Friday, April 27, 2018

Four Marston infants buried at Hollywood Cemetery

Since this week’s 52 Ancestors theme is “cemetery,” I thought I’d write about four infants I discovered this week—Lilla Lee Marston, Curtis Marston, Nellie Marston, and Ned Mathews Marston. Lilla would be the grand aunt of my brother-in-law, Curtis and Ned would be his uncles, and Nellie his aunt.

The Atlanta Constitution,
November 11, 1892
Hollywood Cemetery is a 127-year-old non-perpetual care cemetery located at 2275 Simpson Road in northwest Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. According to an article in The Atlanta Constitution dated July 15, 1897 and titled “City of the Dead Gets Into Court,” “… The Hollywood Cemetery Company was organized and incorporated October 14, 1890. Eighty-four acres of land situated in land lot 250, in the fourteenth district, were purchased by the charter members of the company for the sum of $25,000. The cemetery was then outlined and the property laid off in lots. The cemetery is located about five miles west of Atlanta and is reached by the Chattahoochee river car line.” At the time of its establishment, the cemetery was described by The Atlanta Constitution in an article dated March 19, 1893 and titled “Pretty Hollywood. A Cemetery That Is an Honor to Atlanta” as “… one of the most lovely landscapes in Georgia, with handsome drives, ornamental shrubbery, winding walks and all the elements to characterize it as an ideal and imposing City of the Dead.” Another article in The Atlanta Constitution, “They Rest in Peace” dated November 11, 1892 reads “… Located on a high eminence, just four and three-quarter miles from the carshed in Atlanta, is one of the most lovely landscapes which greets the eye in Georgia. Hollywood cemetery lies just there, and, as a place of interment for the the [sic] dead, it is not surpassed in natural beauty.” According to a “Notice of Application for Charter” that ran in The Atlanta Constitution on November 4, 1890, the Atlanta and Chattahoochee River Railway Company was formed “for the purpose of laying out, constructing, maintaining and operating a railroad from the city of Atlanta to the Hollywood Cemetery …” I have never visited the cemetery (or even heard of it until last week) but from the Internet research I’ve done, it appears it is now in poor condition—neglected and overgrown, with deteriorating headstones, etc. Some people recommend only visiting the cemetery in the winter months, after the frost kills the greens and vines.

All four of the Marston infants mentioned above are buried at Hollywood Cemetery. This is what I was able to find out about them.

John Henry Marston and Mattie Catherine Powell were the parents of at least six children—Mattie May Marston, Susie C. Marston, James Asa Marston (still need to confirm his middle name), John Henry Marston, Annie Florence Marston, and Lilla Lee Marston. Their daughter Lilla did not survive infancy.

Lilla Lee Marston was born in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia about September 1904. She died in Atlanta on May 29, 1905. The Atlanta Constitution reported her death the next day:
Lilla Lee Marston. The 8-months-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Marston, died early yesterday morning at the residence of her parents, 66 South Delta place. The interment will take place today at Hollywood cemetery.
Lilla’s brother, John Henry Marston and his wife Hattie E. Prather were the parents of at least seven children—M. Louise Marston, Annie Kate Marston, Curtis Marston, John Henry Marston Jr., Evelyn Dulcie Marston, Nellie Marston, and Ned Mathews Marston. At least three of their children did not survive infancy.

Curtis Marston was born in Atlanta about 1917. He died at home on March 10, 1918. The Atlanta Constitution reported his death the next day:
Curtis Marston, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Marston, died Sunday morning at the residence, 126 Powers street. The body was removed to the chapel of H. M. Patterson & Son.
An invitation to his funeral also appeared in The Atlanta Constitution on March 11, 1918:
MARSTON - The friends and relatives of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Marston, Jr., are invited to attend the funeral of their little son, Curtis Marston, today, Monday, March 11, 1918, at 2:30 p.m. from the residence, 110 Powers Street. Interment Hollywood Cemetery. H. M. Patterson & Son, funeral directors.
Just under seven years later, Hattie gave birth to fraternal twins in Atlanta on January 25, 1925—a boy they named Ned Mathews Marston and a girl they named Nellie Marston.

