Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Larabee Story, Part 4

Nora E. Larabee Library

     Recently, Larry D. Fenwick spent a pleasant afternoon visiting with Jan McKeel, Librarian of the Nora E. Larabee Library in Stafford, Kansas.  Jan shared with him the Memorial published in the Stafford County Republican, June 16, 1904, gifted to the library by the daughter of Drew Hartnett.  The following text is taken from that Memorial, describing not only Nora, but also reflecting the traditions of that era.  Included are the names of many others in the Stafford community and beyond.

Nora E. Larabee

    With the death of Miss Nora Larabee, which occurred at Albuquerque, New Mexico, last Wednesday night, an heroic fight for life against terrible odds has ended, and Death claims the victory.  For over two years the Larabees have carried on a hard fought contest to battle and withstand that most dread disease, consumption, but their efforts were fruitless, anymore than they can feel that they have done all that human hands could possibly do to win.  Money, time and labor have been of no consequence.  Specialists of world-wide repute have been consulted, traveling indulged in, and for the past year or so the parents have lived in the New Mexico health resort with the hope that its dry climate would prove healing and beneficial.

    For some months past they have realized that they were to lose her, and the many friends in and around Stafford have been sympathetic in their sorrow for the great bereavement that was to befall them, and all calmly awaited the coming of the Grim Reaper.

    She is dead, gone to that bourne from whence no traveler returns, yet not forgotten, nor will she ever be, for in her life among us she has builded a character most beautiful.  Her talents were many and her friends legion, and her early death will leave a place vacant in our community that it will take years to fill...may never be filled.  She has grown to womanhood in our midst, got a goodly portion of her education here, after which she was graduated with high honors from the College of the Sisters of Bethany at Topeka.  While never strong and rugged, like many other girls her age, it was not thought until a few months ago that she was to be cut off so young in life, and it seems a great pity that at just the time when she was blooming into the fullness of accomplished womanhood...all the bright world before her, and just when she might enjoy the many blessings and good things at her command, she must give up all...home, parents, brothers, friends!

Center stained glass image

Yet, maybe 'tis best.  Possibly this world is not so beautiful as it seems.  "Tis but the working out of the promise of God, the inevitable hand of fate that rests o'er the destiny of all mankind.  Nora is in a better home, and we're sure out of the pain and misery of human life.

Forbid, oh God, that it should seem sacrilegious to feel a bit hard towards fate for the striking of such a cruel blow.  Permit us the solace that beyond the broad canopy that o'erspreads this sphere there is a heaven...a place where all may find rest; the rest that comforts and heals the broken body, and that will overshadow the pains and heartaches of this mortal life.

Would to God that the writer were able to find words in which to express his innermost feelings as we pencil these lines, and pay a tribute fitting such a worthy individual, but it is impossible.  We can only think of her as good, noble and true to her friendships, of which she had so many; of the days when with the other boys and girls up at the old school house we were wont to play the innocent games of childhood together; of her growing to woman's estate while we grew to man's' of her onward progress, surmounting every obstacle that presented  itself, and that she has now given up this life when fairly started into it beauties.

Her friends will doubtless feel like us in this matter, and the great God in heaven will pardon us all for thoughts of resentment at such an ending.

The parents and brother, Fred D., arrived with the remains on Saturday morning's Santa Fe train, and were met at the depot by a large concourse of friends.  The Bachelor Girls' Club, of which she was one of the original organizers, was there with a most beautiful floral offering, and accompanied the remains to the family home on Union street north, where they were laid in state to be viewed by the friends.

All afternoon Saturday and up until noon Sunday a steady stream of people wended their way to the home of the Larabees to take the last look at all that was mortal, and tender consolation to the bereaved ones.

The room in which she lay was a veritable flower bank.  Among the offerings was a beautiful flower pillow from brothers Frank and Fred; bouquet, H.L. McCurdy and wife, Stafford; bouquet, H.D. McQuade and wife, Kansas City, Mo.; cross and anchor, Bachelor Girls' Club, Stafford; emblem made in shape of the club pin, Cooking Club, Stafford; two large mantels, Mesdames F.S. and F.D. Larabee, Stafford; crescent, C.A. and F.C. McCord, Stafford; heart, E.N. Maxfield and wife, Stafford; box of flowers, Paul E. Webb, Oklahoma City, Ok.; floral box, Mary A. Negley, Stafford; bouquet, Carrie A. Mack, Macksville; bouquet, Mrs. G.W. Maupin, Stafford; bouquet, the LaRue family, Stafford; besides offerings from Mr. and Mrs. Berger, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Patten of Albuquerque, and others unmarked from Stafford friends.

Portrait of Nora

    The Rev. William Elwood, a former Congregational minister of Stafford, and a brother-in-law of F.D. Larbee, arrived Saturday night from Anthony, Kansas, and conducted the funeral at three o'clock Sunday afternoon.  He was assisted by the Rev. J.G. Smiley of this city.

    A male quartet of Messrs. Frank Mathias, Leroy Van Lehn, J.D. Rippey of Stafford, and Leonard Sanders of Hutchinson, sang two appropriate selections, and Miss Ida Alford sang "Flee, as a Bird."

    The pallbears, Mesdames Kate Crawford, Rose Van Lehn, Edna Oarey, and Misses Hasse Turner, Callie Vioers, and Gertie Sutton, assisted by the honorary pallbearers, Messrs. Hal Wolf, Wright, LaRue, D. Mershon, A. Hartnett and John Bridwell, preceded by Miss M. LaRue, conveyed the beautiful white casket to the hearse.  They were followed by the remaining members of the Bachelor Club, carrying flowers.

The procession was almost a mile in length, and was another evidence of the high esteem in which the deceased was held by our citizens.

Her girl friends of the clubs had most tastily decorated the grave in green and white that morning.

Nora E. Larabee was born in Ashford, N.Y., September 12th, 1878, died in Albuquerque, N.M., June 8th, 1904, and was buried in the Stafford Cemetery Sunday, June 12th.  With her parents and brothers she came to this city in the Spring of 1886.  

Nora E. Larabee Library


1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

What a lovely tribute to a lovely girl.