Rose Beauty Unearthed

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mariedefran5

I am trying to contact several officials to see if I can adopt this girl and have her remains interred in the Stuttmeister tomb in Colma. She needs a name. How about…..

ROSAMOND STUTTMEISTER JANKE

We can slip her in with Cornelia or Mina Stuttmeister.

I just talked with Elissa Davey and this child was named by the daughters of the owner of the house……

MIRANDA EVE

In Latin the meaning of the name Miranda is:Worthy of admiration; wonderful. Young innocent girl in Shakespeare’s The Tempest raised and educated on an isolated island by magician father.

From the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah), which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah) “to breathe” or the related word חיה (chayah) “to live”.

Others had called and suggested names. I gave her my suggestion and offered the Stuttmeister tomb. Three strands of Miranda’s hair was sent for DNA testing. I decided to get a DNA test last night, before I discovered this story. This child was left behind, separated from her people.

Jon Presco

https://rosamondpress.com/2013/03/23/my-odd-fellow-kindred-evicted-from-graves/

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https://rosamondpress.com/2015/10/27/marie-de-france-is-fair-rosamond-the-sleeping-beauty-2/

She has long blond hair, she is holding a red rose and she has been dead for 145 years.

Nobody knows her name or how she died. She lay under a San Francisco home’s concrete garage floor for decades until two weeks ago, when workers doing remodeling struck her lead-and-bronze coffin with their shovels.
And so begins a tale of death, love, San Francisco history and the staying power of a coffin maker who knew what he was doing.

On May 9, workers at the home in the Lone Mountain neighborhood in the Richmond District discovered the casket and called authorities.

The unidentified girl, who appeared to be about 3, is believed to be one of about 30,000 people who were buried at the old Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco. The bodies were moved to a common burial plot in Colma around 1920, after all the city’s graveyards were ordered closed to make way for the living.

Somehow, the workers in charge of moving the Odd Fellows occupants left this girl behind.

Flowers in hair

She was from a family of means, as indicated by the high-end coffin and by the fancy sealing job by the undertaker that preserved her skin and hair and her burial flowers. She looks, through the two glass windows of the coffin, like a young girl and not like the 145-year-old remains of one.

The coffin of a little girl, found buried beneath a San Francisco home. Photo: Courtesy Of Elissa Davey

Photo: Courtesy Of Elissa Davey
IMAGE 1 OF 6 The coffin of a little girl, found buried beneath a San Francisco home.
She has long blond hair, she is holding a red rose and she has been dead for 145 years.

Nobody knows her name or how she died. She lay under a San Francisco home’s concrete garage floor for decades until two weeks ago, when workers doing remodeling struck her lead-and-bronze coffin with their shovels.
And so begins a tale of death, love, San Francisco history and the staying power of a coffin maker who knew what he was doing.

On May 9, workers at the home in the Lone Mountain neighborhood in the Richmond District discovered the casket and called authorities.

The unidentified girl, who appeared to be about 3, is believed to be one of about 30,000 people who were buried at the old Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco. The bodies were moved to a common burial plot in Colma around 1920, after all the city’s graveyards were ordered closed to make way for the living.

Somehow, the workers in charge of moving the Odd Fellows occupants left this girl behind.

Flowers in hair

She was from a family of means, as indicated by the high-end coffin and by the fancy sealing job by the undertaker that preserved her skin and hair and her burial flowers. She looks, through the two glass windows of the coffin, like a young girl and not like the 145-year-old remains of one.
Clutched in her right hand is the rose. Weaved in her curly blond hair are lavender flowers. Placed over her heart is a cross made of more lavender. Lying beside her are eucalyptus leaves.

“She’s wearing a long white dress,” said Elissa Davey, the founder of the Garden of Innocence charity that, for two decades, has buried the bodies of unidentified children in California. Davey estimates that the girl died about 145 years ago because the cemetery was active from 1860 to 1890.

Homeowner’s problem

The owner of the home, Ericka Karner, quickly found herself in a bind. The medical examiner’s office told her the body was her responsibility, even though the error that left the coffin beneath her garage was not. The body was now on private property, and the private property was hers.

An investigator for the medical examiner’s office confirmed its staff had been summoned following the discovery but did not take custody of the remains.

Karner said she called one Colma undertaker and was quoted a price of $7,000. She called an East Bay archaeological company that handles historic artifacts and was quoted a price of $22,000.

“It didn’t seem right,” said Karner, who markets cookies for a living and whose family has lived in the home since 1976. “I understand if a tree is on your property, that’s your responsibility. But this is different. The city decided to move all these bodies 100 years ago, and they should stand behind their decision.”

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David Martin of Davis takes a picture of and Dena Martin with Daniel Will-Harris, portraying Levi Strauss. History comes alive in the dead of Colma Mission Dolores Cemetery, circa 1936. Ron Filion will lead a tour of Bay Area cemeteries this weekend. ‘S.F. Pioneer Cemeteries’: Where the dead lived Dylan Phillipy sets his belongings on an old mausoleum near the intersection of Rivera Street and the Great Highway on Ocean Beach, where tombstones were uncovered by wind and erosion on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. Tombstones from long ago surfacing on S.F. beach
‘Somebody’s child’

But Karner said she wanted to do the right thing, seeing as how the girl “was part of our family now.” She said the medical examiner’s office had broken the meticulously sealed casket to examine the body and that “time was beginning to be a factor,” though a medical examiner’s spokesman said that only the covers over the coffin’s windows had been removed.

In desperation, with the coffin lying above ground in her backyard, Karner called authorities at City Hall. They put her in touch with Davey.

“That girl was somebody’s child,” Davey said. “You have to do the right thing.”

Davey contacted the Odd Fellows, who agreed to supply the necessary funds. And then Davey, who works out of her office near San Diego, arranged for the body to be picked up and stored, temporarily, in a mortuary refrigerator in Fresno.

“We had to pick her up,” said Davey, whose organization has arranged for the burials of 327 unidentified children at 11 cemeteries and other plots of land throughout California. “If people find out she’s lying at a construction site with no one around at night, you can bet somebody is going to steal her. People into the macabre. Into witchcraft. I wanted her out of there.”

Davey hired her niece to construct a second coffin, made of maple, large enough to hold the body and the original coffin.

“I don’t want her disturbed any more,” Davey said. “She’s been disturbed enough.”

Next week, Davey will come to San Francisco for a meeting with representatives of the Odd Fellows to arrange for a reburial for the girl, who has tentatively been given the name of Miranda.

“She’ll go home with the love of the community,” said Davey. “That’s all we want.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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