Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Broken Hearts and Stones

Can you read it?

 Here’s what it says: Nanie. Dau of WH and Lizzie Clements. Died Nov. 8, 1896. AGE 5 yrs 7 mos. REST IN PEACE.

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Here’s another one.

I doubt if you can read this one. The picture is a bird (dove?) with something in its mouth.

Probably still can’t read it. Right?

How about now?

Still a little hard, isn’t it? Here’s what it says: Maxine Robertson. Born and Died Jan. 3, 1901.

Imagine both sets of parents’ aching  hearts? I know lots of babies and small children died around the turn of that century, but it couldn’t make losing them any easier.

Here’s something that for me is almost as sad–both tombstones are broken. You can see in the first one, it’s been lying on the ground for so long there’s grass growing between the stone and the base. 

The one belonging to Baby Maxine, who was born and died on the same day, is lying flat on top of the base.

I don’t know who is responsible for upkeep of tombstones, especially old ones. What if there’s not any family left to take care of them? What do we do? Just leave them lying on the ground?

Or maybe I could mix up a little concrete and take it with me the next time Carollea and I walk around the cemetery.


Wowed Wednesday

Yesterday was Tombstone Tuesday, so today must be Wowed Wednesday. (To be honest, what wows me is people. Must be that curiosity gene.)

Okay, I know I just talked about walking on Friday,

but go with me on this. 🙂

My walking buddy and I charged past some great yardscapes yesterday.

A tree challenged witch.

A spider infested house.

And even a brand new neighborhood graveyard, which just recently sprung up. Shades of The ‘Burbs. *Shiver*

But the house that stopped us in our tracks is a very familiar one to me. It’s the house where I took piano lessons from the time I was in second grade. It’s the place I walked to once a month for Piano Club.

The home’s current owner and one of her beautiful daughters were there, putting on the finishing touches when we power walked up 😉 and screeched to a halt.

We said hello and told them how beautiful their decorations are. Then I asked for permission to take pictures. And since we’re all from the same Small Town World (I used to smile when the sisters came in the dress shop) I took the chance to chat a bit.

We had such a great talk! I loved the few moments we got to hang together and wished we had more.

Beautiful yardscape, ladies. Love it! And more, I had so much fun catching up. Trouble is, now I want to know more.

It’s really not my fault. It has to be that curiosity gene.


Tombstone Tuesday–Found it!

This picture was taken by Janis Hart at Find-A-Grave.

Carollea, my walking buddy, and I have been watching for the Civil War General’s tombstone I read about in The Cleveland American several years ago as we trek around the cemetery. I had an idea which section the grave was in, but we’d wandered through before and we hadn’t found it.

Until yesterday!

At first, the upright tombstone was all we saw. “This guy’s a Colonel.”

Then we noticed something under the dirt. Carollea did a great job of shoving the dirt off the concrete buried there, and we found . . .

Woohoo! It was our General! Not JUST a General, a Brigadier General. (BTW: I accidentally cut off the date of his death–1907 if you’re wondering.

Here’s what one website had to say about him.

Birth: May 25, 1830
Franklin County
Ohio, USA
Death: Sep. 16, 1907
Pawnee County
Oklahoma, USA

Civil War Union Brevet (I think Brevet means it was a temporary field commission-ss) Brigadier General. Prior to the war he was a prosecuting attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Wabash, Indiana.On the morning after Fort Sumter fell to the Confederates, he joined the 8th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and was commissioned a Captain.He took part in the battle of Springfield, Missouri (DIL2 is from Springfield! Talk about a Small Town World!ss)and Pea Ridge, Arkansas,(I’ve been to that battle and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in May of 1863. He distinguished himself in other battles and was promoted Colonel in command of the 130th Regiment Indiana Infantry. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted Brigadier General and placed in command of seven counties in the western district of North Carolina.(bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith)

This is Charles.

He could have used a comb, but otherwise, he looks pretty nice, doesn’t he? 🙂 But if you look at his eyes, they look kind of haunted. Makes me wonder what sadness he’d suffered during that horrible war. And what the horrors he saw did to him.

Charles Sherman Parrish is possibly the only Civil War general buried in Oklahoma , according to the information published by Robert Grierson entitled, Here They Lie – Burial Sites of Famous People in Oklahoma, (n.d.).

He is buried in a simple grave in Lot 14, Section 4 of Block 59 at the Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Oklahoma. There are apparently no other family members buried at this site.

Charles (Think people called him Chuck? Or maybe Charlie?) had many jobs after the war from the Indiana State Senate to Register in Bancruptcy to Inspector of Customs in New Orleans.

General Parrish went west in 1891 to get away from his old associates and rebuild a legal business. It was stated in newspaper stories that his old habits so controlled him that he never sufficiently established himself to warrant sending back east for his family.

He spent eight to ten years at Perry and Orlando, Oklahoma. He was also in Cloud County, Kansas in 1888 and Republic County, Kansas in 1889.

On November 11, 1903, he was admitted to the Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Jonesboro, Tennessee for three years.

He died in Cleveland, Oklahoma on September 16, 1907.

I wonder if he really didn’t have relatives here in C-Town, as the biographies suggest. I remember a wonderful librarian we had for years when I was a kid.I think Parrish was her name–Sis was the name we knew her by. She took care of our library from the day I got my first library card until I was out of school.

While I was in college, I tried to check out, “Doctors’ Wives,” but Sis wouldn’t let me. “I don’t think your mom would want you to read that book.” 🙂 And she was right!

If I remember right, Sis had a husband who was a really nice postman. (No, that’s not an oxymoron. No jokes about the postal department, please. LOL)

I’m hoping Sis and her husband, whose name it seems like was Walt, were related to Charles. I hope they knew him, loved him, were his family and were with him at his death.

It’s just too sad to think of the man being all alone when he died.   

You can read about Charles at and

Or check him out on Google. He’s pretty interesting.