Broken Hearts and Tragic Endings in Omaha: Visiting Temple Israel Cemetery, Part II

Last week, I introduced you to Temple Israel Cemetery and the story of Emil Brandeis’ tragic death on the Titanic. He was one of three brothers who made the J.L. Brandeis & Sons Department a household name in Omaha.

There are more buried at Temple Israel that knew tragedy. Two families, the Rosewaters and the Heyns, are the subjects of my post today.

I photographed this simple yet handsome monument having never heard of the surname “Rosewater”. But they were once as well known in Omaha as the Brandeis family.

The Rosewater name was originally Rosenwasser.

Originally the Rosenwassers, Herman Rosenwasser (1807-1878) and his wife, Rosemary Kohn Rosenwasser, emigrated from the Austria/Czechoslovakia (known as Bohemia) area in the 1850s with their large family. They settled in Cleveland, Ohio before they had two more children.

The Oldest and the Youngest

The first and last Rosewater children, Edward and Charles, both made a splash in Omaha. One of Edward’s claims to fame before moving west was being the telegraph operator who transmitted President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation for the first time.

Already active in Republican politics, Edward Rosewater arrived in Omaha in 1863. In 1870, he was elected to the Nebraska House of Representatives and the following year, he started the newspaper The Omaha Bee. His aggressive style won him both a number of friends and enemies. In 1876, he was nearly clubbed to death by an irate reader but survived. Omaha’s Rosewater School, built in 1910, was named after him and was converted to apartments in 1985.

Immediately before his death, Edward helped found the American Jewish Committee (AJC). He died of a heart attack in 1906 at the age of 65 and is buried in Omaha’s Forest Lawn Cemetery. His son, Victor, carried on his father’s pursuits in the years to follow, including joining the AJC.

Dr. Charles Rosewater’s heart broke after the death of his only daughter.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1859, Charles Rosewater traveled to Europe to get his medical degree. Dr. Rosewater came to Omaha in the 1880s and began practicing medicine. For 15 years, he occupied the chair of obstetrics in the Creighton Medical College and later focused on general medicine. In 1893, he married Clara Schlesinger.

Death from a Broken Heart

Dr. Rosewater and Clara had only one child, Irene, in 1895. But she was the apple of her father’s eye and they were quite proud of her. After graduating from Omaha’s Central High School in 1914, Irene went to Northhampton, Mass. to attend Smith College. She graduated in 1918 and worked as a chemist for Armour (the meat packing company) in Omaha until her health took a turn. After taking a prescribed vacation, she returned to her parents’ home, supposedly much improved.

Irene Rosewater’s obituary suggests she predicted her own death.

Her obituary notes that as a chemist she “diagnosed her own case”. After feeling pains, she reportedly said, “I’m going to have an abscess on the brain, Father.” Soon after, Irene was admitted to the hospital and died on May 25, 1920 of “brain fever”, which may have been meningoencephalitis.

Dr. Charles Rosewater was never the same after the death of his only child.

Dr. Rosewater never got over Irene’s death and his own health faltered. He died on Nov. 23, 1921 at the age of 62 and was buried beside Irene. His wife, Clara, did not remarry and died in 1945 in Los Angeles, Calif. Her body was brought back to Omaha for burial with Charles and Irene.

The Nov. 24, 1921 edition of The Lincoln Star included this article about Dr. Rosewater’s death.

Tragedy and The Photographers Heyn

Two generations of three brothers would make their mark in the photography world. But if there was a family that knew tragedy, it was the Heyns.

A native of Germany, George Heyn emigrated to Detroit in his teens and moved to Omaha to open a photography studio in the early 1880s. He returned to Detroit to marry Sabina Hirschman in 1883 and they settled into married life in Omaha. Son Lester Heyn was born in 1884, Jerome in 1886, and Frederick (Fred) in 1890.

Photographer George Heyn (or brother Herman) took this photo of a Native American Alfred Afraid of Hawk in 1898. (Photo source: Library of Congress)

George’s younger brother, Herman, also a photographer, came to Omaha shortly after George and Sabina’s marriage. Many photographs of Native Americans attributed to George are now thought to have been done by Herman. Herman also created portraits of President William Howard Taft and presidential candidate/orator William Jennings Bryan (the latter was involved in a court case). He moved to Chicago in the late 1920s and died there in 1949. Herman is buried in Rosehill Cemetery.

An ad for George or Herman Heyn’s studio on South 15th Street. (Photo source:

Louis Heyn, George and Herman’s brother, was also a photographer. He may have briefly worked in Omaha with George before heading to Great Falls, Mont. where he married and had a family. They moved to California in the 1930s where Louis died in 1940.

Portrait of a young woman attributed to Herman Heyn. (Photo source:

Sabina and George were were often reported about in newspapers attending parties and events around Omaha. One costume party they hosted in late January 1889 was written up in which George was dressed as Adonis, Sarah Brandeis came gowned as a Grecian lady, and the future Clara Rosewater attended costumed as a school girl.

Unfortunately, their happiness did not last. On May 26, 1892, while on a ferry going from Detroit to Canada, George Heyn committed suicide by jumping into the Detroit River. His obituary says he suffered from two incidents of “la grippe” (the flu) over the winter that affected his mind. After his remains were recovered, George was buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, Mich.

Sabina remarried in 1899 to photographer Henry Unverzagt. All three Heyn sons tried their hand at photography and were well known in Omaha’s Jewish social circles and civic organizations.

Was it Suicide?

Youngest brother Fred served in World War I, reaching the rank of captain. After the war, he gave real estate a try. In August 1926, he went to Lake Marion near Fergus Falls, Minn. with Sabina and one of his brothers (which one was not specified). His obituary states he’d recently suffered a breakdown but was doing better. He went out bass fishing by himself and the boat was later found empty.

Fred Heyn lost his life in the water as his father had years before.

On August 7, his body was recovered. Suicide was suspected as the cause of death. Fred’s remains were brought back to Omaha and he was buried at Temple Israel Cemetery. He had no wife or children. Sabina died in 1938 and was buried beside him.

Fred was the youngest of Sabina’s sons and the first to die at the age of 36.

Older brothers Jerome and Lester continued with their successful photography business. Their names appear often in the society pages attending parties and traveling. Like his brother Fred, Jerome never married. The Heyn brothers were especially talented at photographing children.

Undated photograph of unknown child attributed to Jerome Heyn, possibly 1919.

A Gunshot at Union Station

In December 1939, Jerome suffered a 25-foot fall over a stairway railing in a downtown building that fractured his skull. On Jan. 23, 1940, Jerome locked himself in the men’s restroom of Union Station in Omaha and shot himself with a .38 Colt pistol. His obituary claims he had been in a “nervous condition” in the days leading up to his death. He was 54 at the time, and was buried beside his mother and brother at Temple Israel Cemetery.

Jerome Heyn shot himself in the men’s restroom at Union Station in Omaha.

Death in the Doctor’s Office

The last Heyn brother, Lester, married Beatrice Nies Morris in 1918 when he was 34. They had two children, Eugene and Adelaide. But the marriage soured a few years later. In 1922, Beatrice filed for divorce and requested a restraining order against him. Their divorce proceedings, from alimony to custody, played out in the newspapers. Beatrice remarried to James Bray and moved to California with the children.

A picture of photographer Lester Heyn from a newspaper ad. I don’t have a photo of his grave site.

The tragedies took their toll. Not long after Jerome’s death, he retired and closed the studio. Lester died on Sept. 11, 1941 in his doctor’s office of a heart attack. He was buried at Temple Israel beside his mother and brothers. I didn’t get a picture of his grave, unfortunately. But I did find a photo of him in a newspaper ad. I could not trace his children after 1930.

There are probably thousands of people in Nebraska who own old photographs with the Heyn name on them. Few know the story behind that name and the heartache attached to it over the years.

I did encounter a guest while I was at Temple Israel Cemetery that I wasn’t expecting. But I’m sure he was hoping I’d just pretend he wasn’t there. It’s not often I encounter a groundhog during my cemetery hopping.

Closeup of the animal I saw at Temple Israel Cemetery.

Stopping by Temple Israel Cemetery was definitely worth it, despite the sad stories I found there. You never known until you start looking behind the name and date on a stone what you might turn up.


Omaha’s Only Titanic Victim: Visiting Temple Israel Cemetery, Part I

Today I’m starting a series on Omaha, Nebraska’s Temple Israel Cemetery. When I was visiting Christi in fall 2017, I was hopeful I could visit because it’s there that the ashes of Emil Brandies, Omaha’s only Titanic disaster victim, are buried.

