Published in The Deseret News – Church News, Week ending October 26, 2002, p. 16.

FAMILY HISTORY MOMENTS

Hidden Marker

by Eunice Tidwell Merrill

When I was making application to join Daughters of the American Revolution in March 1998, I had to provide “proof” of all births, marriages and deaths in all generations back to my ancestor who served in the American Revolution. As I lacked some documentation, the national organization informed me that grave markers would be acceptable.

After sending needed photos, my husband and I decided we should make a five-generation record with pictures and locations of all family grave markers in our direct line who are buried in this country. We discovered five of our beloved pioneer ancestors (all wives) had no marker. We solicited funds from the respective family members of those needing markers to help us with our project.

The last one we did was for my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth McBride Tidwell, wife of Absalom Tidwell; he is buried in the Old Nauvoo Burial Ground. I had traced Elizabeth by way of an article in the Nov. 30, 1894,
Deseret News telling of her death and burial in Salina, Utah. I sent my sister and her husband to Salina to take a picture of the headstone. It could not be located. I checked the Church’s International Genealogical Index to find the submitter list for Elizabeth. I noticed there was a Marjorie Jensen living in Salina. I wrote to Marjorie asking her if she would take a picture of Elizabeth’s marker. To her surprise, she could not locate one. She had decorated graves for many years but hadn’t noticed the absence of a marker for Elizabeth.

She checked with the city, and because of the newspaper article, was allowed to place a grave marker in the area with Elizabeth’s family. My sisters and I sent money, and Marjorie collected other funds from family members in that area.

On Oct. 11, I received a letter from Marjorie telling me she took two grandsons with her to watch the placement of the marker. Marjorie picked out the spot where she felt it should be placed. One grandson started to dig in that spot when he felt something under the grass and dirt. There, they found a small metal plate buried just two inches under grass and dirt with the name of Elizabeth Tidwell. There was no written record in the sexton’s office, but the Lord knew and guided Marjorie to the exact spot where Elizabeth was buried 108 years ago. –Eunice Tidwell Merrill, Wenatchee, WA.

The interesting thing is that Margery had gone there a couple of times and always felt drawn to that spot. The reason it was not listed in the sexton's office was that they did not begin keeping records until 1903 and she died in 1894. Please excuse the fact that she put the wrong spelling for Absalom on the marker--at least it is not the biblical spelling which we have used.

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