Previously in this blog, I had mentioned a collateral relative on my mother's side, Merritt Wright Reed, and had lamented that he died in 2001. That date came from an assumption -- and this is a lesson in never assuming!
The source of that information was the listing at Mount Hope Cemetery in Logansport, Indiana, which states that Merritt Wright Reed was buried on 4 April 2001. Just because he was buried in 2001 does not mean he died in that year, I have found out to my chagrin. But, lesson learned.
Here is the story, from a newfound Reed cousin who related to me his investigation into the death of Merritt Wright Reed, his grandfather:
It seems that Merritt Wright Reed died 14 August 1949. He was cremated, but his remains were never claimed. My cousin went searching in 2001 and made this discovery when he contacted a successor to the funeral home which had handled the cremation and which had since gone out of business. This successor firm inherited the building of the old firm but not the records. They had a surprise for my cousin.
The ashes of Merritt Wright Reed were, and had been since 1949, in the basement! After being given this news, my cousin says, "Needless to say, it was a few minutes before I could catch my breath and continue the conversation." He could not take the ashes right then, but went home to research. He went to Mount Hope cemetery and discovered that the family plot of our mutual great-grandparents, Francis Harvey ("Frank") Reed and Florence Elizabeth McKee, had an available spot. My cousin contracted for the burial, bought a marker, and went back to claim the ashes that had sat in a basement for over fifty years. Merritt Wright Reed finally had a resting place, in the bosom of his family.
That certainly is an astounding story! Thanks to my new cousin for the correction, and for a great family tale. It is a bit strange, but the factual statement is: Merritt Wright Reed, died 14 August 1949, buried 4 April 2001.
In a few minutes, I'll go get ready to get on the road. My husband and I are driving down to Orlando, about 2.5 hours from here, to meet this newfound cousin.