What Younker’s was to Des Moines, Brandeis was to Omaha. Emil was part of the Brandeis family who established a much-beloved chain of department stores in Nebraska in the 1880s. Ask anybody over 50 who grew up in Omaha what they remember about J.L. Brandeis & Sons Department Stores and the stories will start pouring out. Purchasing a first party gown, working at the jewelry counter, marveling at the window displays, and meeting friends in the Tea Room are just a few glimpses of its history.

Located in North Omaha, Temple Israel Cemetery is also known as Pleasant Hill Cemetery but there’s another Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Omaha. I’m going to stick to Temple Israel Cemetery, as that’s the name on the entrance sign I photographed below.

Temple Israel Cemetery is also known as Pleasant Hill Cemetery but there’s another cemetery by that name in Omaha as well.

Established in 1871, Temple Israel Cemetery (a Reform congregation) is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Omaha but not the only one. There are several others that came later.

According to Temple Israel’s website, Max Meyer, Emmanuel Simon, and Meyer Hellman formed the B’nail Israel Society in March 1871 when they recognized the need for a sanctified Jewish burial ground. In August 1871, they bought five acres for a cemetery at 42nd Street and Redick Ave. The B’nai Israel Society deeded the cemetery property to the Congregation of Israel, which later became Temple Israel.

Within the Temple Israel Cemetery are separate sections for B’nai Jacob and B’nai Shalom Cemeteries. Find a Grave notes there are about 800 graves recorded for Temple Israel but I think there are many more that just haven’t been photographed or had memorials made for them yet.

J.L. Brandeis and his sons created a memorable shopping experience for their customers.

According to a detailed two-part article by journalist/blogger Leo Adam Biga, the Brandeis family has roots in Prague in what is now the Czech Republic. Born in 1837, Jonas Leopold (J.L.) Brandeis was an Austrian-Jewish immigrant who arrived in America in his late teens. He started as a merchant in Wisconsin, where he did business with Indians. Francesca “Fannie” Teweles of Milwaukee married him in 1862 and the couple started their family in Manitowoc, Wisc. They had four children that lived to adulthood, three boys (Arthur, Hugo, and Emil) and one girl (Sarah).

After moving the family to Omaha in the 1880s, J.L. started building his first venture, The Fair, on South 13th Street. By 1888, he and his sons were full partners when they rented a new site at 114 South 16th Street, calling it The Boston Store. The J.L. Brandeis & Sons name first appeared over the door there and would appear on building plates on all future Brandeis stores. An 1894 fire that destroyed a second store didn’t keep J.L. down and he built a bigger, better store on the same site at the northwest corner of 16th and Douglas.

Undated postcard of J.L. Brandeis & Sons Department Store in downtown Omaha. (Photo source:

J.L. and Fanny got active in local organizations right away, with J.L. helping establish one of Nebraska’s first synagogues. He and relative Carl Brandeis (who is also buried at Temple Israel) worked together to create a chapter of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith. An Omaha chapter was founded by Carl.

Jonas Leopold Brandeis died in 1903 at the age of 68.

Emil became a member of the firm in 1885 at the age 21, where he eventually directed the planning, building, and maintenance of the Brandeis buildings. He was also responsible for the general oversight of the men’s goods department.

After J.L.’s death in 1903, Arthur became president. Emil continued to supervise construction and maintenance of the company’s building projects. Hugo sent buyers to foreign markets and managed the store’s sales policies. Cousin George Brandeis was brought in and his skills would prove timely later.

A bachelor, Emil enjoyed working with his brothers and traveled a great deal. In late January 1912, he went to Europe to visit his niece, Mrs. Irving Stern (Ruth, the daughter of his brother Arthur) and her husband in Italy. The trio traveled through Spain, Egypt, and Rome to Vevey, Switzerland, where they visited his sister, Sarah Brandeis Cohn. Sarah had been widowed less than a year.

Portrait of Emil Brandeis as a young man, who was only 48 when he died in 1912 when the Titanic sank.

Emil arranged to return home on the Titanic, which had received much press for its elegance and speed. Much of his time on the ship was spent with old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Henry B. Harris. After the ship hit the iceberg and and evacuation started, Mrs. Harris was placed in a full lifeboat. She later said and as it pulled away that she saw Emil and her husband standing among the men on deck, awaiting their fate, she reported, “without fear.”

One rumor spread at the time was that Emil put on women’s clothing in order to try to get a place in a lifeboat but that was quashed by other survivors who saw him as Mrs. Harris did among the men on deck that night.

Emil’s body was recovered by the crew of the cable repair ship, the CS MacKay Bennett. Among his effects were diamond cuff links, a gold knife, a gold pocket watch, a platinum and diamond watch chain, a gold pencil case, a gold ring, a gold cigarette case and match box, a pearl tie-pin and a 500 franc note. His pocket watch was part of an exhibit a few years ago at Omaha’s Durham Museum.

The main Brandeis family marker at Temple Israel Cemetery.

Many books and articles claim that Emil’s body was brought back from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha for burial at Temple Israel Cemetery. But according to a May 4 article in the Omaha Bee, his body was sent from Canada to Chicago first. An Omaha funeral director hired by the Brandeis family traveled to Chicago to receive Emil’s body, oversee his cremation, then bring his ashes home. The Chicago crematory is not named in the article, but I suspect it was the one at Graceland Cemetery. Many well-known wealthy Chicagoans are buried there and it was one of three cemeteries in the city that had a crematory at that time.

From the May 4 edition of the Omaha Daily Bee, I learned that Emil Brandeis was cremated before his ashes were buried at Temple Israel Cemetery.

At first, I wondered why a Jewish family would have a family member cremated because in the Jewish faith, a body is traditionally buried within 48 hours of death. Then it occurred to me that the tragic circumstances surrounding Emil’s death prevented that. By the time his remains were brought to Chicago several days after the tragedy, they were in poor condition. The Brandeis family were also Reform Jews, whose congregations tend to have less conservative religious beliefs. So cremation made a lot of sense.

A large memorial service held on April 21 at the Brandeis Theater was attended by many Omahans. Emil’s graveside funeral at Temple Israel Cemetery was private. His ashes were buried beside his parents’ graves (Fanny died in 1905) on a Sunday in early May.

Emil’s brother, Hugo, would die only a few months later.

Sadly, brother Hugo died in July of that same year after an operation. He is also buried at Temple Israel. That left Arthur to run the business and cousin George Brandeis proved invaluable with his leadership. In 1914, Arthur handed the store’s leadership to George and become vice president of Stern Brothers dry goods store in New York.

When Arthur died in 1916, his will left in excess of $1 million in personal property and real estate in a trust to his young son, E. John Brandeis. George would mentor E. John and eventually Arthur’s son would take over the reins from George.

At its zenith in the early 1970s, the family-owned retail chain grew to 15 stores, 3,000 employees, and $100 million in sales. But as more shoppers headed to suburban malls, the flagship store became an albatross. When it closed in 1980 as part of a general downsizing, it marked the end of an era. Younker’s bought Brandeis’ remaining stores in 1987.

A few days before I started writing this post, I saw an article in the Omaha World-Herald that the Brandeis Mansion, built in 1904 for Arthur Brandeis and his wife, Zerlina, has been fully restored and is enjoying a comeback with new owners. Christi has attended parties there in recent years. Omahans are pleased to see a happy piece of their past is still alive and well.

I’ll be back next week with more stories from Temple Israel Cemetery.

Now known as the Brandeis-Millard Mansion, the 1904 home has been fully restored. (Photo source.

Memorable Monumental Ladies: Stopping by Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery, Part III

To wrap up my series on Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery, I’m featuring some of the lovely ladies standing atop the monuments I saw. There were too many for me to cram into the first two parts so I waited until the end to give them their due.

The Black family monument is one of the tallest in the cemetery and features one of the most beautiful figures I’ve seen, holding a bouquet of flowers. She’s missing half of the other arm but it doesn’t detract from her beauty.

The Black monument is one of the tallest in the cemetery.

The Black family story was missing a number of pieces until I found an obituary for Robert A. Black in the Nebraska City News.

Irish immigrant Robert Andrew Black arrived in America as a young man, coming to Nebraska City around 1867 as a carpenter. He hired on with the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company (known as the B & M). He married Indiana native Sarah Catherine Brenton on March 5, 1871 in Montgomery, Iowa. By 1880, they were living in Nebraska City and had a son, James, born in 1874.

The monument tells us about the three children the Blacks lost. Emma Luvida Black was born in 1871 and died in 1872. William Emmet Black was born in 1872 and died in 1877. Robert Andrew Black, Jr. was born in 1881 and died in 1882. James died on May 13, 1895. His obituary mentions that he became ill a few days after injuring himself while jumping onto a horse.

By 1900, Robert was working as a foreman for the B & M. In late August 1904, he went to Rulo, Neb. to check on some work his men were doing. Sarah took the opportunity to visit her younger sister, Elvina Brenton Kulp, in Iowa. Elvina’s husband, Frank Kulp, was a bridge superintendent with the B & M. On the evening of Thursday, August 26, after the day’s work, Robert was giving instructions to a few of his men when he was struck and killed by an engine.

Robert A. Black purchased the monument from the Nebraska City firm of Niedhart & Forbes in 1900. The Reporter deemed it “the handsomest monument in Wyuka Cemetery.”

Robert’s remains were brought back to Nebraska and he was buried at Wyuka Cemetery. According to his obituary, his Masonic lodge, Western Star Lodge #2 A.F. and A.M. took care of the funeral.

The Black monument was erected in 1900, purchased by Robert A. Black to honor his children. It was carved by the Nebraska City firm of Neidhart & Forbes at his direction. By 1908, the gentleman had split up the business with Neidhart moving to Beatrice and Forbes staying in Nebraska City.

Volume 33 of The Reporter, a magazine for monument dealers, reported the sale of the Black family monument in 1900.

Sarah’s sister, Elvina, died in 1907 at the age of 42, leaving Frank Kulp a widower with three grown children. They were living in Gage County, Neb. according to the 1910 U.S. Census.

Sometime between 1910 and 1920, Sarah married her former brother-in-law, Frank Kulp. Soon after, they moved to Los Angeles, Calif., although they would return to Nebraska City to visit often.

Sarah died in California in 1931 at the age of 79. Her remains were brought back to Nebraska City for burial at Wyuka beside Robert and their children. Her will caused a great legal stir because she had sold a number of properties shortly before her death. One of her bequests was to the Masonic Home in Plattsmouth, Neb. The case wound its way through court even past the death of her second husband, Frank, in 1940. Frank is buried with first wife, Sarah’s sister, Elvina Brenton Kulp, in Wymore Cemetery in Gage, Neb.

The Tipton monument features a woman holding a wreath. It’s located not too far from the Black monument.

Ohio native Absalom Tipton was as interested in planting trees as his neighbor, J. Morton Sterling.

Born in Holmes County, Ohio in 1829, Absalom Tipton was the fifth of Luke and Mary Young Tipton’s 11 children. In 1854, he married Martha Ann Norris in Atchison County, Mo. Soon after, the couple arrived in Nebraska Territory and started their family.

Absalom was especially good at cultivating fruit trees, much like his neighbor J. Sterling Morton. His obituary notes that “on his home place, two miles northwest of the city, he had an apple orchard of 500 trees, 700 cherry trees, and raspberry, blackberry and blueberry plants without number.”

Absalom Tipton’s obituary notes that he was one of the leading horticulturists in the state.

Absalom and Martha had seven children together, four of whom lived to adulthood. Martha died in November 1875 at the age of 41 and was buried at Wyuka. Absalom remarried again sometime around 1892 to Loantha Judkins, who was 24 years his junior. They had no children.

When Absalom died from stomach cancer in 1914 at the age of 85, he was buried beside Martha at Wyuka. Second wife Loantha died in 1928 and is also buried with him at Wyuka.

Another towering female caught my attention at Wyuka. The Rottman monument features yet another pensive lady holding a wreath.

F.W. “Fritz” Rottmann and his wife, Maggie, were both German immigrants.

Born in Westphalia, Germany in 1834, F.W. “Fritz” Rottman grew up with few advantages. He emigrated to America when he was 21 and spent a few months in St. Louis, Mo. before making his way to Nebraska City. He worked on a farm for several months before becoming a clerk, assisting his employer in his business ventures.

In 1865, Fritz married fellow German immigrant Margaret “Maggie” Arends, who had come to America with her parents as a little girl. Fritz not only owned a grocery store, he also became a builder, putting up many of Nebraska City’s businesses. He was at one point president of the Nebraska City Canning Company.

Fritz and Maggie had six children together, but only eldest son Frederick lived to adulthood. Fritz died in February 1888 at the age of 53 of “brain fever.” Maggie lived with Fred until her death from Bright’s Disease (kidney failure) in November 1906.

The Rottmann monument’s statue has a pensive look on her face.

Born in 1872, Fred married Elma Petring in 1904 and they had two children. The pair were traveling to Omaha with their daughter (whose name varies in different newspapers) when their train crashed in Fort Crook, Neb. in 1911. Both Elma and the child were killed, and Fred was seriously injured. He remarried in 1913 to Clara Lilydale Koser and they had two children, one living to adulthood. Clara died in 1940 and Fred died in 1945, both buried at Wyuka.

The Mason girls never had a chance to grow up.

Finally, there are two other females I wanted to include but they never had a chance to become young ladies.

Sisters Ellen and Jennie Mason were born to Oliver Perry (known as “O.P.”) Mason and Mary Turner Mason. The Masons married in New York before moving to Nebraska City in 1856. Oliver served as Chief Justice of the Nebraska State Supreme Court from 1866 to 1873. He also served as a member of the Nebraska Constitutional Convention of 1871. Mason City, Neb. was named after him.

Jennie, born in January 1859, died at the age of four on April 24, 1863. Her sister, Ellen, was born June 1862 and died at the age of 2 on Aug. 24, 1864. While the Masons had a daughter before Jennie and Ellen, and would have several more children, the loss of these two little ones must have been difficult to bear. Their sweet marker with twin lambs is especially bittersweet.

It was time to head to Omaha and put up our feet for a bit. But I was a little sad to leave as I looked back to see the sun setting over the old stones. How many stories had I missed?

It’s a place I won’t soon forget.

More Trees, a Rolltop Desk and a Boulder: Stopping by Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery, Part II

Last week, I devoted my blog post to the most famous person buried at Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery, J. Sterling Morton and his family. But there are other monuments and people worth talking about at this historic cemetery.

If you were wowed by Morton’s tree monument, there are a few more worth sharing. The “tree” for the Hill family is located in front of the Morton family plot. While they are both trees, the Hill monument feels more rustic to me.

The Hill tree monument is stunning to look at with all its detail.

The story on William Edward (W.E.) Hill is a bit sketchy. I’ve seen him listed as a native of Virginia, but U.S. Census records almost always list him as being born in Ohio. I don’t know when he met and married his wife, Mary, nor do I know her maiden name. At some point, they came to Nebraska City where W.E. was a grain merchant and active in local agricultural groups.

W.E. was also a mover and shaker in the Masons. Some articles indicate he may have been a Grand Master. I didn’t take a picture of the other side of the monument with his inscription but someone named “SarahD” on Find a Grave did so I want you to see that as well.

A double-headed eagle is an emblem of the Scottish Rite, a Masonic organization which continues a Master Mason’s education of the first three degrees. It is believed to have been founded in Europe in the 1700s. (Photo source: SaraD, Find a Grave)

Mary died in Nebraska City in 1890 after an illness of many years. At some point, W.E. moved out to California where he died in 1917. His obituary states that his body was accompanied by his wife back to Nebraska City by train, so he must have remarried. I don’t believe W.E. and Mary had any children together.

There’s one more tree monument I want you to see and I think it’s possible that F.O. Cross (the stone mason who did the Morton tree) may have carved this one as well because the style is very similar.

The Potts tree looks quite similar to the Morton tree but isn’t as tall. The tablet on the bottom is not inscribed.

A native of Missouri, Charles Potts was born in 1848 and arrived in Nebraska City in 1865.  In 1873, he married 20-year-old Elfleda “Fleda” Russell. He worked various jobs, from clerk to cashier to finally partnership in a wholesale grocery business called Lorton & Potts. Like W.E. Hill, he was active in the Masons. The couple had one daughter, Mary Ellen, in 1877.

Charles Potts was only 33 at the time of his death.

I don’t know the cause of death, but Charles passed away on August 4, 1882. He was only 33. Tragedy struck again a few months later on Dec. 1, 1883 when Mary Ellen died.

Fleda, I learned, led a rather tumultuous early life. Born shortly before her parents moved to Nebraska, her mother passed away in 1857. Fleda was sent back east to New Jersey to live with relatives while her father, James Russell, headed to Colorado. Tragically, he was murdered there in 1863 when Fleda was only 10. She moved back to Nebraska City to live with her grandfather, later meeting and marrying Charles Potts.

In 1889, Fleda married Charles E. Swift in Iowa City. The marriage announcement describes it as a “complete surprise” to her neighbors, but a happy one. By 1900, they were living in Omaha and Charles was working as a salesman in a dry goods store. They had one son, Russell. The 1910 U.S. Census lists the three living near Sioux City, Iowa and that Charles was supported by his “own income”.

