By 1853, they had five children, James, Mary, Taylor, Elliot and Elizabeth. On July 3 of that year, a Sunday, John went to church and left Elizabeth at home with their children, including the eldest, James.
According to accounts I read, a slave named Sam owned by the neighboring Henry France family came to the Raines farm and tried to force himself on Elizabeth. She ran but he allegedly beat her to death when she attempted to get an axe from the nearby woodpile. He then allegedly beat the children to silence them before fleeing the scene. One or two of the children died, accounts vary.
When John got home, he found Elizabeth dead by the woodpile and James looked to be nearly so. But James revived and told his father what he had seen. After Sam was apprehended, he first denied it, blamed his brother, then admitted he had done it but only under the behest of his owner’s son, William France, a known troublemaker.
What happened over the next days was horrifically predictable for the times. You can read the details here but Sam was eventually forced out of his jail cell in Georgetown, Mo. by an angry mob. The mob chained him to a tree and set a fire around it that eventually killed him. Nothing was ever done to William France but the family moved to another part of Missouri shortly after.
John moved with his surviving children to Mills County and was appointed postmaster of Fayette six months before he remarried to Martha Goode in December 1857. They had one son, William, before John died from tuberculosis in 1859 at age 33. Martha and William eventually moved to Enid, Okla. She died in 1914 and is buried at Malvern Cemetery with no marker. Elizabeth is buried in Old Union Cemetery in Georgetown, Mo. in an unmarked (or unphotographed) grave.
I learned that both James and Taylor lived to adulthood and moved to other states. William, John Raine’s child with Martha, also lived to adulthood. He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Enid, Okla.
Finally, I found a marker for David H. Robinson and his wife, Cynthia. A native of Indiana born in 1844, David and his family had moved to Iowa by 1860. He married Cynthia Darnell in May 1863. They had one son in 1864. David and his younger brother, Howard, enlisted in the 36th Iowa Infantry in February 1864, little knowing what fate awaited them.
David and Howard were in Company D of the 36th, which took part in the disastrous Battle of Marks Mill in Arkansas in April 1864. They were among many in the 36th Iowa Infantry taken prisoner and sent to Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas, the largest Confederate-run prison west of the Mississippi River.
During the course of the war, the total number of prisoners who passed through Camp Ford was slightly more than 5,500. Although a good spring provided clean water and the Confederate guards slaughtered cattle to supply the prisoners fresh beef, prisoners had no shelter from the sun or rain except improvised huts or blankets. As the numbers of prisoners rose, the sanitary conditions declined precipitously, leading to many deaths from exposure, chronic diarrhea, and disease.
In spite of those conditions, about 327 prisoners died in captivity, giving the camp a mortality rate of 5.9 percent, one of the lowest of any Civil War prison. Compared to Georgia’s Andersonville, prisoners at Camp Ford at least had a chance at surviving until a prisoner exchange freed them.
The brothers survived their year-long confinement. Accounts indicate the 36th Infantry prisoners were released in May 1865 through a prisoner exchange, returning to their regiment to fight at Jenkin’s Ferry before mustering out in August 1865. The brothers returned to Iowa. Both brothers continued farming and were also ordained to preach.
David and Cynthia had several more children before he died in 1895. Cynthia died in 1919. Brother Harold, who married in 1895 in Nebraska, moved to Spokane, Wash. before he died in Los Angeles, Calif. in 1917. He is buried in Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont, Calif.
It was time to head on for Villisca and its infamous Murder House. You’ll want to come back for that and my visit to the Villisca Cemetery.