Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday :: Marjorie Quillen

September 11, 2009 - Since it was dark the previous day when I went through the charming community of Overbrook, Kansas and because I was now back in the area to photograph tombstones from another nearby cemetery, I decided to see if I could locate the grave of little Marjorie Quillen.

According to an entry on Interment.net, Marjorie died on January 20, 1903 at the age of 14 days. Her parents were Mandella “Della” Joslin and James Downey “J. D.” Quillen. Della was was a sister of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa (Joslin) Brubaker. They lived in Overbrook for a few years before moving to Anacortes, Washington prior to 1907. While in Overbrook, J. D. was editor and publisher of the Overbrook Citizen. I wonder now whether any issues of the newspaper exist (on microfilm or otherwise) and if J. D. wrote of the death of his little daughter. For some reason I didn't even think of it while I was in Overbrook. A one-track mind, I guess.

I stopped at the library in Overbrook and asked it they had a publication of tombstone transcriptions. She said no, then when I asked if they had a diagram of the local cemetery, she said yes! And then brought out this huge book, which they called a “census” of the cemetery. Different terminology, but just what I was looking for.

Alas, the diagram of Overbrook cemetery that was published in the book bore no resemblance whatsoever to the various sections as they now exist. The drawing even had the librarian confused. The “census” did show that Marjorie was buried in the old section of the cemetery. The lady I was speaking with tried to tell me where that might be and I think that is the area where I went, but nowhere could I find little Marjorie!

I looked for over an hour, in the hot sun, and I walked up and down all the rows in what seemed like was the oldest section, to no avail. Then off in the distance I could see a young man on a three-wheeler driving down each of the lanes. Attached to the three-wheeler was a weed-eater. He stopped in front of me as I frantically waved my arms at him.

He had the nicest smile. He was very helpful but couldn't recall seeing a stone with the Quillen name on it, but he said he sees so many stones every week and even if he remembered the name he probably wouldn't be able to tell me where it was located. So for perhaps another 30 minutes we both walked up and down the rows, but little Marjorie was not to be found – at least not by me and not on that day.

There was a touching tribute to another little girl, Vivian Butell. She was older, having lived for four years from 1914-1918. I am sure that Della and J. D. would have liked to have left such a monument to their little daughter, but they were not wealthy folk. I envision little Marjorie's marker to be a small one, unassuming and unostentatious. I was somewhat saddened that her grave site wasn't found but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Marjorie wasn't found that day, but I must admit that I was overcome with emotion when I saw the lovely monument to Vivian Butell. The inscription read: Vivian Dau of / Dr. A U & Maud / Butell / 1914-1918

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