Since I posted a good-natured monument from the Athens AL City Cemetery yesterday, I wanted to go back and post more pics from from this really interesting cemetery. There’s one monument that mentions someone killed from a tornado (back then, called a cyclone) and this was the one in the Birmingham area that day, deemed to be an F3, that killed 25 people:
Harriet Emily Pryor
beloved wife of
Robert Joseph Lowe
Born Sept 13, 1866.
And Francis Pettus Lowe
Their infant son
Born March 2, 1901.
Wife and Child
Killed in the ruins of their home by the
cyclone which destroyed it, Monday morning,
March 25, 1901.
The pic above is when I photographed it in 2008; here’s how I found it in January of this year:
This family story is pretty incredible, and includes politics and family members being born just before, and just after, parents passing away. Harriet’s husband, Robert Joseph Lowe Jr, was the son of (obv) Robert Joseph Lowe Sr, a Private in the 4th Regiment, Alabama Infantry, who died in 1862 when he contracted typhoid during the march to the First battle at Manassas (First Battle of Bull Run).
He, RJL Jr, was born in 1861, so just a baby when his father died. He was a lawyer in Birmingham in 1900 just before the cyclone, and I looked up the house number — that’s an apartment building now. There’s a notation that his and Harriet’s son, the baby who passed away in the cyclone along with her, was named Francis Pettus after the Alabama Speaker of the House (who died March 6, 1901, is buried at Live Oak in Selma, and whose monument is “a tribute of love from the Mobile Bar”). It’s Francis Pettus’ son, Edmund, for whom the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma is named.
In 1910, RJL Jr. was living in Eufaula. His monument there lists him as a Colonel, and he’d married twice more after Harriet’s death.
Caroline Toney “Carrie” Cochran married him in Eufaula April 9, 1902, so just about a year after the cyclone. Carrie’s father was a judge who married her mother at age 53. She was born June 19, six days after her father passed away at age 60, June 13, 1873. Carrie died in 1905.
Her first husband was Henry Melville Jackson, who had been an Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
Carrie’s aunt was Sarah “Sallie” Toney Oates, who had married William Calvin Oates in 1862; he became 29th Governor of Alabama. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, became Captain, then Colonel by the time of Gettysburg’s Little Round Top battle — what won it for the Union was a bayonet charge which forced the CSA back, and was “credited with saving Major General George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac, winning the Battle of Gettysburg and setting the South on a long, irreversible path to defeat.”
By 1864, he was in command of the 48th Alabama and had to have his right arm amputated after it was hit with a minie ball.
He returned home, went into politics, became a US Representative, then Governor in 1894. He’s buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, and here’s a pic of his monument I took in 2006:
The inscription on this monument states:
“…born in poverty, reared in adversity, without educational advantages, yet by honest individual effort he obtained a competency and the confidence of his fellow men, while fairly liberal to relatives and to the worthy poor. A devoted Confederate soldier, he gave his right arm for the Cause. He accepted the result of the war without a murmur; and in 1898-9, he was a Brigadier General of the United States Volunteers in the War with Spain.”
Some people say “I’d give my right arm…” and this monument points out he actually did.
Skipping back to RJL Jr and his family after the cyclone, after Carrie passed away, he married Josephine “Josie” Burden Larguier, who had been nursing him after a stroke. He died in 1910, fewer than six months after they married, and after his death, their daughter Louise was born.
Nowwww, back to the 2008 visit to the cemetery in Athens:
That monument in January:
Other monuments from January 2022:
I’ll be doing a series on football-related monuments soon.
Some other monuments that include how the person died (excluding military), like the one above that mentions the cyclone, include this one I photographed in the Italian-Catholic Cemetery in West Blocton AL, this one at Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery mentions someone drowning in the Alabama River after “not taking their advice” and “now I warn all young & old to beware of the dangers of this River; see how I am fixed in this watery Grave: I have got but two friends to mourn” and not mentioned but depicted, this monument for Mary Points in Aberdeen MS