02 February 2012

What's in a name? Maybe a cemetery!

I learned something interesting about the last town I lived in. The town was named Killeen in 1881, after Frank P. Killeen, the assistant general manager of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe railway, who built the town on land along the tracks being laid through Central Texas. The Killeen family apparently stuck around, because there are number of them buried in Killeen City Cemetery.

I always thought the name sounded vaguely Irish, but according to an article I recently read about a children's burial ground in Ireland, the name "Killeen" itself is an old Celtic word (cillĂ­n/killeen) for a burial ground for unbaptized children, the mentally disabled, those who committed suicides, and others prohibited from burial in consecrated ground in the 16th century.

The especially interesting part about this is that in order to have gotten such a thing as a surname, some distant ancestor of the Killeen family must have been very closely associated with such a burial ground.

01 February 2012

Wednesday's Child: Darling Infant Son (and Family)

The Darling Infant Son of John Franklin and Lecy (White) Brothers is buried in the Brothers family plot with his parents and his father's first wife, Susan Tennessee Brothers.

Infant Brothers' obelisk is surprisingly ornate for an infant in this area. Obelisks for infants seem rare in Central Texas; most of the baby gravestones that I have seen in Bell County tend to be smaller, often engraved with a resting lamb or a dove, but less ornate than that of the Brothers baby.

The obelisk features a resting lamb, which is a fairly common motif for infant gravestones, but Darling Infant's lamb rests beneath a radiant star. The scene is reminiscent of the nativity, with the Lamb of God resting beneath the star.

John Franklin Brothers' first wife, Susan Tennessee, died in 1901.

J.F. and Lecy must have married by the end of 1902 (not an uncommon practice at the time), because their son was stillborn on September 7, 1903. Lecy would have been about twenty years old on her wedding day, and her husband would have been more than twice her age (also not uncommon at the time). J.F. preceded her in death in 1937, when he was buried beside his first wife and his son.

His gravestone is beautiful and interesting in its own right, a massive stone block rather than the slender obelisks of his infant son and first wife.

Lecy lived on until 1973, when she was laid to rest between her late husband and their son.