This detailed carving of a dove with an olive branch in its beak is still intact.

Charles Swift died in 1911 and was buried at Wyuka Cemetery. His name is not inscribed on the tree but he has a small stone beside it. In 1914, Russell moved to Vermillion, S.D. with plans for Fleda to join him as soon as he had finished building a home for them. But Fleda died in Sioux City in 1916 and was buried beside her two husbands. I have no idea where the money came from to pay for such a grand monument.

Russell, who served as as an aviator in World War I, was a mechanic who married not long after his return. He died of a heart attack in 1933 and is buried in South Dakota.

This next marker is unlike any you are likely to see anywhere else. Shaped like a desk, the Harding family monument is quite remarkable.

Like the Morton family plot, the Harding plot has a tree-themed border with individual “log” markers for each family member and “stumps” in the back.

The Harding plot has the same tree-themed border as the Mortons, but doesn’t have the planters. I do like the “stumps” in the back and the “logs” in the front.

Born in Marion, Ohio in 1831, Nehemiah Story Harding operated a mercantile business in Cincinnati. He married Mary Ann “Mamie” King Baldwin in 1852. They moved to Nebraska City in 1855. His obituary notes that he wrote the first insurance policy in the Nebraska Territory in 1857. Harding also served as deputy clerk of the federal court while running a mercantile business. He was active in local politics and probably a Mason.

The Harding “desk” is a record of many of the lives and deaths of the family over the years.

Nehemiah and Mamie had 10 children over the course of their marriage. Eldest Cora was born in Ohio before the move to Nebraska. Bennett, Frederick, and Alice all died in childhood. Bennett and Frederick actually share a “book” with their names and dates inscribed on it to the left side of the desk. Alice, who died in 1872, has her own book on the right side of the desk.

Three of the Harding children who died in childhood have their names inscribed on “books” on the desk.

Because of my height, my photo of the top of the desk is not the best. But you can see the pages for Grace (1863-1937), Mamie (1833-1900), Nehemiah (1831-1915) and Mary Rachel (1872-1955). Cora, Nellie, Edyth and Willard are buried elsewhere in Wyuka with their spouses. Daughter Winona “Winnie” Hill is buried in Nebraska with her husband.

The top of the desk features pages for Nehemiah, Mamie, and two of their daughters, Grace and Mary.

Mamie died in 1900 after a long illness with daughter Winnie at her side. Nehemiah suffered a stroke in 1910 and died of apoplexy at the age of 84 in 1915. His obituary notes he spent the winter in California and had just returned to Nebraska City.

It also notes that Harding was instrumental in getting the home for the blind located in Nebraska City, which opened in 1877. He was an original member of the school’s board of trustees. Now known as the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind of Visually Impaired (NCECBVI), it is still in operation today.

When I saw this next marker, I thought it resembled a ripe tomato resting on a stump because of the shape. But I think it’s mean to be a boulder.

The Gerhard marker holds a sad story.

The Gerhard marker is for two children, Enolia and Herbert. Enolia was born on Oct. 31, 1865 and Herbert was born Oct. 6, 1867. Enolia died on April 1, 1870 and Herbert died on April 8, 1870. They both died of the measles, according to a mortality schedule. They are the only two Gerhards buried at Wyuka Cemetery.

On the bottom is the Bible verse Matthew 19:14: “Suffer [the] little children to come until me: and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of God.”

The back of the Gerhard monument features a Masonic emblem and an Oddfellows chain.

The back of the monument, with a Masonic symbol and Odd Fellows chain, leads me to believe a space was left for the parents but never used. The only Gerhards I could track down in Nebraska City were Augustus and Mary Gerhard. A native of Pennsylvania, Augustus was a carpenter who operated a furniture store in Nebraska City for many years and was a Mason.

Augustus and Mary had recently moved to Los Angeles, Calif. to be near their married daughter, Harriet Hunter, when he died there in 1911. So it’s possible he and Mary are both buried in California.

It makes me a bit sad to think of Enolia and Herbert alone there. But this happened quite often when families moved further west in later years, leaving the graves of little ones behind.

I’m not quite done at Wyuka Cemetery yet. Come back next time for stories of the ladies of Wyuka.

J. Sterling Morton’s Arbor Day: Stopping by Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery, Part I

After our Iowa Adventure, Christi and I were both ready to get back to Omaha. But since we were near southwest Nebraska, I asked for one last cemetery hop. Nebraska City’s Wyuka Cemetery (not to be confused with the one in Lincoln) was on my list of places to visit and it was on our way back.

Wyuka Cemetery was established around 1855.

As we drove in, I saw a sign directing us toward a computer kiosk where guests can look up grave locations. Now THAT was a surprise! Cemeteries with written grave locations on a board are fairly rare. But a freestanding computer to look up names? Wyuka Cemetery does indeed have one and it works well.

I don’t know how long Wyuka Cemetery has had a computerized kiosk but I was impressed.

Established in 1855, Wyuka has about 16,000 burials recorded on Find a Grave and covers around 35 acres. Cemetery records only go back to 1888 because of a fire. It was named Wyuka Cemetery in 1856, signifying the Indian vernacular for “place of rest.”

Nebraska City’s Most Famous Resident

There’s no question who the most famous person buried at Wyuka is and the plot’s impressive monument is equal to the prestige. Julius Sterling Morton, a U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and founder of the holiday known as Arbor Day, is buried here with his wife and some of their family. The massive tree-shaped monument was commissioned after the death of Mrs. Morton in 1881. I’ll share the details on that later.

My father-in-law, Craig, actually attended J. Sterling Morton High School in Cicero (a Chicago suburb) and the school district is also named after him. Since Morton never lived in Chicago, this puzzled me until I learned that Morton was good friends with Cicero resident and fur trader Portus Baxter Weare. One of Morton’s sons, Mark, married Weare’s daughter, Martha.

Born in New York in 1832, Morton got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and married his high school sweetheart, Caroline “Carrie” Joy French. They moved to the Nebraska Territory in 1855, where they purchased 160 acres of land in Nebraska City.

J. Sterling Morton married Caroline “Carrie” Joy French in 1854 before moving to Nebraska. Her mother died when she was only a year old.

Morton became editor of the local newspaper, the Nebraska City News and soon began his political career as a conservative Democrat. In 1858, President James Buchanan appointed Morton secretary of the Nebraska Territory, and he twice served as acting governor. Morton was a candidate for delegate to Congress in 1860 and received a certificate of election from the governor. However, Morton was never allowed to take his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as his election was contested in the overwhelmingly Republican House.

J. Sterling Morton served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for President Grove Cleveland.

While Morton loved politics, his passion for trees might have been even greater. In Nebraska City, Morton built a mansion that resembles the White House that he called Arbor Lodge. On the surrounding estate, Morton planted many rare varieties and heirloom apple trees. Respected as an agriculturalist, Morton taught modern techniques of farming and forestry. Among his most significant achievements was the founding of Arbor Day, which is usually celebrated on the last Friday in April.

Arbor Lodge and its grounds were donated by the Morton family to the State of Nebraska after J. Sterling Morton’s death. (Photo source:

Morton became well known in Nebraska for his political, agricultural, and literary activities. He was appointed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by President Grover Cleveland in 1893. He is credited with helping change that department into a coordinated service to farmers, and he supported Cleveland in setting up national forest reservations.

Morton and Carrie had four sons. The eldest son, Joy (yes, you read that right), founded the Morton Salt Company, along with his brother, Mark. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. was begun by Joy, who shared his father’s love of trees. Both brothers are buried in the Morton Family Cemetery in Lisle, Ill.

The Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, Ill., is a public garden and outdoor museum with a library, herbarium, and program in tree research including the Center for Tree Science. Its 1,700 acres draw over a million visitors a year, especially for its Christmas Illumination spectacular which I attended this year.

Paul became Secretary of the Navy under President Theodore Roosevelt. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y. Youngest son Carl founded the Argo Starch Company that still exists today. He is the only Morton brother buried at Wyuka Cemetery.

The sons of J. Sterling and Carrie Morton. Paul and Mark stand behind eldest Joy and youngest Carl.

Branches of a Family

The Morton plot contains the graves of J. Sterling Morton, Carrie Morton, their son, Carl Morton, Carl’s wife, Boatie Payne Morton, Caroline’s foster mother, Cynthia French, J. Sterling’s sister, Emma Morton, and a granddaughter, Laura Weare Morton.

The Morton plot contains seven graves. Only one of the four Morton sons is buried there.

Surrounding the plot is a log-themed border, complete with planters at the entrance and on two corners. Considering how much Morton loved trees, it makes perfect sense.

