THE MYSTERY OF
LITTLE ELLA GREENEN'S BURIAL
Two days later, on September 14, Peter receiveda deed to a plot in the Oakdale Cemetery in Urbana; obviously for the purposeof Ella's burial. A (rather poor) copy of the deed is shown below. The plot was 128 square feet which is a plot sufficient for three graves. It is defined as Lot 3 in Section 65... an area of the cemetery which cameto be known as "Irish Row."
|On September12, 1861, Peter and Mary Greenen suffered the death of their six year olddaughter, Ella (Ellen) probably due to a childhood illness.|
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The row of graves along the road andbehind Jamie is known as "Irish Row."
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Shown above is a transcriptof the Peter Greenen's deed to the burial plot in Oakdale cemetery.
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Thephoto above shows Jamie Graham-Hayes (great great granddaughter of Peter& Mary Greenen) during our visit to "Irish Row" during November of2000.
It is interesting to see the "row" of Irishnames which gave this section of the cemetery its name. Most interestingis the observation that there were Quinns and Kains in the parish. It is recalled that both these names appeared as baptismal sponsors forPeter and Mary's children born in Ireland; and one wonders whether theseQuinn's and Kains had connections with the Greenens in Ireland; and perhapswere drawn to Urbana by the same incentives and mechanisms.
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|As of our visit inNovember of 2000, the cemetery still has a very good record of the PeterGreenen cemetery plot. The photo at left clearly shows the lot designationas the last entry of the log book page shown... spelled Greenon. In addition, the entry shows clearly on the cemetery blue print.|
The mystery surrounding this gravesite andburial centers on the question of whether it was ever used; for it is knownthat "Little Ella" also has a gravesite in Indianapolis, which was ultimatelythe home of her parents and most of her siblings. At firstglance, the cemetery entry in Indianapolis (Holy Cross, Section 7-C, Lot128) would appear to be the site of her original burial in 1861. [One reading of this assumption is that it might be "absurd" to think thefamily would purchase a gravesite in Urbana two days after her burial wasrecorded in Indianapolis.] Research is now underway to try to resolvethis "mystery." The research has thus far yielded some problems:
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- The actual burial logs and records at Oakdale in Urbana between 1856 and1886 were all destroyed by a fire; so we are left with NO helpful information.
- The parish records at St. Mary's apparently have no death and or burialrecords for those early years. [The parish was founded in 1856, butwas a "mission" of St. Raphael's in Springfield for the first few years. The St. Raphael records need to be studied.
- The keepers of the records at Holy Cross acknowledge that there is NOTcertainty whether the date given in their record for Ella (September 12,1861) is actually the date of interment. The way records were keptthen, the entry could simply represent a recitation of her date of death.
- It appears that Lot 128 was NOT PURCHASED by the Greenen family till 1873...which was the date of death of their son Thomas in a railroad accident. We are seeking verification of this; and I have a hunch that (if confirmed)it would verify whether Ella was initially buried in Urbana and moved laterto Indianapolis.