Archive for December 26th, 2010


The Olney family has a monument in Kirtland South Cemetery that illustrates a facet of life in 19th century America. On the front of the monument, you start with “father” and “mother,” although only father is named and revealed to be buried in Illinois.


Continuing to the right around the base of the obelisk, you find the names of daughters of previously mentioned father and mother, and where they drew their final breaths.


The next panel contains three more names – Oliver, Justin, and Emily – whose relationship to the rest of the memorialized is unclear. Oliver is clearly listed as being buried in Iowa.


A fourth panel, three more names of unspecified relation, with at least one clearly not buried in Kirtland.


This family, presumably originating in Kirtland, splintered as members moved westward and died there, never to return to the family fold in bodily form. Our modern experience of computers and telephones has done much to dull the aches that must have been common – leaving your family and friends to move into strange territory, not knowing if you would ever see them again. You might send letters or telegrams, not knowing when or if your loved ones would receive them. And yet, some member of the Olney family attempted to bring the family together as a unit again in the cemetery, reuniting their names if not their bodies in a fulfillment of the “we’ll all meet again” expressed just above the surname on the monument.

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