"Went on to Center Hill, where my grandmother Reed and her daughter Eliza died and were buried 63 years ago. I wanted to see the graves and find out grandmother's first name. Eliza married Pelham Ellet and went to Florida with him to live. Lawrence was born of the union, and later she contracted blackwater fever. Her mother came down from Fennville, Mich. to care for her, caught the disease, and died nine days after her daughter. We found the cemetery very neat and well cared-for, a beautiful place. The inscriptions read:
Elize Reed Ellet
Apr 8 1869
Apr 2 1896
Gone but not forgotten
Ella, beloved wife of
James L. Reed
Born Apr. 16, 1846
Died Apr 11, 1896
We found two other graves in the cemetery:
Charles G. Lamoreaux 1861-1944
Edith Reed Lamoreaux 1866 - 1948
In August of 1975, on my way to Tallahassee to start my senior year of college, I drove through Central Florida to Sumter County, where Center Hill is located.
And in October 2008, when my daughter Stacy and I were in Florida for my high school reunion, we took a side trip to Center Hill (actually, two - because we couldn't find the cemetery the first time!). This time, because of all my research, I knew a little bit more about the family. Nonetheless, I was surprised and touched to find a grave for 1-year old Percy Lamoreaux, the son of Edith and Charles. He had died in April of 1895, just a year before Edith's sister and mother died. I imagine it was with mixed feelings of sorrow and joy that Edith took her sister's young son Lawrence to raise as her own.
And as for Edith and Eliza, I believe I've found photographs of them, as well.
It had not occurred to me before, but obviously after Mary Ellen and Eliza died, the Michigan relatives continued to make the journey to Florida to keep in touch with Edith and Charles Lamoreaux and their nephew Lawrence. At some point they moved to Miami, where Charles died in 1944 and Edith four years later. And somehow in all of this, the album was left behind, to end up in someone's garage sale, and eventually to find its way back home to me.