Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Dottie Dawson

Dottie Maud Dawson was the oldest child of Taylor and Iona (Rodenberger) Dawson.  She died January 2, 1885 in Hallowell, Cherokee Co, Kansas.

                                        In Memoriam   
 Dottie Maud Dawson, aged about 10 years, and one of the brightest pupils in the intermediate grade of the Rising Sun school, was drowned in a cistern at her home, Friday evening, the 2d day of the new year, which has begun its record of sorrows.
    Friday evening Dottie declaimed for the school one of her brightest pieces, then hastened home as usual, neither schoolmates nor teacher dreaming that we had seen the bright little girl for the last time.
   While drawing up a bucket of water from the cistern, her foot must have slipped on the icy stones, causing her to fall.  Her father was away from home, and her mother had to run to a neighbor’s for assistance, but before rescue could be effected, Dottie was cold in death.
   Her funeral was preached at the Quaker church by Mr. Pickering.  And so, with her lily hands folded and iced with death’s grim kiss, our little friend was laid beneath the brown sod and cruel sleet.
                              She was a tiny mortal – star
                              That shed a light on earth;
                              But vanished now above
                              She has immortal birth.   -- A.H. Gibson

Challis Dawson, Dottie's youngest sibling, was born in 1892, seven years after her death.  He wrote of Dottie's death in his manuscript that he mailed to his son Gerard in 1947, page 65. There are differences in his memories of the story and Dottie's obituary at the time.
     "My oldest sister Dotty, was drowned in the cistern when she was just old enough to go out and draw a bucket of water.  She slipped on the ice and fell in.  Dad went out after she was gone a few minutes too long, dived in for her, but it was too late.  Mother always said Dad was never the same after this tragedy, as Dotty was the apple of his eye.  I think that this is possible and probably may have explained to some extent his peculiar behavior as mentioned previously.  At least I like to think of it in this way, because it is a better excuse than any other and makes an excellent alibi."

In Lucy Beamer's Memoirs on the John Harland Rodenberger family, she mentions Dottie. 
    "Iona and Taylor Dawson were married in Kansas and lived on a farm in the Hallowell community till 6 of their 7 children were born. Sometime between 1889 and 1891 because of failing health of his father, they moved to Scottland, Ill. where they continued to live. Wm. Spieth was working as a farm hand for Taylor Dawson when he met and courted his future wife, Clara Rodenberger, Iona's sister. The Dawson's oldest child, Dottie Maud, was playing at the home of the Wm. Spieth's on New Year's Day, 1885, when she fell into a cistern and drowned. This was just a few days before Clara's oldest child, Bessie Leo, was born. Of course the tragedy was a nightmare to the entire family."

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