THE GRAVE DIGGER.
Interesting Statistics ---Reminiscence of a Sorrowful Incident---The Result of
the Heartless Conduct of a Couple of Fiendish Sons..
James W. Little, sexton of the Warnock and Odd Fellow
cemeteries, has since April 6, 1876
dug 530 graves, 205 of these were for children under twelve years of age. This would make a ditch over twelve hundred
feet long, five feet deep by five fee wide.
This sounds like a great many deaths occur in and about Princeton,
yet in proportion to the population, the average is exceedingly small
The first grave ever dug by Mr. Little was on April 6, 1876, fro Mrs. Elizabeth
Martin, who lived at the county poor asylum at the extreme old age of 101
In connection with this death a sad story is brought to
memory, a few of the facts concerning which Mr. Little related to the
writer. Some time, probably a year or
two, previous to 1876, Mrs. Martin came to Princeton
with her two sons and located on a farm a few miles south. They came from Tennessee,
and for a time made a pretty good impression among the neighbors in the
vicinity where they settled. The mother,
besides being very old and feeble, had been deprived of her eyesight, and not
being able to perform any labor, she sat in her room a quite and uncomplaining
sufferer. Her sons had the appearance of
doing well, and the neighbors thought the family was prospering fairly
well. They were not rich, of course,
being ordinary farmers, but they were not paupers by any means. Some time during the fall of 1875, with out
notifying any of their acquaintances, the two sons packed their things together
and struck the return trail for Tennessee.. They did not pack up all their belongings,
for in one room they left a chair, the one in which their mother always
sat---and beside this they left the old lady sitting in the chair. They probably made their exit in the night,
for their mother had no knowledge of their departure. She was soon found in her lonely and helpless
condition by some of the neighbors. They
had left her neither money nor food, and but for the timely discovery of her
condition she must have perished for want of food and water. She was taken to the county poor asylum and
properly cared for until the next spring, when she died, probably from a broken
heart as much as from old age.
Instead of burying her as a pauper she was given a very
respectable burial by some kind-hearted citizens, who bought her a coffin
better than those furnished by the county, and also purchased for her a lot in
Her sons have never been heard from since they went away,
but it is safe to say they have suffered twinges of their consciences every
time their memories ran back to the aged mother they
so heartlessly abandoned.