Rose Mystery Is Solved

By Myrtie Barker

A mystery is not a mystery very long, when the readers of My Window go to work upon it!

In a column May 28, an answer was sought as to who puts the red rose in the sculptured hand of the beautiful stone statue of a little girl in the McGinnis family plot in Crown Hill Cemetery. (Section 16, Lot 23.)

It's something that has been going on for years. With no known survivors, the whole thing has loomed up as a kind of sweet perplexity.

Howard Wood, executive vice-president of Crown Hill, unable to name any specific person concluded that it was possibly one of the groundskeepers who was performing the gentle gesture.

The interesting stone memorial is in memory of Mary Ella McGinnis, born May 9, (1869), died Aug. 6, 1875. In the figure of a little girl, the statue is clad in a frock of the style worn in the late 1800s. Two infant baby boys were also interred in Mary Ella's grave.

Within a few hours from the time the column appeared, the phone rang. It was Mrs. William (Elsie) Pegler, 2854 S. Meridian.

"I have called" said Mrs. Pegler, "to say my husband and I have for years put the flower in the hand of the statue of the little girl. The McGinnis lot is located not far from our cemetery lots. Since my husband and I lost a child some years ago, the beautiful sculptured monument was most appealing to us.

"My husband, William," Mrs. Pegler added, "died two years ago, but I have continued to keep a rose in the hand of the monument. I get an artificial flower and wire it to the sculptured hand."

Minutes after Mrs. Pegler's call, the phone rang again. This time it was Mrs. Robert (Lottie) Aldag, 955 N. Bolton.

"The McGinnises do have a survivor," said Mrs. Aldag. "She is Mrs. Alvin (Gertrude) Fisher; who lives in the Methodist Home at Franklin."

In response to a letter of inquiry, Mrs. Fisher has written this column: "If little Mary Ella McGinnis had lived, she would have been my aunt. She was my father's sister."

Then Mrs. Fisher proceeded to outline the family connections. General George F. McGinnis, one of 11 Union Army generals buried in family plots in Crown Hill, married Josephine Roper: They had seven children. Their son, Frank, was Mrs. Fisher's father. Little Mary Ella had been her father's sister who died at age 5.

"My Grandmother McGinnis," writes Mrs. Fisher, "had the statue of the little girl made in Italy. Grandmother had sent a picture to the Italian sculpturer of Mary Ella along with some of the child's clothes."

It was the second statue the grandmother had made. The first one was made by Lorado Taft, a Chicago sculptor. Since it did not look like Mary Ella, the grandmother refused to accept it.

The present monument checked with pictures of the child is said to look exactly like Mary Ella, who died almost 100 years ago.

"My grandmother," Mrs. Fisher continued to recall, "was saddened at the death of her little girl. When my sister, Danola McGinnis, was a youngster, she would spend the summer with our grandparents. Grandmother had a horse and buggy, and she would drive to Crown Hill every day and dust the statue with a whisk broom."

The mystery is completely solved. Thanks to this column's wonderful readers.