Mary McCranie

To me, the obituary for a little ten month old baby girl is the most moving tribute I have ever read. When I first read it, I had to get up and walk away for a few minutes. She was the daughter of George William McCranie, the editor and publisher of the Ouachita Telegraph. To view her headstone at the Old City Cemetery, click here:

First was the birth announcement:

Ouachita Telegraph
March 1, 1866
Page 2, Column 3

The third person in our line of descent — a handsomely formed little lady — made her appearance upon this stage of tragedy, comedy and farce on Monday and herewith makes her best bow to the little folks who read the TELEGRAPH. Visions of ruffles, flounces, frills and dry goods bills! – Youngsters, giggles, girls and ott of roses! Aint we in for it! More subscribers, more legal tender, more gals with a sprinkle of boys to wait upon them! Happily, the event, for all that, adds to our felicity and to that of a mother in the South who prospers exceedingly.

Then ten ten months later, tragedy struck.

The Ouachita Telegraph
January 3, 1867
Page 2, Column 1

Baby Mary,

Among our readers, there are doubtless a few who have not forgotten the playful little paragraph which appeared in the TELEGRAPH not quite a year ago, announcing the birth of a “little lady,” in our family, over whose quiet advent and promising appearance we grew exultant and proud. A father’s heart, no less than a mother’s bounded high at the fulfillment of a long cherished desire, and home seemed brighter ten-fold for the presence of the beautiful and innocent babe.

Heaven, for a while, smiled upon a parent’s joy and little MARY grew hourly in beauty and loveliness. Her mild blue eyes assumed a deeper blue, and her fair little cheeks a more roseate tint. One baby accomplishment was added to another, all so graceful and womanly, until her little store of knowledge grew to be our pride and admiration. The slightest gesture or the faintest sigh conveyed a meaning which might have outweighed the eloquence of a Tully and touched our heart more deeply than any melody human ingenuity might devise.

But, piteous tale to tell! While others were merry-making and cutting loose from the weighty cares of an expiring year, Death came stealthily to our darkened chamber, and on the 28th of December, (woful day!) Even while a fond mother was praying for her suffering babe, bore away our darling, our beautiful “little lady!” The bright and joyous little sunbeam, coming like an exhalation from Heaven, was extinguished by the shadow of Death, and today just dawning set in darker and more gloomy than the anxious night just passed.

Was born; died; and was buried, might possibly tell all that a selfish and unfeeling world would care to know of little MARY. Ten months and two days comprise the duration of her brief existence, and, truly it might be said, she went “from the cradle to the grave.” And yet a life-time would be exhausted in the effort to realize the hopes and aspirations which centered upon our fair little daughter, and which now lie buried with her! Spare, then, bustling world, your cold criticism, and say not, as you have been, or may be bereaved, that ours is a foolish sorrow! A prattling boy, who erstwhile hung about our knees, or followed us with tottering steps, his rosy lips making sweet music for our ears, is now followed to rest by his baby sister. — Heaven has been unkind in calling them away? Nay, nay; it is well!

Starting later, these little suffering pilgrims have even outstripped us in the hasty march to the Hereafter, the order of Nature having been happily reversed in their favor. An earthly existence could have added nothing to their happiness, and dying first, we might have left them the beneficiaries of an uncharitable world. Seventy years! What are they? The gnarled oak or the scrubby pine that darkens the forest and that we heed not in passing, has lived longer. Eternity is the goal the New Life the soul’s true and Heaven designed sphere. Thither our little ones have gone. God help us to follow in the path they have trod!

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