Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The House of Shelter Lot, Middle Ridge

A small gravestone that reads simply Little Willie resting against a tree just off Ravine Side Way is the only marker in this small lot belonging to the House of Shelter.  The lot is on the south side of the path and overlooks a narrow, deep section of the Moordanaers Kill ravine between the remnants of Consecration and Tawasentha Lakes.

The House of Shelter was an institution founded in 1868 with the intent of "reclaiming and reforming women who had strayed from the path of virtue and were living in vice."  The House of Shelter owned two such lots at the Rural Cemetery.  There is a much larger one overlooking an overgrown area between Sections 104 and 121.

There are forty-six recorded burials in the House's Middle Ridge lot.  The earliest was in 1875 and the latest was in 1889.  There are also three burials for which no date is listed.  Of the forty-six burials here, most were children less than two years of age.

The sole headstone here may have marked the grave of one of three infants named Willie who were buried here:  Willie Critz (died June 1, 1765 - the first burial in the lot), Willie Gray (died July 20, 1877), and Willie Fry (died June 12, 1885).  The stone is undated and has no last name so it is not possible to further identify Little Willie.


  1. I visit Little Willie's grave almost daily while walking my dogs and wondered who he was, so I walked down the hill and found Sweet Frankie at the edge. We carried his stone up and set it next to Little Willie. To the left of the two stones lies a larger stone but it is deep in the ground so we need a shovel to lift it out of the earth. My guess is that it might be the family stone with the dates on it.