Even the words bordering the steps have a knotty wood appearance.

One article stated that the “tree” itself weighs eight tons. I can’t imagine how strong the oxen or horses had to have been to pull the wagon carrying it.

“Love at First Glimpse”

On the front of the tree is the inscription for Carrie and J. Sterling. Carrie’s mother, Caroline Hayden Joy, died about a year after her daughter’s birth in Michigan. Her father, Hiram Joy, agree to let neighbors Deacon David French and Cynthia French raise Carrie while sending them financial support. Her name became Caroline Joy French to reflect that arrangement but she was still close with her father, who became quite wealthy over the years.

Morton was devastated by his wife’s death in 1881. He commissioned F.O. Cross to create this stunning tree monument in her memory, working out the minutest of details.

Carrie loved running Arbor Lodge and helping her husband in all of his ventures. Of her marriage to Morton, she said, “We fell for each other at first glimpse and we were never cured.” A knee injury that never healed put her health in jeopardy and Carrie Morton died at the age of 47 on June 29, 1881.

To the left is a copy of “Rock of Ages”, one of Carrie’s favorite hymns. To the right is a painter’s palette, reflecting her love of painting, with the word “Mother” on it.

On the other side is an inscription for Carrie’s foster mother, Cynthia French, who died at Arbor Lodge in November 1857 at the age of 70. Youngest son Carl died in 1901 in Waukegan, Ill., where he had just moved with his wife and children. I found reports of  differing causes of death, from a hearth attack to pneumonia to a cerebral hemorrhage. He was only 35.

Carl Morton, youngest son of J. Sterling and Carrie, started the Argo Starch Company in the 1880s.

Carl’s wife, Boatie Payne Morton, known as “Lizzie”, died in 1932 at the age of 63. She and Carl had two children, Wirth and Martha.

A Sister Helps a Brother

At the base of the tree is a lone tablet inscribed with the name of Morton’s younger unmarried sister, Emma. When Caroline died, Morton was devastated. He asked Emma to move into Arbor Lodge and she took over the running of the house. He depended on her to help him finish the remodeling Carrie was working on when she died. Morton left Emma an annuity in his will to take care of her for her remaining lifetime. She died in April 1912.

J. Sterling Morton did not forget his sister Emma’s devotion and left an annuity for her in his will.

J. Sterling’s health took a turn after Carl’s death in 1901 and he was never quite the same. He died on April 27, 1902 in Chicago while visiting Paul in Illinois. His body was returned to Nebraska City by train and he was buried with his beloved Carrie at Wyuka Cemetery.

After his death, the family donated Arbor Lodge and the estate grounds to the State of Nebraska. The estate is now preserved as the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. You can visit Arbor Lodge from April to October, which is furnished as it was in 1905.

Skill in Stone

The man who created this massive tree monument was Ferdinand O. Cross, a skilled carver with a known reputation. You can even find his name and address on it.

Ferdinand Cross would partner with John Rowe to create Cross and Rowe Monumental Works.

Born in 1838 to stone carver John Cross and Sophronia Hewitt Cross of Binghamton, N.Y., Ferdinand learned his craft from his father. He moved to Bedford, Ind., the “Limestone Capital of the World” in the 1880s where he started his own monument business.

Ferdinand eventually met John Rowe and they formed a partnership known as Cross & Rowe Monumental Works. They often used Bedford stone as their medium of choice because it was easy to work with when first quarried. After the shape was carved, it was set outside to harden. You can find their monuments in cemeteries across the country, although this is one of their most notable examples. The also provided carvings to the World’s Fair in 1883 in Chicago.

Laura Weare Morton was J. Sterling and Carrie’s granddaughter.

A Child’s Short Life

I would be remiss if I did not mention the one stone sitting by itself in one corner. It is for Laura Weare Morton, the first child of Mark and Martha Parkhurst Weare Morton. She was born in May 1889 and died on Dec. 11, 1892 in Nebraska City. According to her obituary, Laura and her parents had come to Arbor Lodge for Thanksgiving when she became ill with scarlet fever.

There’s more to be discovered at Wyuka Cemetery. I’ll be back with more in my next post.

Hawkeye State Adventures: Exploring the Clarinda Treatment Complex Cemetery, Part II.

Last week, I shared some of the stories I discovered while researching the Clarinda Treatment Complex Cemetery in Iowa. Today I’ve got some more for you that reflect the different people that found themselves there over the years.

This is the stone for a young woman named Goldie Brown. I don’t have all the pieces to her story, but what I found made me sad.

Goldie’s stone is worn but you can still make out her name.

Blind From Birth

Goldie was born to Thomas Brown and Phylena Conn Brown on Jan. 29, 1903 in Iowa. She and her family were living in Tilden, Kansas according to the 1910 Census. Goldie is listed as being blind, the only record where I found this fact mentioned. An Ancestry member noted she was blind from birth. In no records did I ever find her listed as insane.

By 1920, Goldie had moved to Glenwood to the Iowa Institution for Feeble-Minded Children (IIFMC). In March 1876, the Iowa legislature designated the grounds of the former Glenwood Orphan’s Home as the location for the first Iowa Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children. The 1877 Annual Report listed 85 children and already crowded conditions. It was eventually renamed the IIFMC.

Goldie Brown spent at least 10 years living at the Iowa Institution for Feeble-Minded Children in Glenwood, Iowa. The architecture was much like the Kirkbride plan at Clarinda State Hospital. Photo is from 1904. (Photo source: Robert Elliott Flickinger – The pioneer history of Pocahontas County, Iowa)

The IIFMC expanded to over 1,000 acres as it became its own self-contained community, isolated from the rest of Glenwood by a wrought iron fence. By 1908, the resident population numbered 1,100 people overseen by a staff of 175. The IIFMC is now known as the Glenwood Resource Center and provides mental health services to about 400 people.

Goldie was 27 when she left the IIFMC and arrived at the Clarinda State Hospital in April 1930. She died on Feb. 11, 1937. Her death record states that she died of bronchopneumonia and had epilepsy. Her mother had already had passed away in 1931 of tuberculosis. Her father, Timothy, died in 1938 from angina. Goldie was 34 at the time of her death.

The Sad End of Mary Lewis Freno

When I began researching the life of Mary Freno, I only knew she was 34 at the time of her death, which seemed quite young. I thought because she had a nice marker and not the plain one provided by the CSH, she had family that cared about her. It turned out things were not as I supposed.

Abandoned by her husband, Mary Freno found herself at the Clarinda State Hospital. Who provided the stone for her?

Born in Kansas City, Mo. around 1886, Mary Lewis was the only child of Italian immigrants Samuel and Mary Lewis. In August 1908, she married Italian native Louis Freno in Wapello, Iowa. Born in 1889, his real name was Luigi Fiorini and he came to America in 1902. Later, he had another alias, Tom Davis. Mary was 24 at the time.

The 1910 U.S. Census lists the couple as living in Ottumwa with Mary’s widowed mother and Louis working for the railroad. I found a clipping announcing the death of Mary’s mother, Mary Lewis, who died at the age of 71 on Sept. 13, 1910.

By 1920, everything had changed. Mary was living in Indianola with her four children, ranging in age from 9 years to 18 months. Louis was not living with them. I found him in a Des Moines directory listed as a miner in 1916 and 1917. His World War I draft card claimed he was supporting “mother, father, wife and three children.” He does not appear again until 1940 when he was living in California with his father and going by his original name, Luigi Fiorini.

Luigi Fiorini aka Louis Freno aka Tom Davis is buried in Italian Cemetery in Alamadea, Calif. He vanished from the lives of his first wife and children, yet his gravestone says “Dear Husband” on it. (Photo source: Find a Grave)

I don’t know if Mary knew she how ill she was when she went to live at CSH not long after that. She died on Oct. 14, 1921 and her cause of death is listed as tuberculosis. Also written on her death record is “deserted by husband”. I can only guess that with four children and no family left to help her, Mary didn’t know where to turn. A sadder end I cannot picture.

The Fate of the Freno Children

So what happened to the Freno children? Eldest son Joseph spent time at the Iowa Soldier’s Orphans Home in Davenport, Iowa until enlisting in the U.S. Cavalry. Ida eventually married. Frank and Guy were adopted by different families. All of them spent most of their lives in Iowa.

Mary Freno’s son, Frank, was adopted by Joseph and Emma Bechtel. He became the leader of a popular local band, Frank Bechtel’s Orchestra. That’s him on the far right end. Photo is from 1940. (Photo source: IAGenWeb)

I found a 1940 photo of Frank as an adult, leading his orchestra in the 1930s and 40s. He played the guitar and banjo. They were a popular group that played at many ballrooms around the area.

