Here's what it said:
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A MESSAGE FROM THE GRAVE - Conradine Meyer
I was spending a gloomy Saturday recently at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago helping someone in Pennsylvania who is putting together a roster of the burial places of Civil War Dead. After I finished what I was supposed to be doing, I wandered around the cemetery looking for interesting graves as I often do. Rosehill is so large, and so old, that there are interesting gravestones virtually everywhere you look. All at once I saw a large gray stone with the name MEYER and an inscription in German.
Here's what it said:
ALLES IST ERBORGT IM LEBEN,
REICHTUM, EHRE, LIEBE, GLUECK.
ALLES MUSST DU WIEDERGEBEN,
IN DEM LETZTEN AUGENBLICK.
In front of the large stone were two flat headstones. One said:
Died Jan. 2, 1920
and the other said:
Died Oct. 26, 1913
I didn't need to be able to read German to figure out that the "C.M." from the quote must be Conradine Meyer. But what was she trying to tell us?
First let's see what we can find out about her. There's not too much about Conradine Meyer on the Internet, but with her unusual first name we are able to find out a few things.
The 1910 census shows that Robert and Conradine Meyer lived at 2535 N. Orchard Street in Chicago.
Conradine was born in 1849 in Germany making her 61 in 1910 - her husband Robert was born in 1856, also in Germany and was 54 in 1910. They had been married for 29 years; they had no children. Robert listed his business as "Wholesale Underwear".
Conradine Feidelberg Meyer died at home the morning of October 26, 1913 of complications from breast cancer. She was 64 years old.
But wait - there's more.
Robert Meyer died seven years later on January 2, 1920, just short of his 64th birthday from pernicious anemia. His death certificate said that he worked for "Meyers Bros. Wholesale Underwear." He did not remarry after Conradine's death and he still was living at 2535 N. Orchard.
A comparison of their death certificates shows something very interesting. Conradine's lists her father as M. Feidelberg and her mother as H. Heilbronn. Robert's father is listed as Moses Meyers and his mother as Bertha Heilbronn. Were Conradine and Robert first cousins? We may never know.
As I have mentioned before, genealogy is a cross between a treasure hunt and a detective story. For every question that is answered, five new questions pop up. And one of the frustrating things about genealogical research is that some questions are never answered.
Back to the mysterious tombstone. I love reading tombstone messages. They are a way for the departed to reach out from the other side and talk to the living. It is their last chance to impart a word of wisdom, or even a warning ("As I am now, so you shall be..."). Even though I have German ancestry I do not speak or read German. Luckily one of my friends is a native German speaker and was glad to translate Conradine's message to us. So here is the message direct from Conradine Feidelberg Meyer who died in 1913:
ALL THAT REMAINS IN LIFE
WEALTH, HONOR, LOVE, HAPPINESS
ALL MUST I GIVE BACK AGAIN
IN THE FINAL MOMENT
May Conradine and Robert Meyer rest in peace.