Most tombstones show the date of death. Many tombstones record the date of birth. But there aren't too many tombstones showing a third date.
This tombstone for Jennie Hardaway McBride, found in Newnan's historic Oak Hill cemetery, demanded a little research. And not because there are no oaks or hills anywhere in sight.
It turns out that "Jennie" isn't even Mrs. McBride's real name. Before she was Mrs. "Jennie" McBride, wife of Newnan merchant and Scotch-Irish society member William Cardwell McBride, she was Virgina Rebecca Hardaway, daughter of Isora Burch. In 1903, Isora Burch organized the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, named in honor of her great-grandmother, Sarah Dickinson Simms. Jennie would eventually succeed her mother as regent for the DAR Sarah Dickinson chapter. But that doesn't solve the question of why she has three dates on her tombstone.
The death certificate for "Mrs. W. C. McBride" of 14 Robinson Street in Newnan, Ga, lists the cause of death at age 50 as "acute uremia." The internet tells me that uremia is typically caused by kidney failure. In this case it wasn't a surprise to anyone when she died; the certificate notes that she was diagnosed with "uremia" six months before it killed her. However, that still doesn't account for the third date on the tombstone.
The father of Mrs. McBride was Robert Henry Hardaway, descendant of a boy "kidnapped" onto a ship bound for America in 1685. It turns out that daddy also has 3 unusual dates on his grave: "December Twelfth, 1837, - 1869, February 11, 1905." Robert Hardaway was born in 1837 and died in 1905. So what did he do between those two dates? He stayed busy. For one thing, Hardaway was a Confederate States Army soldier in Company B of the 1st Georgia Calvary. For a time afterwards, he was a member of the Georgia State General Assembly. And he was also a partner in the merchant firm Hardaway & Hunter in Newnan where he met Isora Burch and was married on December 12, 1869! Ah, ha!
The historical record states that Jennie R. Hardaway was married on April 18, 1894. Mystery solved. At least two generations of the Hardaway family of Newnan liked to put their wedding dates on their tombstones. Who knows why, exactly, but if I had to guess, I'd suppose they died a little those days. They don't call spouses "balls and chains" for nothing. Marriage: it's a life sentence.
Sources (in case you're interested):
1. Allen, Alice. "Coweta County GaArchives History - Books .....Introductory Information 1928." Coweta County Chronicles. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
2. "Capt. Robert Henry Hardaway." Dickinson-Tree.net. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
3. "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System." National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
4.Georgia's Virtual Vault : Death Certificate Mrs. W. C. McBride. Digital image. Georgia's Virtual Vault : Home. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
5. Hubert, Sarah Donelson. Thomas Hardaway of Chesterfield County, Virginia, and His Descendants. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shiperson, 1906, p. 19.
6. Scotch-Irish in America, The; Proceedings and Addressess of the Sixth Congress at Des Moines, IA, June 7-10, 1894. Nashville, TN: Barbee & Smith, 1894, p. 317.
7. "Spend-the-Day Parties." Atlanta Georgian and News, Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.
8. Statutes of Georgia Passed by the General Assembly of 1884-85. Atlanta, GA: JAS. P. Harrison & Co, 1885. p 245.
9. "uremia." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
10. "With Line and Ribbon." Weekly Constitution (Atlanta), Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.
11. Wood, Dianne. "Georgia: Coweta County: LINEAGE BOOK." The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Vol. 106. 66. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
12. Wood, Dianne. "1827-1900 Coweta County Georgia, Marriages by Groom L-Z." Georgia Genealogy. 2002. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.
[For the record, Jennie Hardaway McBride shares a common ancestor with my mother. Sarah Dickinson Simms, Mrs. McBride's 2nd great-grandmother, was my mother's 4th great-grandmother, making her my 5th great-grandmother. What can I say? Newnan's kind of a small town.]
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