Meanwhile, Louis Freno married a woman named Josephine in 1941 and worked as a machinist. He became a naturalized citizen in 1943. He died in 1951 in Colma, Calif. and is buried in the Italian Cemetery there. His marker says “Dear Husband” on it.

I admit, I have some not so kind thoughts for Louis/Luigi/Tom. The evidence points to him abandoning his wife when she needed him most and leaving his four young children fatherless. Perhaps there is more to the story that I don’t know. But she did not deserve the fate handed to her.

Descent into Schizophrenia

Joseph Thorp’s story is another tragedy. Born in Canada in 1898, he was the son of George and Martha Larabee Thorp. By 1920, they were farming in Missouri. Joseph, at age 21, married Edith Elsie Gigler, who was 20, on Oct. 4, 1923 in Lamoni, Iowa.

Joseph’s death was a tragic end for a young man battling schizophrenia.

The 1930 U.S. Census lists Joseph and Edith living with Joseph’s parents in Burrell, Iowa. By that time, they had three children, James, Josephine, and Mildred.

Joseph Thorp’s descent into schizophrenia must had been frightening for both him and his family. There were no drugs to combat it then. In 1933, Joseph was sent to live at CSH and on On Oct. 30 of that year, Joseph committed suicide by hanging himself with his bedsheet. His death record notes that he suffered from “dementia praecox”, a term that’s been replaced by schizophrenia. By this time, another son, Leo, had joined the family.

The 1940 U.S. Census lists Edith and her four children living with her parents and bachelor brother, Arthur, in Hamilton, Iowa. She never remarried. She died in 1994 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Lamoni, Iowa, sharing a gravestone with Arthur.

A Mother and Her Sons

Finally, here’s an unusual story of a mother and two of her sons that all died at CSH. This was the last stone I photographed the day we were there.

Elizabeth Leigh spent the last few years of her life with her eldest son, Vinton, at Clarinda State Hospital.

Born in Ohio, Elizabeth Jacque married Daniel Leigh in Knox, Ill. in 1859. They had three sons, Vinton, Willard and Al. Four other children died in infancy/childhood. In 1885, Daniel Leigh died and was buried in West Jersey Cemetery in Illinois. That same year, Elizabeth moved with her sons to Locust Grove, Iowa.

By 1893, Elizabeth, with sons Willard and Al, had moved to Clarinda. Vinton was now living at CSH. I suspect Elizabeth wanted to be close enough to visit him as often as she could. According to a newspaper article, she asked to join him at CSH in the last years of her life. She died there on March 6, 1915. The Iowa state census records for that year list her as insane, but it’s possible she just wanted to be near her son. Vinton died on May 3, 1928 at the age of 50.

After living at the county farm (which often meant “poor house”) for several years, son Willard entered CSH in 1919. So he spent his last years with Vinton. From the sound of his obituary, Willard was allowed to come and go as he pleased:

Willard Leigh, resident of the state hospital since 1919, and well known about Clarinda by his frequent visits to church and about town, passed away last Tuesday morning. He had been failing for several months and friends had missed him. He had a stroke several nights before his death and never regained consciousness. Burial will be made at the hospital cemetery.

Willard died on April 30, 1934 at the age of 73. He is listed as being buried at Clarinda City Cemetery, which is just down the road from the CTC Cemetery, but there is no photograph of his grave. Al, the last son of the family, moved back to West Jersey, Ill. to farm. He died there in 1940 and is buried in the same cemetery as his father.

Leaving this cemetery was hard because there were a lot of stones I didn’t have time to photograph. I hope to go back someday and finish what I started. So many stories there I would like to write. So many lives unknown.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Hawkeye state adventure, a part of the country I’d never experienced before. It featured many moments I will always treasure.

Hawkeye State Adventures: Exploring the Clarinda Treatment Complex Cemetery, Part I

Christi and I left Villisca and headed for Clarinda. No mass murders there, thankfully! But it was a place we’d both been once before.

We first visited in 2012 after I arranged a visit to what began as the Clarinda State Hospital (CSH) in 1885. By 2012, the name had changed to the Clarinda Treatment Complex (CTC). The huge rambling building (500,000 square feet) only had about 50 or so geriatric patients still living there, along with a school for delinquent youths called the Clarinda Academy

Why did I want to visit a mental institution? One of my own ancestors lived in such an institution in Athens, Ohio during his final years, which I wrote about in 2014. That made me curious and such places are usually off limits to the public. In 2012, the CTC had a museum devoted to its past that could be toured if you contacted them. So that’s what we did. I didn’t take many photos but the ones I did take have been lost.

This photo of Clarinda State Hospital from 1908 gives one a better idea of just how big the place was. (Photo source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Brandon Hunter, who was in charge of activities for the geriatric patients, showed us around the facility. The museum was enlightening, featuring some of the outdated devices used for psychiatric treatment. The facility itself was full of windows and let in lots of light. It was not a dreary place in general. The only place I did not like was when Brandon took us to where they kept recycling until collection day, the former solitary cells for what I took to be possibly violent patients (no longer used, thankfully). They were dark and scary, and we got out of there as soon as possible.

A postcard of the Clarinda State Hospital’s “Amusement Hall”. It looked quite different when we saw it in 2012. They still had an ancient movie projector gathering dust.

The CTC closed in 2015, deemed too large and too empty to keep operating. Clarinda residents fought to keep it open because it did employ a number of people, including several farmers who provided food. But Iowa’s legislature said no and it closed.

This view of the building only shows one very small part of a huge complex.

We drove to the main building first and it looked very much as it did in 2012. No plans for it seem imminent. According to a 2017 article, substance abuse treatment center Zion Recovery is using part of the building. The basement kitchens are still being used by the nearby prison. Also on campus is the Clarinda Academy, a facility for delinquent youth sent from across the country which was in the news recently for troubling reasons. So its future is in question as well.

The CSH was the third asylum built in Iowa, with plans to house alcoholics, geriatrics, drug addicts, the mentally ill, and the criminally insane. An act of the Twentieth General Assembly of the State of Iowa authorized the appropriation of $150,000 for that purpose. Building began in 1885, with a section for men opening in 1888. Women patients arrived later.

The building’s design follows several other mental institutions built in the Victorian era originally thought up by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, a style now known as the Kirkbride plan. He envisioned an asylum with a central administration building flanked by two wings comprised of tiered wards.

Respected for his accomplishments by his peers, Kirkbride was also reviled by a younger generation of doctors who viewed his influence and devotion to his beliefs as obstacles to progress in psychiatric medicine. (Photo source: Portrait by Howard Russell Butler)

This “linear plan” followed a segregation of residents according to sex and symptoms of illness. Male patients were housed in one wing, female patients in the other. Each wing was sub-divided by ward with the more “excited” patients placed on the lower floors, farthest from the central administrative structure, and the better-behaved, more rational patients situated in the upper floors and closer to the administrative center.

Ideally, this arrangement was intended to make patients’ asylum experience more comfortable and productive by isolating them from other patients with illnesses antagonistic to their own while still allowing fresh air, natural light, and views of the asylum grounds from all sides of each ward.

Brandon told us that while many asylums had very bad reputations, Clarinda was better than most in treating its patients humanely. But like many asylums, overcrowding caused lots of problems until the advent of psychotropic medications like lithium made the need for institutions less pressing.

Also, as I learned from my research about the Athens Asylum, anyone could be committed to a mental asylum in those days for several reasons. If you were tired of caring for your elderly parent, you could drop him or her off at the asylum with few questions asked. Epileptics, post-partum mothers, disobedient teens…all were possible candidates for residency.

Find a Grave lists about 1,200 for the Clarinda Treatment Complex Cemetery. But only 17 percent are photographed.

I didn’t have time to visit the cemetery in 2012 so it was a “must do” this time. Unlike other mental institutions that have cemeteries featuring only a marker with a number, Clarinda’s cemetery has stones with actual names and death years on them. There are even a few markers scattered about that were provided by families.

Most of the stones at the CTC Cemetery only have a date and name on them.

The cemetery is located about a quarter of a mile from the main building between a large cornfield and a cow pasture. The cows were quite intrigued with us and came over to see what we were up to.

The cows actually stopped what they were doing around the pasture and moseyed over to check us out.

Knowing few of these small markers were photographed, I took pictures of as many as I could. Some had faded so greatly that you couldn’t make out the name or date. But I added what I could read to Find a Grave later and looked up some of the stories written about them.

This particular marker for George M. Bird (1842-1912) indicates he did have family that cared about him. Born in 1842 in Illinois, George enlisted in Company A of the Iowa 12th Infantry Regiment on Oct. 17, 1861 at the age of 19. It appears he never married.

