Welcome back to Maple Hill Cemetery! I’ve got more stories to share with you and an update on a child’s grave that I mentioned in last week’s post at the end.
While doing research for this week’s post, as is often the case, a common theme began to emerge. Among the many markers and monuments I photographed while I was there, I noticed that several belonged to physicians and their families. One of the most detailed was for Dr. Hector McNeill Grant.
You’ll notice that the Grant monument says “Children of Dr. H.M. and L.J. Grant” but two of them are with his first wife, Sarah Grant.
Physician and Senator
A native of Hopkinsville, Ky. born in 1823, Hector Grant came from a large family. He followed in his brother Joshua’s footsteps and became a doctor, studying at Louisville Medical College. In 1847, he married a young widow named Sarah Epps Griffin. She had one daughter, Eugenia, from her previous marriage. Eugenia would later marry Moses Berry Scaife in 1859.
Sarah gave birth to a daughter, Mary, on Dec. 2, 1847, who died a few years later on Oct. 22, 1851. She has her own marker, which I did not photograph. But her name is on the Grant monument. Daughter Sarah was born in 1853, living into adulthood and marrying a cousin, H.P. Grant. Son Joshua was born in 1854. He became a druggist and eventually operated a drugstore in Helena.
Cleburne was born on Oct. 10, 1859 and died exactly eight months later on June 10, 1860. His name is on the monument with Mary. Sarah Grant died on June 15, 1863 at age 38, for unknown reasons.
Dr. Grant injured his arm shortly before the Civil War when his horse fell on him. However, according to his obituary, he “rendered good service” by acting as a surgeon during the conflict. He married Araminta J. Blaine in 1865, who was 20 years his junior. He continued practicing medicine in Helena until he was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1866, where he served two terms. He would serve again in 1880, serving two more terms. He also served as mayor of Helena for a few terms.
Dr. Grant and Araminta had two children. Alexander was born on Oct. 18, 1866 and died a few months later. Addy, born on Sept. 19, 1867, died the same day. Their third child, Lillian, was born on Oct. 27, 1875. She married Leonce Landry in 1896 and had two daughters, Lillian and Ruth. She died in 1942 and is buried in Oakridge Cemetery in Clarksdale, Miss.
Dr. Grant died on April 6, 1905 at age 82. He left most of his estate to Araminta and Lillian. Unfortunately, I’m couldn’t find out when Araminta died. I did not photograph two sides of the monument, which had more information. She has her own single marker with her name but it is halfway submerged into the ground so no date is visible.
Dr. Frierson H. Rice
I couldn’t find a great deal of information about Dr. Frierson Hopkins Rice until I made the connection that his daughter, Emma, was the wife of Edward Pillow. I wrote about them last week and that their names were on the pillars of Maple Hill’s gates that were donated in 1914 when Emma died. You will see the name Frierson again.
Born in 1823 in Alabama, Dr. Rice married Margaret “Fannie” Cabber sometime around 1850. Emma was born in 1853, followed by Sue, Thomas (nicknamed “Hinchy”), and Ralph. Thomas is buried at Maple Hill but I’m not sure what happened to Ralph. There is an undated marker at Maple Hill for a Sue P. Rice.
Fannie died on September 28, 1870, I think she was about 42. I don’t know her cause of death.
Dr. Rice remarried to widow Mary Lambert on April 18, 1871. The wedding took place about a month after daughter Emma married Thomas Pillow on March 16, 1871. Dr. Rice died sometime in 1875 at about the age of 50. I could find no obituary for him and I don’t know when Mary died.
A Tale of Two Doctors
The last doctors I’m going to tell you about have been written about by many others over the years. If you want the fully documented story with references, I’m going to point you (again) to the wonderful blog of Cliff Dean. But I’ll give you the shorter version.
If you go up the hill toward the Confederate Cemetery, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Moore family monument and the smaller one beside it. The obelisk you see below is for John Petty Moore and his wife, Martha Ann Harris Moore. The marker topped with a dog to the right is for their murdered son, Dr. Emile Overton Moore.
John and Martha, who married in Mississippi in 1853, moved to Helena with son Overton. Son Frierson (sound familiar?) was born in 1856. Sallie arrived in 1860 and Lela was born in 1863. John operated a successful stable, along with other business interests in Helena. By the 1880 U.S. Census, Overton and Frierson (who both attended Kentucky University, which is now Transylvania University) were living with their parents but both practicing medicine in Helena. I believe they are connected in some way with the Rice family but I’m not sure how.
A Tragic Argument
Overton married Jenny Wright and started a family. But his marriage soured and his reputation began to tarnish in Helena. On Feb. 16, 1893 Captain Dan Peck, a well known builder, either had his arm or leg broken in an accident. Dr. Moore was sent for, but they couldn’t find him so a message was sent for Dr. Charles R. Shinault, who arrived soon after.
