Sunday, May 12, 2024

Effie Eva Carringer's (1858-1874) Gravestone in Boulder, Colorado

One of my great-grandaunts is Effie Eva Carringer (1858-1874), the daughter of my maternal great-grandparents David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer.  I found her Find A Grave memorial today, and was saddened by the fact that the gravestone was broken and sunken, obscuring part of the stone's engraving.  Here are photographs from her Find A Grave memorial:

The Find A Grave memorial source citation is:

Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed May 9, 2024), memorial page for Effie Eva Carringer (24 Nov 1858–7 Jun 1874), Find a Grave Memorial ID 50002485, citing Columbia Cemetery, Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado, USA; Maintained by Tess Warnstaff (contributor 47249734).

The photographs were taken by AmyS in 2014. Apparently, the stone is in storage.  Thank you so much to Amy, who granted me permission to use her photos.

There is another photograph on the Find A Grave memorial - taken in 2010 by Smontee when the stone was still standing:

Effie Carringer's stone apparently was repaired by August 1999.  It may be that it was broken after that date and was placed in storage.

I found a newspaper article on GenealogyBank from the Sunday Camera newspaper of Boulder, Colorado dated 15 August 1999:

The transcription of the article is:


"Volunteers complete restoration training

"Historic Boulder cemetery is getting a much-needed face lift.

By Margie McAlister
Camera Staff Writer

"In 1874, Effie Carringer's family lovingly brought the 14-year-old girl's body down from Caribou for burial in Boulder's Columbia Cemetery, and they hired stone masons to inscribe these words on Effie's marble tablet:

"'But a fair maiden in the father's mansion, clothed with celestial grace and beautiful with all the soul's expansion, shall thee behold her face.'"

"Through the next century, Effie's tombstone sank at least 20 inches into the grassy slope.  In the past decade, visitors could read only the first words, 'But a fair maiden in her father's mansion..."  The rest of the epitaph was covered with mud and rocks.

"Saturday, Effie Carringer's stone got much needed attention as volunteers chipped away rocks, dug through the gravesite's base and tried to lift the stone from its grassy plot.  The work is part of a year-long conservation project, begun in March and supported by the Colorado Historical Society and Historic Boulder, that will restore the neglected pioneer cemetery at Ninth and Pleasant streets.  Saturday was the final day of training for 20 volunteers for the project who now have experience in patching gravestones.

"Jack Smith, retired chief archaeologist at Mesa Verde National Park, knelt in the damp dirt near Effie Carringer's tombstone Saturday, chiseling the cemented anchor rock.  Smith was doing the kind of work he always liked, digging into the past.

"'I can't give it up,' he said, 'I like this because its history and preserving history.'

"About 3,040 gravesites in the cemetery need some degree of restoration, according to project director Mary Reilly McNellan.  The work is paid through a $98,000 Colorado Historical Society grant matched by a $8,000 Historic Boulder grant and City Parks Department funds.  The total budget is $151,000.

"In addition to fixing the stones, volunteers are cutting back tree limbs, restoring the historic fence along Ninth Street, and landscaping around the plots.

"Boulder's cemetery conservation project is the first such effort in Colorado, said Julie Hendee, a consultant in the project.  However, the idea has been around for decades.  'It's really big in the Northeast because the cemeteries are older,' said McNellan.

"'A cemetery is a fabulous learning tool,' McNelland said, 'We learn from epidemics, geology, statistics -- with all the math and ages -- botany from all the plantings and folklore.  For example, some o the graves are covered with yucca or cactus so the spirit will not wander.'

"McNellan does 'Walks in the Cemetery' for Historic Boulder, introducing people to Columbia's silent inhabitants.  Over the years, she has worried about losing pieces of the history that the cemetery holds.

"'One of the first things I did was take a Union Soldier's stone that had been resting against the east fence and find out where he belonged,' she said, 'I was afraid someone would take the stone.  Vandals have taken many stones over the years.  Others are water-damaged.'

"Columbia tombstones are conserved through repairing, re-propping and cleaning rather than by restoring the original stone, McNellan said.

"Consulant Hendee spent Saturday teaching volunteers how to pull up bases and clean stones.  Her grandfather owned a monument company.

"'I grew up in old cemeteries and have exceeding affection for them,' she said, 'They are a repository of culture.  They are history, often the only records for someone.  They are outdoor art galleries.  Foremost, cemetery land is sacred ground.'"

Amen to all of that!!!  Thank you to the volunteers who worked on this project, and to all of the volunteers who work in every cemetery to restore and conserve these outdoor art galleries.

The source citation for this article is:

"Volunteers complete restoration training," Sunday Camera [Boulder, Colo.] newspaper, 15 August 1999, page B1, columns 2-4; imaged, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 8 May 2024).

I cannot imagine the emotional pain and physical suffering of a 15-year old girl dying, and the impact it has on a family.  I am sure that my great-grandfather Henry Austin Carringer, at age 20, and his parents and brother, felt a great loss.  I can't imagine taking a 15-year old daughter from her home to be buried in a cemetery in a nearby town.   


Copyright (c) 2024, Randall J. Seaver

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