Thursday, September 6, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 36

Week 36: Ancestor Photos. For which ancestral photograph are you most grateful? Who is in the photo and how did you acquire it? Why does the photo hold a special place in your heart?

I'm late again, but I'm hanging in there with this year-long project. Had to unpack from my trip to FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) in Birmingham and a side trip to visit to my granddaughters at Mississippi State University. 

My great-grandmother lived to be 97 - I had my first child before she died so I knew her well.  She lost a daughter.  Lelia Ethel was born 18 Nov 1890 in Crawford County, Arkansas - she died at age thirteen, 12 Feb 1904. I was always told she died of an abscess in her side - whatever that might mean. As far as I can determine no death certificate was filed. Lelia was the 4th child in the family.  Grandma's first child - another daughter named Dora - had died soon after birth, but she always told me you didn't grieve for a baby who died so young like you did for a child you raised.  Grandma kept a portrait of Lelia in her bedroom and as a young girl, I was fascinated with this other young girl who never got to grow up.  The picture was likely made shortly before Lelia died.  I've never known what happened to the portrait after Grandma died and her house was sold.  I never expected to see a picture of Lelia again.

However, my Mom had lots of pictures that had belonged to her parents - Lelia had been a sister to her father.  One day in going through a box of old photos we found the following picture - grainy and faded but recognizable.
The couple is James Monroe Comstock (1860-1928) and his wife Lucretia Ellen Wood (1867-1963), my great grandparents.  Left to right the Comstock children are Ira Vard (1892-1968), Kenney Marcus - my grandfather in the bow tie - (1887-1958), Nora Hessa (1889-1973).  And standing to the outside of her mother is LELIA.  The youngest child in the center is Fanny Maude (1894-1988) who later lived with Grandma and took care of her.  She's probably about three - so that dates the picture as made about 1897-98.  There would be four more children in the family.

Lelia is buried in the Uniontown City Cemetery in Crawford County, Arkansas.  On her stone is 
"Her many deeds of kindness form the noblest monument to her memory"

And here is what appeared in the local newspaper:
From Van Buren Argus, 9 Mar 1904:
Lelia Comstock, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. M. Comstock, died February 12, 1904.  Aged 13 years.
While we mourn the loss of her sweet face, we rejoice that she has joined the angelic choir, and has left her earthly tabernacle to dwell in the house not made by hands.
Lelia confessed her faith in Christ September 3, 1902, and was baptized on September 7th.  She was a faithful member until death, and now the tired little soul, which has been afflicted for several years, but clung tenaciously to the promise of God, is now safe in the realms of bliss, where earthly sufferings are forgotten in the everlasting joys of Heaven.
J.J.H., Chairman Secretary, Uniontown, Ark.

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