Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh God: how mysterious and how strange


My great-grandfather was John Richard Cofield whose tombstone is pictured here. Both he and my great-grandmother, Dollia Loyd Cofield, died while quite young, leaving five small orphans one of whom was my grandmother, Pearl Cofield Robinson.
John and Dollia (pronounced Dollie) were both raised in the Bull Mountain area of Marion County, near the Itawamba County line. Dollia's parents were Isham and Rachel Loyd whose pictures were posted earlier on this blog. John attended Birmingham Dental College where he received his degree in 1900, and shortly thereafter the young family moved to Hackleburg, and subsequently to Haleyville, where John practiced as a dentist. As you can tell from his tombstone, John died in 1910 when he was 35 years old. Family lore indicates that it was kidney disease that killed him. His obituary provided that he had been suffering for two years before his death, and the doctor treating him said that in his thirty years of experience he hadn't witnessed anything like it.

John and Dollia are buried in the Cofield-Cockrell Cemetery near Shottsville in Marion County. This cemetery is located not far from the old Cofield homeplace, presumably on what was land belonging to Sam Cofield, John's father. John has a beautiful stone marker that depicts various church steeples at the top with an open Bible. The inscription on the marker reads, "He has gone from his dear ones, his children, his wife & Sam, he willingly toiled for, and loved as his life. Oh God: how mysterious and how strange are thy ways, to take from us this loved one in the best of his days."

Although I can't say for certain, I believe that Isham Loyd, John's father-in-law, wrote this poignant verse.

Dollia died a couple of years later in 1912 with an official cause of death listed as pellagra (that's a post for another day!) but her daughter Ruby said it was from a broken heart. After Dollia died, the five Cofield orphans were divided up. The two boys went to live with their grandfather Sam Cofield while the three girls moved to Itawamba County to live with their aunt, Vannah Cofield Harbor, who lived at Tremont. My grandmother was not quite six years old at the time of her mother's death, and I've often wondered about the impact such a tragedy had on her and her siblings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mona, I checked the Vol II of Cemetery Inscriptions of Marion County (covers more than the western half of Marion County that I would estimate to cover everything from the Brilliant/Winfield range to the MS line and I do not find a cofield cemetery, nor did I find the Cofield's in the Bexar/Shottsville and the unnamed cemeteries in this vicinity. I did find walter, Prince and Edna of the Cofield name and maybe a few more, but not John and Dollia.

Do you by any chance have this cemetery inscribed for sharing? I could insert it into my treasured book of helping others. bettye