The two sons of Benjamin Fleagle Jr. and Martha Jane (Harner) Fleagle are buried with their wives at Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn, which is in Maryland west and somewhat north of downtown Baltimore. The Fleagle brothers Benjamin Edward and James Ezra, and their wives Frances (Guthrie) and Jennie Viola (Coffin) lay in serene repose at the southeast edge of the cemetery (click here for aerial images showing family grave locations). Benjamin and Frances’ baby boy B. Edward, who lived just nine days, is also buried here, his interment marked by a smaller stone set close to theirs but perpendicular to it.
The baby boy would have been the first Fleagle interred here by many decades, I think. When Miriam and I visited these graves in October 2014, she told me she remembered reading an old letter that her father James got from his brother telling that they had lost the child and that they had found a cemetery very near the house and buried him under a tree. There is a tree hard by the graves, but I don’t know what kind of tree it is. I assume it is the one that Benjamin mentioned in his letter, though I would have expected it to be larger. Could this tree be a century old?
Almost every other stone in this part of the cemetery faces westerly to align with the curve of the road (see the aerial view), but only this baby’s stone and one other, that of a man named John McDonald who died in 1916, are facing north. You can see McDonald’s stone in the background of the first photo above.
Miriam said that the child was “a blue baby”, a term I’d never heard before but which means he wasn’t able to draw sufficient breath — his body wasn’t able to deliver sufficient blood to his lungs — and so he never had a chance (Mim further educated me that this was a condition that killed many infants before the surgeon Alfred Blaloch of Johns Hopkins developed a procedure in the mid 1940s to remedy the problem). I wonder what little Benjamin Edward would have been called during his short and troubled life. The stone refers to him as B. Edward rather than Benjamin E.. Does that indicate that they thought of him as Edward or Eddie?
Finally, there are two names on the back of James and Jennie’s stone that Jennie (my “Granny”) had added to it long before she died. I took a photo of the names, and Miriam told me the story, but it is a sad story and not mine to publish. Nevertheless, these children are not forgotten. In telling the story, Miriam referred to the first one as Peggy Jo or Maggie Jo, I can’t recall which. – mdf