Thursday, July 16, 2015

My mother always wondered . . . about Mary Lucy Hall

    My mother’s father died two weeks before she was born, having contracted pneumonia at his father’s funeral a month before. Her paternal grandmother had died a year earlier. The only surviving member of her father's family was thought (erroneously) to be Mary Lucy Hall, her grandmother’s sister.
Indian Hill Cemetery, 1986
     My grandmother and her new-born daughter went to live with her parents in New Jersey and lost touch with Mary Lucy. By the time my mother was old enough to ask questions about her father’s family, no one knew what had become of her. She wasn't buried in the family plot in Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut, although her name was on the Hall monument.
    My grandmother had vaguely remembered that a nursing home in New York City notified her of Mary Lucy's death sometime in the 1920s. And she recalled sending money to this long forgotten facility for a gravestone.
Woodlawn Cemetery, May 2014
    It wasn’t until several years after my mother’s death that I searched New York City’s death records on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and found Mary Lucy’s death certificate. She had died in 1924 in a home for the aged in New York City and had been buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. 
    Bronx Aquarian, a Find A Grave volunteer, responded to my request for a photograph of the gravestone and also took one of the monument on the plot.1
    Wouldn’t my mother have been interested to know what became of Mary Lucy?

    1.  “Mary Lucy Hall,” memorial 113305249, Find A Grave.