Willie & Edith

13 May 2014 8:07 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

Story told by Carolyn Small, President Cumberland Historical Society

Willie and Edith were the children of Eli and Amanda Augusta (Wilson) Russell. They died one day apart in Yarmouth, where the family lived at the time, of typhoid fever. They are buried in Cumberland at the Methodist Cemetery on Blackstrap Rd. We are not sure where Eli was from, probably the West Falmouth area. Augusta, as she preferred to be called, grew up on Mill Rd. in Cumberland, and her father was from what is now known as the Norton Farm on Blackstrap Rd. in Falmouth. Edith and Willie probably had a common grave marker for financial reasons. The question arises as to whether they had a common grave? Probably not. And where were the markers placed? Halfway between the (presumably) two graves? At any rate, somewhere down the road their markers were removed and replaced with one large monument. The larger monument also has the names, birth year and death year of their parents, two brothers and a sister. It is in section F of the cemetery.

How the markers came to be here (at the Cumberland Historical Society) deserves to be told. In 2008 Nancy (Wilson) Latham was in the process of gathering information for a presentation at the Historical Society. As she was riding down Mill Rd. she noticed one of the residents of an historical farm outside. She stopped to inquire if he had done any research on the prior owners. As they were talking she thought the farm was built by a Wilson or a Morrison (both families she is a descendant of) and was quite sure Russell’s and Hawk’s had lived there at different times. He thought she might be interested in, and hopefully know what to do with, an artifact he had just recently dug up and he gave her the footstone. Working on the assumption it had something to do with the Russell’s,

E.B. and W.W. is not much to go on, she eventually matched it up with the current monument. She then sort of remembered a story from a childhood friend by the last name of Doughty, and pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

The Russell’s had indeed lived at 90 Mill Rd., and apparently brought these markers there when the new monument was installed. In a subsequent move to 124 Orchard Rd. the footstone was somehow left behind. The headstone remained at Orchard Rd., and either through death or abandonment wound up with the Doughty family, who owned the property in the 1970s. The Doughty girls and their friend found the stone in a shed, and periodically looked for the lost grave of the children. Decades later when the Doughty’s sold the property, the friend couldn’t bear abandoning the stone once again, and took it to her house. There it sat for several more years until Nancy connected the dots, and the two pieces were once again united.

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