A mother will do anything to protect her child, even beyond this life. This is the grave of Florence Irene Ford in Natchez City Cemetery. Florence died when she was 10. Yellow fever took her from her family. During her life she was extremely frightened of storms. Whenever one occurred she would rush to her mother to find comfort. Upon her death her mother was so struck with grief that she had Florence’s casket constructed with a glass window at the child’s head.
The grave was dug to provide an area, the same depth of the coffin, at the child’s head, but this area had steps that would allow the mother to descend to her daughter’s level so she could comfort Florence during storms. To shelter the mother during storms, hinged metal trap doors were installed over the area the mother would occupy while at her child’s grave. In the mid 1950s a concrete wall was erected at the bottom of the stairway covering the glass window of Florence’s coffin to prevent vandalism. This photo shows the grave and you can see the trap doors, which cover the stairway her mother used.
Notice the pennies on the headstone? There are many reasons people leave coins on graves but it is generally meant to be a sign that the life lost had value and meaning and will never be forgotten.
UPDATE: Since launching this blog I’ve launched a podcast called Southern Mysteries. In 2018, I released an episode about Natchez City Cemetery with new details about Florence Irene Ford (grave in photo above) and her family.