Pit Stops on The Road Of Life
HOW GRANNY GOT HER STONE
mother’s maiden name was Viola Smith and her mother had been Minnie Lozaw.
Minnie was the child of Suldon Lozaw and his wife, Elizabeth.
LOZO." The name on the single
grave in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Dunmore, Pennsylvania sounded intriguing
enough. A fellow amateur
genealogist I met on the Internet had extensive knowledge of the Lozaw family.
He had suggested to me the possibility that the lady buried there may
have been my maternal great grandmother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Lloyd.
LOZO was an accepted variable spelling of the Lozaw surname.
The web site listing graves in that cemetery showed her to have died on
January 28, 1885, a date that would fit into my genealogy.
I wrote to the cemetery but the kindly caretaker, Norma Reese, had to
dash my hopes temporarily. Their
records didn't show, as I had hoped, that Lizzie's husband had bought the grave
and thus I couldn't show the purchaser to have been my maternal great
grandfather, Suldon Lozaw. The
records revealed why she had been buried in a single grave, absent any nearby
family members. It had been
purchased by the Scranton Poor Board. Poor
Lizzie was buried in a pauper's grave! Norma
went the extra mile to help me, searching for the obit at the library but,
unfortunately, the day the obit should have run was missing from the microfilm.
Norma did come up with Lizzie's death certificate but, it, too, lacked
any information as to Lizzie's marital status.
I pretty much resolved that I'd never find an answer to the mystery.
Lozaw had been a Civil War vet. Long past trying to find if his wife was in that
Dunmore grave, I decided to obtain his pension file from the National Archive
and Records Administration. Upon the
advice of the fellow amateur genealogist, I asked for his compete file and it
turned out to be the best $35 I'd ever spent.
Nearly 3 inches thick and containing over 200 pages, it told the lengthy
story of his battle to be awarded a pension and his subsequent years-long battle
to get increases to it. Poring
carefully though the pages, I came across a statement that he had made in 1887
to support a request for an increase. Speaking
of his family, Suldon stated, in part "My first wife, Elizabeth Lloyd, died
on January 28, 1885." BINGO!!
The exact same death date at that shown for Lizzie!!
Various censuses had shown that Suldon and Lizzie had moved frequently as
he unsuccessfully tried to find work that his wartime disability would allow him
to do. While I still cannot prove
that he'd moved to Scranton or Dunmore in Lackawanna County from his1880 Plains,
Luzerne County location, I was 100% convinced that it truly is my
great-grandmother in that pauper's grave.
Next step--what to do with this information ? I looked into possibly moving her to lie next to Suldon and one of their daughters 26 miles away in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery in Trucksville, Luzerne County. The cost, over $2,000, proved prohibitive. I decided to buy her a stone and leave her in Forest Hill. I caught a break and found a pink "Mountain Rose" granite stone on sale for the same price as gray granite stones. Michaeleen T. Sultzer of Chinchilla had it delivered and set up in time for my visit home in September, 2003. I made sure to visit Lizzie and explain what I'd done. "Granny", I said, "you've been lying here for 118 years under a stone reading only '309.' It's only right that folks know that it's MY grandma here. Without you having lived, I wouldn't be here. I'm sorry I couldn't afford to move you but the next time I'm in Trucksville, I'll let grandpa know that his bride is at long last being looked after." I kept that promise later that summer.
“Lizzie Lozo’s original pauper’s tombstone number 309.”
tombstone purchased by Ron Hontz in 2003.’
Ronald E. Hontz
33 Whitcraft Lane
cell phone (717) 309-1402