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I've written before about looking for one thing, and finding another.

And so it was with Ollie Mable Kinzie.

I was at the Arkansas History Commission in mid-May, plowing through microfilm of old newspapers in 1914, and stumbled upon a very sad story. That story started me on a quest.
Little Rock - "No home, no money, no friends, and can't get work." In that terse, tear stained sentence she had hastily scrawled on a piece of paper which lay on the bed beside the body of pretty Mable Kinzie who had taken her own life in a rooming house at 215 West Third street at 12:00 o'clock Thursday afternoon is told the pathetic story of hardships, loneliness and final desperation that drove the friendless girl to swallow the contents of a vial of carbolic acid.

"I have been wandering friendless and penniless for weeks, and when my money ran out I could think of no other recourse by which to better this scheme of life than destroying it," read the farewell message. "My friends were not friends in times of trouble.The world was sweet when all went well, when I had money and work, but the cup of bitterness has blighted whatever sweetness there is in life for me and this is my time to leave." The letter was addressed to her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley, at the Barnfield house, Texarkana.

"Miss Kinzie came to my house Monday afternoon," said Mrs. Willie O'Connor, who conducts the rooming house, "and paid me for one night and left her grip in the hall Tuesday afternoon when she went out in search of work. She didn't come back Tuesday night. Yesterday afternoon, I saw a light in the room she had formerly occupied. I knew that it should not be lighted at that time of day and went in the room not expecting to find anyone there.

"I saw Miss Kinzie lying on the bed, and supposing she was only asleep went over to the bed and began to shake her, and then I noticed the paleness of her face and called to her but she did not answer. Then I saw the note and thinking she might be saved I called a doctor who said she was dead. She couldn't have been dead very long when I entered the room."

Source: Southern Standard, Thursday, 14 May 1914.
But even in death, Mable appeared to have no friends.

Couldn't Find Work; In Despair Ended Her life
Lifeless Form of Mabel Kinzie Still at Morgue

The body of pretty Mabel Kinzie, who ended her life Wednesday afternoon at 215 West Third street by swallowing the contents fo a bottle of carbolic acid because she was without funds, friendless and could not obtain work, still lies unclaimed at the Healey & Roth morgue.

In a note to her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley of Texarkana, she said that her reason for taking her life was, "No home, no money, no friends, and can't get work." This sister was notified and said that her husband, Frank Bentley, would arrive in Little Rock yesterday afternoon to take charge of the body, but at a late hour last night Mr. Bentley had not appeared.

It is said that the girl is a native of Missouri and that her parents are living there now. Wednesday night Bentley did not announce the home of the girl's parents, and it is the belief of the local authorities that they have never been notified of their daughter's death, as no word has come from them.

The verdict of the coroner's jury last night was that the girl committed suicide. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Coroner Frank Martin.

Source: Arkansas Gazette, Friday, 8 May, 1914
So now, I wondered if Mable was one of the people buried in a pauper's grave at Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park - at that time, still the City Cemetery.

After waiting for two months for the Arkansas Department of Health to get its act together on the printing of the 1914 death certificate - apparently you have to have a special printer for those, and theirs needed parts, to which I finally said, PRINT THE FRICKING CERTIFICATE ALREADY! - I got it.

The Gazette must have gone to print before Mable's body was sent - probably by train - to Webb City, Missouri on 8 May 1914.

There are two cemeteries in Webb City, which is in Jasper County, the county of her birth in 1892. Her death certificate says she was born in Independence, and that she was 22 years old. The informant for the certificate was her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley, who didn't know her own sister's date of birth.

One of those cemeteries is the Webb City Cemetery, and the other is Mount Hope Cemetery. I cannot find a grave for her, even using alternate surname spellings, in either cemetery. It's possible the grave was not marked, or it was and an online record of it just doesn't exist.

But I do know who her parents were - Charles Henry Kinzie and Mary A Kants/Koonts, both born in Indiana. I found Ollie Mable Kinzie living with her father and step-mother in the 1910 census in Carterville Ward 1, Jasper Co., MO. I know she had an older brother named John, but I can't find out what happened to him after the 1880 census.
By now, I am very curious about why it took so long for someone from Mable's extended family to claim her body. Why she found herself nearly 300 miles from home, alone in Little Rock, AR, without friends and not a penny to her name.

And I want to find her grave.


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Dee Burris Blakley

August 2017

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