Wednesday, January 06, 2021

The magnificent obituary of "Grandma" Larimer

The art of obituary writing is not necessarily lost, but rarely practiced these days with the eloquence found in the following example, published in The Chariton Democrat of Jan. 17, 1901.

There are at least two inaccuracies in it --- Harriet (Yergey) Weaver/Larimer (left) was buried in what we now call the Allen Pioneer Cemetery, where she shares a tombstone with her first husband, George Weaver, that also serves as a cenotaph for their son, John, killed at Shiloh, rather than at nearby LaGrange. And William McDermott, mentioned in passing, was not Lucas County's first settler (John and Hannah Ballard were).

There's also a puzzle --- a reference to another son, William Weaver, also reportedly killed at Shiloh, that merits further investigation.

But none of that detracts  from the glory of this:


A silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken, the dust has returned to earth as it was, the spirit has returned to the God who gave it and grandma Larimer, as she was familiarly called by all,  now rests in peace. On Thursday, January 10, at the age of eighty-four, she closed her eyes in death. The end was as peaceful as the close of a beautiful  summer day, when daylight fades into night with increasing loveliness. She had been a sufferer with stomach and head trouble  for years, but lagrippe was thought to be the final cause of her death.

Miss Harriet Yergey was born July 2,  1816, at Reading, Pennsylvania, and the year in which she was born was called the year without a summer. At the age of eighteen, in company with her widowed mother, one sister and brother, she removed to Circleville, Ohio. On December 8, 1836, she was married to George Weaver, Rev. Putnam officiating. They resided in Pickaway county until 1850 and there five children were born to them. In that year they came to Iowa and settled on the farm twelve miles northeast  of Chariton where her death occurred. It was in that neighborhood that Wm. McDermott, the earliest settler in this county located. Her brother, John Yergey, preceded them  to this county, coming here in 1848.

George Weaver died September 12, 1869, and she was married to Hugh Larimer on October 12, 1876, who died January 27, 1884. Mrs. Larimer passed away on Thursday, January 10, 1901, at 1:50 o'clock and on Saturday, the 13th,  the remains were laid to rest in the Lagrange (actually Allen) Cemetery by the side of George Weaver. Rev. Johnson, pastor of the M.E. church at Russell  conducted the services. The only surviving member of her immediate family is a daughter, Mrs. Kate R. Larimer of Ola. Her  other children were John and William Weaver, who were killed at the battle of Shiloh, Mrs. Sarah Ely and Mrs. Matilda Swett. There are no living brothers or sisters on either her or her husband's side.

Mrs. Larimer lived a quiet and contented life, and her highest happiness came from being helpful to her race. The many years of her life spent in this county obtained for her a circle of friends limited only to her acquaintances. Mankind was benefitted by her life, and many were the admirable traits of her nature, which, if emulated by humanity in general, would make mankind happier and life more pleasant. When but sixteen years of age she united with the Lutheran church at Reading, Pennsylvania, and was one of a class of seventy-five which was confirmed. She retained her membership in the Lutheran church until death.

She was a lady of strong mind and well read, and in her declining years her intellect was remarkable. She retained her senses until she could no longer speak. Those who were acquainted with her for years are the ones who can testify most strongly of her fidelity and pure character. She lived a life of usefulness and her kind words, motherly counsel, and friendly interest touched many lives, filling hearts with nobler purpose and higher aspirations. She was one of the last of the pioneer women of Lucas county and the community suffers from her departure.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

You have to love those old obituaries!