(Read Part 1 here!)
To recap: My grandparents, who lived in Oklahoma in the 1920s, had a baby named Samuel, who died in infancy. I’ve been unable to find any trace of him, but this is the cemetery where I suspect Baby Samuel is buried.
Although the gate says 1923, the town clerk I spoke to said the cemetery actually predates that. It was originally privately owned by a fraternal organization, which turned it over to the town. During the oil boom of the early 1920s, Sperry was quite the little metropolis. The town was crowded with oil field workers and oil-related businesses, and housing was scarce. According to the clerk, it wasn’t unusual during those years for the cemetery caretaker to arrive in the morning to find a fresh grave with no sign of who was buried there.
At some point someone tried to mark those graves—you can see little concrete crosses like these dotted all over the older parts of the cemetery. I hate to think that’s what happened to little Samuel, but I can also understand why a poor family with no money for a funeral or headstone would do it, especially if the deceased was an infant. But wherever Samuel lies, it must have been tremendously hard a few years later for my grandmother to move away from that little grave. All the more reason for me to find it.
Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.