Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Good Doctor and His Dog, Part II

Original photo by Richard Neely, via FindaGrave, Shown Here for Educational Purposes Only
Back on January 27, 2013, I posted photographs and a narrative about Dr. Benson Mott Lockwood, a promising surgeon who died young and whose grief-stricken family erected to his memory probably one of the most photographed monuments in all of Mississippi.

Please see this link for that original Sippiana Succotash posting, since a Google search inexplicably no longer works correctly on this blog.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning out archived emails, I happened upon correspondence from Lauren Rogers, an employee of the Archives Department at Ole Miss, where a treasure trove of the Lockwood family papers and memorabilia is stored.

I had written to the library back in August 2012, asking if any of the materials on file gave a glimpse into the cause of death of the young doctor, or, of his son, Benson Miller Lockwood, born Nov. 1, 1894;  died, Dec. 14, 1907, barely 13.

Here is the heart of her reply:
"Unfortunately, the funeral notices within the Lockwood collection are not extremely illuminating in reference to either cause of death of either Dr. B. M. Lockwood or his son.  Dr. B. M. Lockwood's funeral announcement is pretty basic in its outlining of the wheres and when of the funeral. 
"Benson Miller Lockwood's handwritten funeral announcement is slightly more revealing:  
"'Benson Miller Lockwood, only son of the late Dr. B. M. Lockwood, and our grandson, died at his mother's country home, the G.W. Miller place -- at 10 minutes to 8 o'clock a.m. December 14, 1907. 
"'His suffering was great, but his illness was brief and his pure little spirit was caught by an army of angels and sought beyond the stars to the glory land.  God keep my precious boy.'"  
Photo by Sukie Carruth
I include this photograph of the father's grave marker not only for those of you who cannot be bothered with clicking on the above link, but also to show the artistry in the carving, which is scaled roughly two-thirds life-size.  Note the pupils in the dog's eyes and his arched occipital muscles.  To me, he looks as if he's just spotted a squirrel and is about to pounce into action.

I have tried in vain to learn more about the artist/craftsman behind this work.  Hope springs eternal that someone, somewhere, will know and contact me with the history.

This particular cemetery is filled with amazing, intricately carved monuments, and I urge you, if you ever happen to find yourself near Crystal Springs on a warm, sunny day, to seek out this graveyard and explore.

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