Union veteran George Bird spent the last months of his life at Clarinda State Hospital.

George appears in the 1900 U.S. Census as living with his sister, Jerusia Steen, and her family in Watkins, Okla. as an invalid. He was still living with his sister and her husband in 1910 in Harrison County, Iowa. George’s veteran administration records indicate he began receiving a pension in 1892, listing that he had a “disease of the chest” and is also marked “imbecile”.

I don’t know what George’s exact cause of death was. Only that he likely only spent the last year or so at Clarinda State Hospital (CSH). It’s possible Jerusia and her husband, getting older themselves, could no longer care for him.

Many of the people buried in the cemetery that I researched were elderly and only spent the last few years of their lives at CSH, with “exhaustion from psychosis” being listed as past of their cause of death. However, there was a pair of stones beside each other for William J. Dunlap and Elizabeth Dunlap that puzzled me. I think they may be siblings but I am not certain.

William Dunlap entered CSH when he was 28 years old. Did his sister join him four years later?

William J. Dunlap was born in 1861 somewhere in Iowa. His death certificate lists him as having been a farmer and a schoolteacher in Ringgold, Iowa when he entered the Clarinda State Hospital in December 1888. He was 28 at the time. Listed as single, he lived there for 45 years until his death on Jan. 7, 1934 from “exhaustion from psychosis” and “cerebral arteriosclerosis”.

Elizabeth Dunlap, born in 1866, is also listed as a schoolteacher from Ringgold, Iowa when she entered CSH in 1892. She was 26 at the time. Listed as single, she lived there for 41 years before dying on Nov. 3, 1933 of lobar pneumonia. This was only about two months before William died.

Elizabeth Dunlap entered Clarinda State Hospital four years after William Dunlap.

I could not find out anything about William or Elizabeth’s parents, neither of them appears in census records before their time at CSH. Because they are listed as being single, school teachers from Ringgold, and are buried next to each other, I think they must have been siblings. At least in once record, Elizabeth is listed as insane on an Iowa state census record. I like to think perhaps that if they were brother and sister, they took comfort from each other’s presence over the years.

There are many more stories to share from Clarinda. I hope you’ll join me next time to learn about them.

I’m standing beside the grave of John Sheridan Smith, who died at the age of 28 on Nov. 9, 1918. It’s possible he died of the Spanish Influenza sweeping the country at the time.

Hawkeye State Adventures: Visiting The Ax Murder House and Villisca Cemetery

For some time, Christi and I had talked about going to visit the Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. Since we were taking a meandering route back to Omaha and it was on our way, we decided to stop and see it.

In 1994, Darwin and Martha Linn of Corning, Iowa bought the Moore family home and returned it to its original condition (without plumbing and electricity). It opened for tours and now attracts a lot of attention. A number of TV shows like “Ghost Adventures” have filmed episodes there and books have been written about the murders. You can even rent the entire house and stay overnight to see if any ghosts show up, but it will cost you $428. We chose the $10 daytime tour.

Tragedy struck the home of Josiah and Sarah Moore in Villisca, Iowa on the evening of June 9, 1912.

The Moore family consisted of father Josiah “Joe” (43), mother Sara (30), son Herman (11), daughter Katherine (10), son Boyd (7), and son Paul (5).  Joe was born in 1868 and was a well-known businessman in town. A native of Illinois, he’d worked at the Jones Store in Villisca for several years before opening his own competing business. Born in Knox County, Ill. in 1873, Sarah’s family moved to Iowa around 1894. She and Joe married in 1899.

On a Sunday evening, June 9, 1912, the Moore family went to the Presbyterian church to attend the Children’s Day program that Sara had helped organize. With them were sisters Lena (12) and Ina (8) Stillinger. Katherine invited both girls to spend the night at the Moore’s home after the program. When they returned to the Moore home, they all went to bed.

Joe and Sara with son Herman and daughter Katherine when they were toddlers.

The next morning, neighbor Mary Peckham noticed the Moore home was unusually quiet, with no outside chores taking place. After knocking on the front door and finding it locked, she contacted Joe’s brother, Ross. He found a key and entered the house, getting only as far as the spare bedroom on the first floor before immediately stepping back onto the porch. He asked Mrs. Peckham to call the sheriff at once.

In the downstairs bedroom were the bodies of the Stillinger sisters. The Moore family was found in the upstairs bedrooms by city marshal Hank Horton. Everyone in the house was dead, their skulls crushed by an ax as they slept.

Word of the murders spread fast in the small town and over the next hours, the crime scene was hopelessly compromised by gawkers walking through the house. The Villisca National Guard arrived around noon to secure the home. Back then, there was nothing like today’s crime team technicians to meticulously comb the area for clues or take DNA samples. Even the use of fingerprint evidence was in its infancy.

Sarah Moore with her two youngest children, Paul and Boyd.

The facts are these. Eight people were bludgeoned to death, presumably with an ax left at the crime scene (found in the room where the Stillinger girls were). It belonged to Joe Moore. It is believed everyone was asleep at the time of the murders, with time of death shortly after midnight. Curtains were drawn on all of the windows in the house except two, which did not have curtains. Those windows were covered with clothing belonging to the Moores.

Lena and Ina Stillinger spent the night at the Moore family home after the Children’s Day program at church.

All of the victims’ faces were covered with bedclothes after they were killed. A kerosene lamp was found at the foot of the bed of Joe and Sarah and a similar lamp was found at the foot of the bed of the Stillinger girls. At some point, the killer(s) also took a two-pound slab of uncooked bacon from the icebox, wrapped it in a towel, and left it on the floor of the downstairs bedroom close to a short piece of key chain that did not belong to the Moores. A pan of bloody water was discovered on the kitchen table as well as a plate of uneaten food. The doors were all locked.

The Moore house’s attic is where police found two spent cigarettes, suggesting the killers hid there until the occupants had fallen asleep.

The Moore-Stillinger funeral services were held in Villisca’s town square on June 12, 1912, with thousands in attendance. The funeral cortege was 50 carriages long. National Guardsmen blocked the street as a hearse moved toward the firehouse, where the eight victims lay. Their caskets were later carried on wagons to Villisca Cemetery for burial.

A horse-drawn hearse brings the murder victims to the Villisca Cemetery.

Several suspects were questioned and one man, traveling preacher Rev. George Kelly, supposedly confessed to the crimes. Rev. Kelly had attended the Children’s Day program that night and left town the very next day. He was tried twice for the crime. The first trial resulted in a hung jury and the second trial ended in an acquittal.

The most notorious theory was that the murders were retaliation for Joe’s alleged affair with his former employer Frank Jones’s daughter-in-law Dona Jones. Formerly in the Iowa House of Representatives, Jones became a senator in 1913. Telephone operators claimed they’d overheard conversations between Joe and Dona arranging trysts. Joe had also taken the lucrative John Deere franchise with him when he opened his own business in Villisca in 1907.

While never formally charged with any crime, Jones was the subject of a grand jury investigation and a campaign to prove his guilt impacted his political career. Many Villisca residents said they were convinced Jones used his considerable influence to have the case against him silenced.

Many other theories are floating around about who did it and why. But in the end, nobody truly knows. The case has never been solved.

Villisca Cemetery has about 5,400 burials recorded on Find a Grave. I could find next to nothing about the cemetery online but I believe burials may pre-date the 1850s.

In case you’re wondering, I felt only sadness when we were in the house. I sensed nothing spooky or paranormal in nature. It was hard to believe that one day this happy family was going to church and by the next had been wiped out, including two little girls that would normally not have even been in the home.

We headed to Villisca Cemetery after that, which has about 5,400 burials recorded on Find a Grave. It is well tended and on that sunny day, it was peaceful except for the birds. While there is a ton of information online about the Moore-Stillinger murders, I could find few details about the cemetery they are buried in. A very helpful directory/map is located outside the front gates to help visitors locate graves, which we appreciated.

The Moore family has one large surname stone and then a long, low flat one beside it that lists all of their names and dates. Being so short, it was not easy for me to photograph it in a favorable way.

Gravestones of the Moore family, with their names listed in order of age. Visitors often leave coins, toy cars and other little items on the grave. I think the most poignant one has to be Paul’s on the end, who was only five when he was killed.

Paul Moore was the youngest of the family, only five years old.

Not far away is the Stillinger family plot. Lena and Ina share the same stone. It, too, is covered in coins and trinkets.

Lena and Ina share a gravestone.

