Since the weather has turned colder (and snowy in some places) I decided to cast out to the far north where snow has been on the ground for weeks – Circle, Alaska. A small marker was placed over Nellie Ross Cullens-Norwood’s grave in this remote area of Alaska. Only fifteen of the graves have any kind of marking on them according to Find-A-Grave, but perhaps as many as thirty-four people are buried in Circle Hot Springs Cemetery.I was intrigued by this one because I couldn’t locate any other Norwood’s buried in the area and Nellie was close to 80 years old when she died (noted on the marker). So, what is an elderly lady doing way up in remote Alaska living alone – there has to be a story here!
Find-A-Grave lists her birth date as September 1859 in Maine and her death in Circle, Alaska in 1937 (no specific date) – not a whole lot of information (her children’s and spouses’ names were also listed) so the search was on! Angealla “Nellie” Ross was born in 1859 to William and Mary Lorinda Ross. In the 1860 Census, the Ross family was living in Shapleigh, York, Maine; Nellie’s brother, William was 4 years old. Father William was listed as a “shoemaker” and had been born in Maine as well. Mother Mary Lorinda was listed as a “Lady” – yes, I’m sure she was!
NOTE: This article has been SNIPPED. Why? Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine. This article will be included in the August 2018 issue of Digging History Magazine. The story includes new research and a different story than the original article. The original article, amazing enough, has been significantly enhanced with footnotes.
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