Serendipitous Moments

Too seldom in life do things fall together perfectly? Once in a while they do. Those occasions make it all worthwhile. These platitudes are true even in the area of historic research. Perhaps they are most gratifying to those of us dedicated to interpreting history, trying to make history make sense and at the same time digestible.

Further probe of the reader’s memory will recreate the sad return of Littlefield’s body to his family near Sutton. The body was borne by the wagon of Mr. McClimans. The grieving Littlefield parents rewarded McClimans by giving him the 50-70 Springfield trapdoor rifle with which he was armed at the time of death. That weapon is part of the permanent collection and now on display at Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park.

In the Littlefield family plot, we find Marion and his parents, one parent dying in 1891 (the father, Elisha) and the mother in 1915. But the poignant marker is that of his little sister Lettia Littlefield. She died November of 1876 at the age of seventeen. Had she so mourned the tragic death of her brother to the point that her health was ruined?

The well-groomed little cemetery called Farmer’s Valley yielded other interesting facts and conjured up additional ghosts of event long past. That little country cemetery holds the bodies of Mary Kaily, aged 23 and her little son Otto Kaily, aged 4 years. There were both victims of the deadly blizzard which struck on Easter Sunday, the 13th of April in 1873!

The cemetery has other interesting burials, as all cemeteries do. There are at least nine veterans of the American Civil War.

It appears that one of the earlier stone carvers at least the one responsible for the epitaphs was a spelling class dropout. His first-noted error was on Marion Littlefield’s stone itself. We had long been aware that in referring to ‘Pebble Creek’ as the place of his death, that ‘Pebble’ had been spelled Peble. Another stone was noted in which the deceased had been taken into the boosm of his maker, when we may assume that ‘bosom’ was probably the intended word. Even poor Mrs. White’s final tribute was lost in the transcription when she was committed to the case of the angles rather than the softer, more comfortable ‘angels’ as intended.

Pity the poor stone-mason/carver! He probably was finally forced from his chosen field to seek new employment. One humorous, but not original epitaph was ordered by the survivor of the victims of our Easter Blizzard of 1873. Mary F. Kaily’s stone still clearly carries the friendly admonishment to:

“Remember Friends as You Pass By,

As You are Now, So Once Was I,

As I Am Now, Soon You Shall Be,

Prepare for Death and Follow Me.”