In September, I made a visit to the Alberta Genealogical Society branch in Medicine Hat. The morning after the meeting, I took these photographs in the Hillside Cemetery, which is located across the street from where the Branch meets.
Hillside is a very large cemetery in the Gas City, but it is not the oldest one; although it is very easy to believe that it could be. I wandered around happily for almost two hours looking for one stone, and snapping pictures of other interesting ones.
(Yes, Kathy, I left the map in the van, again).
The good news: I found the stone I spotted wandering around with you on the prior afternoon 🙂
I was at the roadside, near the mid-left of Section 127, when I took a moment to regain myself.
I had found a pair of iron crosses forming the beginning of a row. In the apex of each cross was an inscription square; and each square was covered with a matching piece of glass, meant to protect the delicate information beneath it.
Now, glass is a conductor of heat, but it is too delicate and not air-tight to hold up against the fluctuations of persistent rains, blistering summer sun, and savage winters where Alberta temperatures drop between -40 to -50C (which would be between -40 to -58F for my curious American followers).
This close-up photo shows just how much Father Time and Mother Nature took away of these little girls’ existence.
Now, how many of you would look at this and after the overwhelming urge to cry subsided, would be able to piece together something of these girls’ existence?
The inscription reads:
Hilda and Ida / Daughters of Christian / and Maria SCHNEIDER
Born NOV.28th 19–2 / Hilda died July 6th 19—
Age 4yrs 7ms 8 days
Born AUG.4th 19— / Ida died FEB.20th 1919
Age 1yr 6ms 16 days
Now, with the help of a little calculating program I use, called RJT Date Calculator (ver.126.96.36.199) these little girls live again.
Plugging in Ida’s age 1-6-16 and her date of death, her estimated date of birth is AUG.4 1917; and then plugging in Hilda’s age 4-7-8 and her assumed birthdate as 11-28-1912, her estimated date of death is July 6 1917 … and if anyone picked up on it, Maria was 36/40 weeks pregnant with Ida when Hilda died!
Then, we look over my charted notes on epidemics and pandemics, and I find that Influenza was at a worldwide apex in 1918. Without having reviewed death certificates and/or obituaries for confirmation, I strongly believe it is a very good guess, this is the illness that took their young lives.
Interestingly enough, I located another pair of identical crosses standing at the extreme opposite end of this same row. I was hoping to prove/disprove my 2010 thesis “Rock of Ages” pertaining to the approximate dating of iron crosses.
Oddly enough, this pair represented two brothers, Adolf and Roland. They too died young, both in 1916.
But the tragic side of these photos, was the discovery after reviewing the information on the boys and comparing it to the details from the girls: