12 April 1844 (Yorkshire, England) – 22 June 1928 (Williamsport, PA)
The Lovell family plot at Bluff City is a collection of simple stone markers, but standing at its corner is a small, distinctive cross that marks Eliza Ann Hadwen and Vincent Smith Lovell’s resting place.
Eliza Ann was an English immigrant and Vincent was born and raised in Elgin to a prominent local family. He served a term as mayor of the town and was the director of the public library for many years. Vincent died at a young 47 years old, and he and Eliza had no children. Eliza Ann’s mother’s maiden name was also Lovell (sometimes spelled with one L), so that may be a coincidence or she and Vincent might have been cousins and that’s how the match came about, perhaps through Vincent visiting the old country and relatives there. This isn’t in the records, of course, and all we know is that their marriage took place in Kane County in 1876. How Eliza Ann made her way there and met her husband is unknown.
In the 1900 census, having been widowed eight years previously, she was still in Elgin, living next door to her brother-in-law Edward Lovell who was also recently widowed and had three young daughters. Tragically, Edward also died relatively young and passed in 1902.
In 1910, his daughters were living with their maternal uncle and his family in Scranton. This uncle was once the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, and generally both sides of the girls’ family appear to have been quite well-off and prominent in their various communities.
Eliza Ann is nowhere in the public records between 1900 and 1925, but she returns with a splash, showing up on the London Mariner, traveling back to the US from France via London at the age of 81 years old. It appears she may have been visiting her sister in England on her way around. The passenger manifest tells us she spoke English, French, German, and Italian as well as that for some part of her missing public records years, she had been living in France and working as an artist.
For the final years of her life, she settled in Williamsport, about 100 miles from Scranton where her oldest niece Gertrude lived. It’s possible another niece lived in Williamsport or that she had already lived there some part of the time, but that isn’t in the records available.
Eliza Ann died in her sleep at the age of 84, and Gertrude was the informant listed on her death certificate. I’m sure she is also the one who saw to it that Aunt Eliza Ann was returned to Elgin and buried with her husband, an uncle Gertrude would have barely remembered.
The cross is almost brutalist in its simplicity, which is what I love about it. It isn’t technically brutalist, having almost certainly been installed decades before that design style emerged in the 1950s (though whether this was in the 1890s after Vincent died or added later after Eliza Ann passed is unknown).
Regardless, it is a cross carved in the treestump style which also rejects the standard flourishes of that style. There are far more traditional examples all throughout the cemetery (see my last two #treestumptuesday offerings), so I think it’s safe to consider this headstone’s unique interpretation as an intentional and even artistic choice, and it makes me curious about Eliza Ann’s work.
RIP Lovells and especially Eliza Ann.
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