09 September 2011

The Infant

For years now, we have known that Oscar Fitzallen Brown (1832 - 1906) was buried with an infant either immediately adjacent to or near his grave. What we didn't know was her identity.

Thankfully, I have recently acquired a collection of family artificats and photographs from a 2nd cousin, the descendant of Oscar's daughter, Carrie. Carrie kept quite a few things, including letters, her teaching certificates, even some of her report cards from school. The collection has been passed through the generations, and made its way to me as the "family historian". I am grateful to that line of the family for preserving these documents, as they really are priceless.

This brings me to the infant. Included in all these binders and Ziplock bags was a small card, one that solved a family puzzle and provided many answers. All on just a 2 x 4 piece of cardstock. It was the funeral card for Sarah Alice, youngest daughter of Oscar and Frances Brown.

Please note the card was printed by Mrs. S.E. Lawrence, who was Frankie's mother. At the time of Sarah's death, she lived near the Brown family, and seperated from her husband, John Horatio Lawrence. Although they both lived in Nebraska at the end of their lives, they spent the last few years apart.

The card is a small item, but one treasured by this member of the family, as it gives quite a bit of information in a very small space. It tells us that Carrie valued the life of her youngest sister, that Sarah Lawrence was close not only physically, but emotionally, to the family, and it portrays some of Sarah's reputed talent with the written word. She was either well read enough to be aware of it, or wrote it herself.

I prefer to think it is the latter.