Dr. Shinault was treating Peck’s injury when Overton arrived. The two men argued. Moore summoned Shinault outside where he called him a “vile name.” Reaching into his coat and warning Dr. Shinault that he would “fix him”, Overton advanced. Shinault pulled out his .38 revolver and fired, killing him instantly. Dr. Shinault gave himself up to the sheriff and Overton’s body was removed to his father’s home.
The incident made headlines across the country. Some thought Dr. Shinault was jealous of Overton and had plotted his demise. But another newspaper stated that “Moore was a wild and reckless man and was the terror of Helena and had been in several scrapes.” Needless to say, John P. Moore defended his son’s reputation and blamed Overton’s death squarely on Dr. Shinault.
To add to the chaos was this story that made the rounds, that Overton had a premonition of his death two days before and shared it with his sister, Sallie. It was reported in the Daily Arkanas Gazette:
Dr. Shinault was acquitted of Overton’s murder under the belief that he fired in self defense, a verdict that greatly upset the Moores. It didn’t help that Dr. Shinault’s success in Helena was little diminished by the incident. He married Josephine Pillow in 1894 and they later moved to Little Rock in 1904 where he was elected president of the Arkansas Medical Association. He was also president of the state board of examiners.
Matters got worse for the Moores when a battle errupted over Overton’s life insurance. While still married to his wife, Overton had become engaged to Helena school teacher Minnie Robertson. He made her the beneficiary of his insurance policy instead of his children.
The first trial awarded the policy to Robertson. Overton’s children appealed and the Arkansas Supreme Court of Arkansas ruled that no person should receive the insurance because Dr. Moore started the fight that led to his death.
I think there was also a break between John P. Moore and his son, Dr. Frierson Moore. I found a court case involving father again son in regard to Overton’s estate. I also noticed a number of social events reported in the Helena newspaper hosted by Frierson and his socialite wife, Annie, and Mrs. Shinault was often among the attendees. John P. Moore must have been furious.
A Doctor and His Dog
It is thought that not many attended Overton’s funeral but his dog, an Irish Setter named Pedro, would not leave his master’s grave. The story goes that people nearby would hear him howling in the cemetery at night over the next two years. They brought the dog food and snacks when they could.
Eventually, the howling stopped and neighbors went to check on Pedro. The dog, waiting for his master, had finally died. He was buried nearby. Along with John P. Moore, friends provided what they felt was a fitting monument to Overton and his dog.
It would be an understatement to say that John P. Moore’s feelings were given free rein in the words chosen for his son’s monument. They are written on different sides but here it the total of them.
He is now beyond the reach of blame or praise.
And love with hope and faith
will trust that he has felt the joy
that is felt when there are no fears
and no grave.
His errors were the errors of a man
And they stand out in bold contrast
with the time serving, two faced hippocrites
who conspired to have him murdered.
He possessed marked individuality
He was incapable of dissimulation.
Let us remember
that after midnight cometh morn.
I don’t think John P. Moore ever got over the death of his son. He died on Sept. 11, 1913 at the age of 83. His wife, Martha, died on April 12, 1914.
Their monument is covered in words, which isn’t surprising knowing John Moore’s penchant for sharing his thoughts. But the words below his and Martha’s names were not his. They come from “Oration at a Child’s Grave” by Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899): “Every cradle asks us whence, and every coffin whither.”
Also on the monument is an inscription for the husband of daughter Sallie, who married Joseph H. Jackson in 1879. He died of apoplexy at the age of 30 on Dec. 15, 1890. He also has his own marker.
Sallie remarried to newspaperman Fred Kraft. Sadly, she died of lockjaw at age 38 on Aug. 31, 1898 at her home in East St. Louis, Mo. Her mother, Martha, was at her side. She was brought home for burial beside Jackson at Maple Hill.
Dr. Frierson Moore died on May 26, 1917 of alcoholic paresis at the age of 60. He left behind his wife, Annie Laurie Graves Moore, his daughter, Virginia, and son Dr. Fontaine Moore.
Fontaine would die only three years later of pneumonia at age 34 on Nov. 27, 1920. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn. Wife Annie died at age 93 in 1960 and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Long Beach, Calif.
Here’s the promised postscript to this story. In reading the obituary for Sallie Bee Moore Jackson Kraft, I discovered that her sister Lela Moore had married F.G. Millette. That means she was the mother of little Evelyn Ray Millette, who I featured last week.
Lela died on Dec. 9, 1949 at age 86. In looking at my pictures, I realized that Evelyn was buried right beside her parents, close to the Moore monument. Dr. Overton Moore and Dr. Frierson Moore were little Evelyn’s uncles. It’s yet another example of the family connections you can make in a cemetery.
I’ll be back for Part III from Maple Hill Cemetery.