A Tucson funeral- 1869

Journal entry for August 9, 1869:

A funeral procession of a child passed this evening attended by a brass band of three instruments. I went to the grave, and the coffin was a box of this shape, which I find to be the one commonly used, [small sketch of trapezoidal coffin, shown at right] and it was covered with dark red cloth, and fringed about with white edging. When the coffin was laid in the grave, the children and all, as if ambitious to throw their handful of earth, scarcely waited for the man who got into the grave to fix the coffin to get out again before they shoveled with their hands the dirt from all sides, kicking up a great dust, and left but little for the grave digger to do to cover up and make the usual mound. But the most singular and interesting part of this ceremony is the fact that the earth takes the place of flowers which are usually thrown upon the graves of deceased friends as with us at home where they are plenty.

John Vance Lauderdale Papers, WA MSS S-1317, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; Microfilm Reels 4 and 5

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