Around 1991, I stumbled across this tombstone in an abandoned cemetery in the woodlands now owned by Berry College. This little girl had died on Thanksgiving Day 1917. Today being the centennial of her death, I visited the forgotten cemetery again.
For many years after I found the tombstone, I wondered what had happened to the girl, her family, and the community. Over the course of about 15 to 18 years, I gradually found answers to those questions.
She was born in 1905 to John and Laura Buchanan, who were textile mill workers in Lindale, Georgia. Laura died in 1912 giving birth to a son, John. The newborn was adopted by Olaf Titrud, a professor of agriculture at the Berry Schools north of Rome. Apparently he and his wife also took in Beulah, from time to time, though I don't think he formally adopted her.
On Thanksgiving Day 1917, 12-year-old Beulah was with her young brother at the Titrud house, Pinehaven, when she suddenly went into continuous convulsions. She died within the hour. The next day, she was buried in the cemetery at Central Grove. Over the ensuing years, the community was abandoned, all the structures torn down or destroyed, and nothing left. The cemetery is about 100 yards in the woods on a gated dirt road that nobody except hunters use.
I've never found a photo of Beulah. I have seen a photo of her older brother, Paul. If she resembled him, she'd have had wavy, dark blonde hair and blue eyes with a ruddy complexion. But she died that Thanksgiving day, and to my knowledge there's nobody left today to remember her.
This photo was made today. I haven't forgotten Beulah Buchanan.
As a fellow cemetery visitor I thank you for you story. That's a pretty sad one. Somethimes that kind of research leave me in a funk for a few days
Art comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.