Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Mystery

Sterling M. Barner and his wife, Sarah Jane West, of Smithland, Kentucky had four children. The oldest, a son, Joseph, died of disease during the Civil War. The youngest was either stillborn or died shortly after birth on the 9th of July 1855. The two middle children were daughters, Mary E. and Martha "Pattie."

Both Mary E. and Pattie not only shared the same parents, but both also died at the age of 20 years and 1 month and both died in Nashville, Tennessee, where their parents lived before moving to Smithland.

Mary E., a graduate of Nashville Female Academy, died of typhoid in 1862. Her body was then interred in a vault in Nashville City Cemetery. The following is found in Nashville City Cemetery records:

Volume 5-1862
Number 556
Date: December 2, 1862
Name: Barner, M. E.
Age: 20
Sex: F
Race: W
Residence: Smithland, Ky
Disease: Typhoid Fever
Ave: Curren Vault
Lot: Lot

Whether Mary E. is, indeed, still buried there is questionable as there is also a tombstone for her in the Barner plot in Smithland Cemetery in Livingston County, Kentucky. It reads:

Mary E.
Daughter of
S.M. & S.J.
Died Nov. 30, 1862
20 Y's 1 M's
8 D's

So, is Mary E's body still in the vault in Nashville City Cemetery or was it placed there until it could be transferred to Smithland? Was the tombstone erected in Smithland Cemetery as a memorial rather than to mark her burial place? This was in the early days of the Civil War and transportation might have been an issue in where she was buried. The answers to these questions may never be known, but the circumstances are interesting to contemplate.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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