Saturday, February 18, 2012

There is a delay

One interesting fact that you find looking at old death certificates is that folks got 'em in the ground quick. Today the norm is to have a funeral three or four days after the death. Go back 50 -75 years ago it was always the next day. They didn't expect family to come from out of town for funerals and if they waited any longer it would not be pleasant to be in the room with the dearly departed.

Of course there were exceptions. Abraham Lincoln wasn't buried for over three weeks. Even with state of the art embalming (for the time) his remains literally were falling apart by the time they got him into you know who's tomb.

I found a story of delayed burial of almost 80 years that involved one of my great uncles. John J. Kelley of Taylor County Florida was married in 1852 to Tammy Blanchard, sister of my great great grandmother. He enlisted in the Florida Fifth Infantry unit from Taylor and Madison County on August 29, 1862 and went off to fight the Yankees. Unfortunately he was taken prisoner toward the end of the Civil War at Chester Station, Virginia.

He was shipped north to the Hart Island POW camp in New York City's Harbor. There after being held for only two months he died of disease on June 6, 1865. His remains were buried in the prison cemetery along with 234 other confederate POWs. Unfortunately he wasn't to remain in his place of final rest.

In 1941, a few months before the US entered another war they decided to move the Civil War graves from the cemetery on Hart's Island to Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. So John Kelley was dug up and moved south, I assume on a boat and not the N Line subway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good story, as always.