It was there that I discovered a sad footnote to this story. At the time of the murders, Lena and Ina’s mother, Sarah Stillinger, was seven months pregnant. She gave birth to a stillborn son just a few days after the murders. To add to the family’s tragedy, their home burned to the ground in January 1913. One newspaper account claimed Sarah had died in the fire but that was untrue. She died in 1945. Husband Joseph died in 1946. They are buried beside their children.

Sarah Stillinger, traumatized by the murders of her daughters, gave birth to a stillborn son a few days later.

We lingered a little while at Villisca Cemetery before heading to T.J.’s Cafe on the town square for a late lunch. We were dining among people whose ancestors had quite possibly known the Moores and Stillingers. But for all its notoriety, Villisca is still a small farming community where people are raising their families and simply trying to get by. Just like the rest of us.

I pray that it is never touched by a tragedy like this ever again.

Hawkeye State Adventures: Finding “The Peace That Passes All Understanding” at Malvern Cemetery, Part II

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.

Andrew Scott was only 21 when he died from “disease of the throat”.

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.

Samuel Scott was stricken with paralysis on a street car in Lincoln, Neb. a few days before 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.

The monument for Teresa Purcell Scott’s parents lists many of her siblings on the side.

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.

John Rains moved to Malvern in 1853 after the murder of his wife in Missouri.

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 Robinson survived 13 months in a Confederate prisoner of war camp in Tyler, Texas.

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.

Originally a Confederate training facility, Camp Ford later became a prison camp for captured Union soldiers.

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.

Both Robinson brothers were 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.


Hawkeye State Adventures: “Goodbye, Goodbye But Not Forever” at Malvern Cemetery, Part I

After spending the night in Malvern’s former train depot office, we decided to visit another cemetery before heading east to Villisca. Malvern Cemetery is located just south of town and had a few Find a Grave photo requests, so we headed there.

Originally called Milton, Malvern was founded in 1869. The name was changed to Malvern after it was discovered that another Milton, Iowa existed. Malvern was one of four communities in the area that came to exist after completion of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad on November 18, 1869.

Bench outside the former train depot office that’s now an Air B n B site.

John D. Paddock and his bride were the first residents of Malvern. Later, Paddock would become one of Malvern Cemetery’s first trustees. Excerpts from his 1917 book “A Brief History of Malvern” were invaluable in writing this post and the next one I am working on now.

Malvern was then and is now largely a farming community with a population of around 1,140. It was going through a bit of a slump by the 1990s but thanks to some grant money and new residents with fresh ideas, Malvern’s experienced a bit of a renaissance. The train depot office we stayed in sits near the Wabash Trace Nature Trail that runs through town and attracts a growing number of cyclists from the region.

Malvern Cemetery’s gates looks to have been put in place sometime in the 1990s.

In the beginning, the cemetery was called Silver Creek Burying Ground and has also had the names Aurora Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery. But Malvern Cemetery is the name that’s stuck the longest and it is what the place is called today.

The first burial was Eliza Raines who died on May 20, 1857. When the 11-year-old died of pneumonia, her father Henry Raines walked over his land and selected the burial site. Several days later, after the death of his wife, Milton Summers asked if he might bury her near Eliza. Henry Raines died in 1879 and was buried there. On August 26, 1879, a corporation was formed in the name of the Malvern Cemetery Association, and officers and trustees were elected.

A pretty cross donated by a local family.

At 30 acres, Malvern Cemetery has about 4,400 burials and is well maintained. During out visit, a kind gentleman working on the property came over to ask if we were looking for a particular grave. He told us he and his family had lived in the area for many years and that the community was active in making sure the cemetery was in good shape. We could see that was obviously true.

Malvern Cemetery features something many well maintained Nebraska and Iowa cemeteries have and that’s an up-to-date directory of exactly who is buried where. For a Find a Grave volunteer like me, that is a Godsend. Christi and I fulfilled some FG photo requests that day because of Malvern Cemetery’s excellent directory.

A well-maintained directory like this one makes a cemetery hopper’s day.

It didn’t take me long to find the tallest monuments in the cemetery. Three distinctive tree-style markers were in the same plot. I’ve rarely seen markers of this variety quite so tall. It was only this week when I started researching them that the tragedy involving two of them came to light.

This trio of “trees” is one of the tallest I’ve seen of this style of monument.

Born in 1824 in West Virginia, Josiah Coe Wearin was the son of Michael and Mary Ann Coe Wearin. He spent his early years in Ohio. In 1847, he married Olive Smith in La Porte, Ind. By 1860, he and Olive had four children and were farming in Indian Creek, Iowa in Mills County (where Malvern is located). Josiah’s siblings and father eventually moved to Iowa as well.

The story of Josiah Wearin’s death is written on his monument.

It is from Paddock’s 1917 book “A Brief History of Malvern” that I found an account of the train accident in St. Charles, Mo. that took the life of Josiah and his son-in-law’s father, Jordan W. Hyde. It is believed that a span of the railroad that crossed the Missouri River collapsed and possibly one of the cars derailed, sending the train crashing into the water.

Paddock confused Jordan’s name with that of Jordan’s son, Richard Warren Hyde. R.W. was soon to be married to Josiah’s daughter, Coloma.

November 8th, at about 8:30 in the evening, occurred the frightful disaster at St. Charles, MO, taking three lives of our own people, bringing great sorrow to our town and the community. Mr. Josiah Wearin, Mr. R.W. Hyde and John Summers, also the life of John Barnet, the brakeman, that brought sorrow to some other homes. Mr. J.M. Strahan and Mr. Fred Davis were also in the caboose car with the others.

Mr. Strahan obeyed quickly the impulse and jumped off from the car into the darkness, miraculously striking astride of the pier timbers to which he clung, while the car in which his companions were, went down in a second of time later into the opened chasm, to the rocks and water 75 feet below. Mr. Davis went down with those who perished, but was wondrously spared his life, with only slight bodily injuries. A span of the bridge gave way under the heavily loaded stock train of 18 cars of cattle which were being shipped to Buffalo NY. John Summers was not killed outright but after hours of suffering, death came to his relief.

Josiah Wearin was only 55 when he died.

The epitaph on Josiah’s monument shares the story of his demise.

Erected by a mourning family of six surviving children and their mother in memory of a kind husband and devoted friend to whom the poor man never appealed in vain. In the prime of his usefulness met an untimely death in the fall of a railroad bridge at St. Charles, Mo. Nov. 8, 1879. Goodbye, goodbye, but not forever.

Jordan Hyde was a widower living in Montana at the time of his death at age 64.

A native of Franklin, Tenn., Jordan Hyde had ventured west in his younger days and was living in Montana according to the 1870 Census. By the time of the accident, he was widowed and the father of two sons.

His epitaph reads:

Erected by the two surviving sons of a family of five children in memory of father, mother and three infant brothers buried near Hannibal, Mo. Our beloved father came to his untimely death in the midst of his usefulness by the fall of a railroad bridge at St. Charles, Mo. on Nov. 8, 1879. Gone home to meet the loved ones gone before.

R.W. married Coloma in February 1880. Josiah’s wife, Olive, was living with her four other adult children by that time. All of them married and had families. Olive died at the age of 79. Her obituary noted her wealth:

Mrs. Wearin was almost 80 years of age and had lived on the old home farm a mile northwest of Henderson for 50 years. She was without doubt the wealthiest woman in Mills County at the time of her death, being worth probably half million dollars. Among other things, in real estate she possessed 1,500 acres of land along the Nishna valley.

Nearly 80 when she died, Olive Wearin’s wealth was estimated at half a million dollars.

John Summers, who was only 22 at the time, survived the wreck but died a few days later. He’d spent all of his short life in Iowa. He is also buried at Malvern Cemetery, but his marker is far more humble than those of Hyde and the Wearins.

John Summers survived the train wreck but died from his injuries a few days later. (Photo Source: Find a by kweaver)

Survivor James Strahan was about 50 at the time of the accident. His wife, Frances, died after a long illness in 1885. James died in 1907 at the age of 70. He is buried at Malvern Cemetery. According to Paddock:

Today, August 14, 1907, while at his work, James Miller Strahan is stricken with death. “God steps in and says thy work is finished.” The eulogy of his life has been ably spoken. We cannot say more.  A true and valued friend and citizen has been taken from us.

I did notice that the name of the carvers, which appear to be Connor and Gunella, are on both Josiah and Jordan’s monuments. I could find nothing about them.

I think there must be Wearins still living in the area that visit these graves. This handsome canine is nestled on Josiah’s “Father” marker next to his “tree”.

A dog stands watch over the Wearin monuments.

Since I’ve got John Paddock’s book to guide me, I’ll be back next time to share some more stories from Malvern Cemetery.

“Goodbye, Goodbye, But not forever…”