Nellie became ill on June 5, 1925. After only three days of illness, she died at the Marston home located at 72 Woodward Avenue in Atlanta on June 8. Her death certificate listed the cause of death as marasmus, with acute colitis. According to Wikipedia, “Marasmus is a form of severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency. It can occur in anyone with severe malnutrition but usually occurs in children. A child with marasmus looks emaciated. Body weight is reduced to less than 62% of the normal (expected) body weight for the age.” Wikipedia describes colitis as an inflammation of the colon.

Ned became ill on June 9, 1925 suffering for several weeks before his death at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital on June 27. The cause of death was infectious diarrhea, contributed by inanition fever which is believed to be due to dehydration. At the age of six months, Ned was buried on June 29. The H. M. Patterson & Son funeral home handled the arrangements. The family still lived in the Woodward Avenue home at the time of Ned’s death.

Other interesting facts about Hollywood Cemetery:

  • Stock of the Hollywood Cemetery Company was sold in 1892 by Goldsmith’s, a real estate agency in Atlanta. If you purchased a share of stock, you could choose a lot in the cemetery for $12.50.
  • The Hollywood Cemetery Company offered “desirable lots at the remarkably low figure of $12.50, payable $1.50 cash and $1 per month until the balance of $11 is paid.”
  • The cemetery offered easy access via the electric car to/from Atlanta, with cars traveling “in each direction” every 30 minutes. A funeral car was guaranteed “to transport the corpse and passengers from the city at a rate not to exceed $14 or $7.50 a car for a round trip.”
  • The original owner was W. A. Baker, “one of the constructors of the Atlanta and Chattahoochee electric railroad” and “one of Atlanta’s thoroughgoing enterprising young men.”
  • Lots were sold as an investment. The general assembly passed a law that “no cemetery in the future can be located nearer to the city than four miles” and since Hollywood cemetery was just over four miles from Atlanta it would “be the burial ground of Atlanta’s rising generations.”
  • By 1897, the cemetery was in debt and unable to pay its bills. “The original purchase was made from W. A. Baker subject to a mortgage of $5,000 which was in favor of the National Railway Building and Loan Association. This mortgage was sued upon and a judgment was levied July 10th [1897] and the property is now being advertised in the sheriff’s sales, the date of sale having been announced for the first Tuesday in August.” … “The bill filed yesterday was a creditors’ bill and was brought on behalf of all other persons who were interested and desired to become parties to the litigation. The first allegation was that the company was totally and hopelessly insolvent, owing a large amount of money and not being able to raise any funds with which to pay the amount of the judgment or the debts owed other creditors.”
  • The cemetery was sold via auction in October 1897. At the time of the sale, it was announced that the funeral car would no longer accommodate transporting the “caskets and mourners from the city to Hollywood cemetery … .”


  • Nellie and Ned Marston’s State of Georgia death certificates.
  • Find A Grave memorials 69998362, 76253620, 24553217, and 24553304.
  • Marasmus,
  • Colitis,
  • United States Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 3, Fulton, Georgia for 1900, 1910, and 1920.
  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  • Notice of Application for Charter, “The Atlanta Constitution,” November 4, 1890.
  • Hollywood Cemetery Stock, “The Atlanta Constitution,” Atlanta, Georgia, February 2, 1892.
  • They Rest in Peace, “The Atlanta Constitution,” Atlanta, Georgia, November 11, 1892.
  • Pretty Hollywood: A Cemetery That Is an Honor to Atlanta, “The Atlanta Constitution,” Atlanta, Georgia, March 19, 1893.
  • City of the Dead Gets into Court: Superior Court Is Now the Sexton of Hollywood Cemetery, “The Atlanta Constitution,” Atlanta, Georgia, July 15, 1897.
  • No Funeral Car to Haul the Dead: Sale of Hollywood Cemetery Brings Up a Unique Fight, “The Atlanta Constitution,” Atlanta, Georgia, October 6, 1897.
  • Death notice of Lilla Lee Marston, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, May 30, 1905.
  • Curtis Marston death and funeral notices, The Atlanta Constitution, March 10, 1918.
  • Georgia death certificates for Nellie Marston and Ned Mathews Marston.
  • Georgia Deaths, 1919–98.

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