|Lizzie and Jimmie|
"Well done of God to halve the lot,
And give them all the sweetness,
To us, the empty room and cot,
To them, the Heaven's completeness."
|Albert and Willie|
"While none shall tell them of our tears,
These human tears now falling,
Till after a few patient years
One home shall take us all in."
"At the end of the war, most of the family's slaves had left. The first to go was one male slave that Horst had bought for $1,000, the most that he had paid for any of them. Two of the older females stayed with the family until they died and are buried in graves in the Horst family lot in Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile. One of the former male slaves, a trained barber, continued to share and cut the hair of prominent Mobilians and, it was said, brought the money back to Mrs. Horst." [from the as-yet-unpublished Horst Family, by William A. Powell, Jr.]
The graves of these four people - Albert and Willie, Lizzie and Jimmie - are in the family plot of Martin Horst (1868-1928), the youngest son of Martin and Apollonia Weinschenk Horst. Their graves don't include last names, so it is possible they were still slaves at the time of their deaths. Neither headstone includes a birth date or date of death.
But these were not simple headstones, or unmarked graves. In fact, of all the headstones for our family members throughout this cemetery or the Catholic Cemetery, these were actually the most ornate, and two of the few that had more than just a name and date on it. They were buried along side the family. Obviously these four individuals were cared about, and in a way considered "family".
But nothing personal is known about them. Were they married to each other? Were they parent and child? Siblings? If any of them were parents, and have descendants tracing their family tree, would they have any way to know where to find their ancestors? Did anyone ever lay flowers, or come to visit in the years since they died?
They meant something to someone once, a long time ago, in a world far, far away. They weren't born into freedom like our Horst ancestors were, or like we were. Maybe they never knew what freedom was. But for a time, in some way we may never know, they were "family".
The verses engraved on their headstones come from a poem written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)- "A Child's Grave at Florence," published in 1856.