Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Angel Who Played Lawn Tennis and Rode a Wooden Bike

Photo by Sukie Carruth
Monument of Mary Hubbell Moreton.  Born February 1, 1882, to Capt. A.E. Moreton and his wife, Laura Rebecca Decell Moreton.  Died March 1, 1906. Gravesite  Rose Hill Cemetery, Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Not much is in the public domain about Mary H. Moreton -- except the following information on file at the Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library, contained in a 1996 interview of William F. Crawford, a descendent of Capt. A.E. Moreton.

Referencing Capt. Moreton and his offspring, Mr. Crawford offered for the record:
"Let me state then, he (A.E.) had five children that lived to adulthood:
 -- Samuel Evans Moreton was his eldest son.
 -- (next) Frances (Fanny) Decell Moreton -- she died at the age of 94.
 -- Robert D. Moreton was my grandfather. 
 -- (next was) a daughter named Mary Hubbell Moreton, who died when she was in her early 20's, unmarried.
-- a son, Alfred Elliott Moreton, Jr. and,
-- lastly, a daughter, Laura, the youngest."
Further along in the interview, interviewer Henry J. Ledet asked a question about the A.E. Moreton home and the surrounding lawn, which provoked the following response:  
"Yes. Aunt Mary, Aunt Mary is the daughter who died, she was 22.*  It must have been a crushing blow to them.  Aunt Mary -- Aunt Laura, her younger sister -- told me that Mary liked to play lawn tennis. She would set up tennis nets out on this part of the yard. 
"She always referred to it as 'lawn tennis.' We just say tennis now. I'm sure they must have played in high button shoes and dresses to here. 
"I can remember as a child, Aunt Mary's bicycle was still upstairs -- they never lived in these rooms, they were like attic rooms -- they were finished, floored and everything. But Aunt Mary's bicycle was kept in this room, and it was made of wood ... a wooden bicycle." 
Whatever took Mary from her loved ones too soon, this beautiful monument stands to this day as silent testimony that the Moretons greatly mourned the loss of their middle daughter.   
For a view of the Moreton's South Jackson Street home and lawn as referenced above, please see my earlier posting "With the Fury of Ten Thousand Demons," which tells the tale of one of the most destructive tornadoes to ever strike the state in olden times.  It is interesting to note that it touched down not long after Mary's first birthday, only ten miles to the north.
As always, if anyone has more information regarding Miss Mary H. Moreton and her premature departure from this earthly plane, please post here or on my Facebook page.  Please click on the turquoise FindaGrave link to view even better photographs of the monument by Caroline Passmore.

*Editor's note: If the tombstone dates are correct, she died just one month after turning 24.

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