dee_burris: (Default)
Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2013-07-24 07:52 pm


The lady at the Old Fort Genealogical Society meant well.

I know she did.

And she gave such prompt attention to my email inquiry.

But my 3rd great grandmother, Elizabeth Harris Chapin, did not die as a result of a fall down some stairs.

That was Mrs. E J Chapin who fell down the stairs.

 photo MrsEJChapinaccident.jpg
Sad Accident
Last evening Mrs. E J Chapin called upon the family of J C Moore of the Fort Scott saw mill, to administer to the care of Mrs. Moore, who is quite sick, when by some unfortunate accident, Mrs. Chapin fell down the stairway in Mrs. Moore's residence, breaking her shoulder blade and dislocating her shoulder. The unfortunate lady was instantly cared for by those in the house. Dr. Aikman was summoned and rendered assistance. The shock to the lady's nerves was severe, but all the skill that medical aid could render was immediately applied.
Source: The Fort Scott Daily Monitor, Wednesday, 7 Sep 1887, page 5, column 4.

Mrs. E J Chapin was Mrs. Elmer Judson Chapin, nee Hannah Elizabeth McIntosh.

And she didn't die. Not immediately. Or even a month later.

Hannah Elizabeth McIntosh Chapin died on 13 Nov 1925, and was buried beside her husband in Maple Grove Cemetery, Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., KS.

Elmer Judson Chapin and my 3rd great grandfather, Nathaniel Foster Chapin, were 6th cousins, once removed.
For the time being, I have the Chapin family lore about how Granny died - from those injuries in the buggy accident when my great grandmother was just an infant.

But now there's this thing that really puzzles me. Why did it take so long to bury her? Her funeral was the day after her death on 4 Oct 1887. Yet the records of Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Scott say she was not interred there until 30 Oct 1887.

Where was she for 25 days?

 photo ElizHarrisChapindeathnotice.jpg

At 2 o'clock p.m., yesterday, at her home in East Fort Scott, 321 Mulberry street, Mrs. E H Chapin, in the fifty-sixth year of her age. The deceased was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, November 20, 1831, married N F Chapin in 1852, and enjoyed the full fruition of life for the past thirty-five years. She was the mother of ten children, seven sons and three daughters, nine of which and the father are now at home mourning her loss. The funeral will take place today at 2 o'clock p.m. All friends of the family are invited to attend.
Source: The Fort Scott Daily Monitor, Wednesday, 5 Oct 1887, page 3, column 5.
rainbow: text "Ehlers-Danlos Awareness" with a central zebra-striped awareness ribbon (Default)

[personal profile] rainbow 2013-07-25 08:43 am (UTC)(link)
That's quite the mystery. All I can come up with is that the newspaper's date is misidentified (which if you ahve the full page is unlikely), that the cemetery's records are wrong, that the ground was frozen or flooded when she died, the gravediggers were on strike, or that for some reason she was buried elsewhere first and then reburied on the 30th (seems unlikely if there was already a family plot there with space for her).

All seem fairly unlikely, but so does an unburied body for 25 days in 1887.

I'm used to funeral processions heading straight to the cemetery after a funeral, so it seems especially odd that the funeral was the 5th but the burial was the 30th.
rainbow: text "Ehlers-Danlos Awareness" with a central zebra-striped awareness ribbon (Default)

[personal profile] rainbow 2013-07-25 07:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, if she was the first one, then yes, it may have taken time to get a plot if money was an issue.

She might have had a temporary grave and been reburied in the cemetery as soon as they were able to. Either someone else's plot at a cemetery, at a home cemetery, or even on their own property. Safer and easier than trying to preserve the body above ground, I'd think.

Or her body could have been packed in ice or salt to retard decomposition--but the temporary grave seems more likely.

Did her family live in town or rurally? In town there may have been laws against graves on the property (or there may not have been; it depends on the size of the lot, the size of the town, etc), but rurally it might not have been a major problem.