A Present for Mom

Most readers of The Bagpiper will remember that Catherine’s Marker Project in Henry County, Tennessee in 2002 was a huge success. It was a group effort to ensure that Catherine Cowan Erwin (1774-1839)—my g-g-g-grandmother, and the ancestor of many of you—would not be forgotten. As the result of the generous involvement of many of her descendents a new marker was placed at the base of the decaying original vertical grave monument, thus assuring that her resting place would not be lost to future generations.

In June 2003—on my way to Altoona, Kansas, to attend the funeral of my sister Flossie—I stopped off atthe Longton Cemetery in Elk County, Kansas, and visited the resting places of a number of Erwin, Freeman and Hayworth ancestors. The Erwin and Freeman markers and monuments there were in good condition, but it was really sad to see the condition of the Hayworth family plot. The reason was obvious. The last burial in the Hayworth plot had been in 1905, and the rest dated  back another thirty years or so. Only one of the stones had been carved out of marble as are current cemetery markers and monuments.

I thought about the sad condition of the Hayworth plot as I drove back to California, and I also thought about my mother. Hazel Dell Hayworth Erwin would have cried if she could have seen the resting place of her mother, grandparents, aunts, and infant sister. I decided that the persons buried there deserved to be remembered, and I decided that as a gift to my mother I would do something about it.

Consequently I made arrangements with a monument company in Independence, Kansas to restore and remark the Hayworth plot in the Longton Cemetery. As the result of the necessary written communications and final contract, as well as a heavy work load by the monument contractor, the project  was not completed until mid-2004.    

James and Susannah Hayworth have a common monument in the center of the family plot. If one looks closely the inscriptions can still be read, but the elements will soon wear them away. The original upright stone marker was not disturbed, but a single 12x24 marble plaque was placed in front of it within the concrete border (similar to what we did for Catherine Cowan Erwin).

The engraving on the tall slim monuments of Melissa Jane and Mary Miranda Hayworth (extreme left in the top photo), daughters of James and Susannah Hayworth, is no longer readable. A common 12x24 marble plaque, listing pertinent data and similar to that of their parents,  was placed in front of the original monuments.

The monument of Sarah E. Hayworth (Aunt Sat), who was also a daughter of James and Susannah Hayworth, had fallen over (note the space in the center of the top photograph). It is located to the right of her parents, and was the only headstone that was in good shape, so it was re-set on a new foundation.

Next is the grave of Melissa E. Stowe Hayworth, daughter-in-law of James and Susannah, wife of Charles Ellis Hayworth, and my maternal grandmother.

To the right of Melissa is Cora, the infant daughter of Melissa and Charles (Charles Ellis Hayworth is buried in Fargo, OK). The inscriptions on the monuments of Melissa and Cora, like that of James and Susannah Hayworth, are nearly weathered away. A common 12x24 marker was placed in front of their stones as well.

It is my hope that—somehow—my mother knows what  has been done. It was my gift to her, and I know that she would have approved. I like to think that she is looking down from Heaven, with a smile on her face and a tear in her eye, and perhaps saying, "Thanks son."                                                                             »»»