Pit Stops on The Road Of Life



My mother’s maiden name was Viola Smith and her mother had been Minnie Lozaw.  Minnie was the child of Suldon Lozaw and his wife, Elizabeth.

"Lizzie LOZO."  The name on the single grave in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Dunmore, Pennsylvania sounded intriguing enough.   A fellow amateur genealogist I met on the Internet had extensive knowledge of the Lozaw family.  He had suggested to me the possibility that the lady buried there may have been my maternal great grandmother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Lloyd.  LOZO was an accepted variable spelling of the Lozaw surname.  The web site listing graves in that cemetery showed her to have died on January 28, 1885, a date that would fit into my genealogy.  I wrote to the cemetery but the kindly caretaker, Norma Reese, had to dash my hopes temporarily.  Their records didn't show, as I had hoped, that Lizzie's husband had bought the grave and thus I couldn't show the purchaser to have been my maternal great grandfather, Suldon Lozaw.  The records revealed why she had been buried in a single grave, absent any nearby family members.  It had been purchased by the Scranton Poor Board.  Poor Lizzie was buried in a pauper's grave!  Norma went the extra mile to help me, searching for the obit at the library but, unfortunately, the day the obit should have run was missing from the microfilm.  Norma did come up with Lizzie's death certificate but, it, too, lacked any information as to Lizzie's marital status.  I pretty much resolved that I'd never find an answer to the mystery.

Suldon Lozaw had been a Civil War vet. Long past trying to find if his wife was in that Dunmore grave, I decided to obtain his pension file from the National Archive and Records Administration.  Upon the advice of the fellow amateur genealogist, I asked for his compete file and it turned out to be the best $35 I'd ever spent.  Nearly 3 inches thick and containing over 200 pages, it told the lengthy story of his battle to be awarded a pension and his subsequent years-long battle to get increases to it.  Poring carefully though the pages, I came across a statement that he had made in 1887 to support a request for an increase.  Speaking of his family, Suldon stated, in part "My first wife, Elizabeth Lloyd, died on January 28, 1885."  BINGO!!  The exact same death date at that shown for Lizzie!!  Various censuses had shown that Suldon and Lizzie had moved frequently as he unsuccessfully tried to find work that his wartime disability would allow him to do.  While I still cannot prove that he'd moved to Scranton or Dunmore in Lackawanna County from his1880 Plains, Luzerne County location, I was 100% convinced that it truly is my great-grandmother in that pauper's grave.

Next step--what to do with this information ?  I looked into possibly moving her to lie next to Suldon and one of their daughters 26 miles away in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery in Trucksville, Luzerne County. The cost, over $2,000, proved prohibitive.  I decided to buy her a stone and leave her in Forest Hill.  I caught a break and found a pink "Mountain Rose" granite stone on sale for the same price as gray granite stones.  Michaeleen T. Sultzer of Chinchilla had it delivered and set up in time for my visit home in September, 2003. I made sure to visit Lizzie and explain what I'd done.  "Granny", I said, "you've been lying here for 118 years under a stone reading only '309.' It's only right that folks know that it's MY grandma here.  Without you having lived, I wouldn't be here.  I'm sorry I couldn't afford to move you but the next time I'm in Trucksville, I'll let grandpa know that his bride is at long last being looked after."  I kept that promise later that summer.

“Lizzie Lozo’s original pauper’s tombstone number 309.”

“Replacement tombstone purchased by Ron Hontz in 2003.’

Ronald E. Hontz

33 Whitcraft Lane

Shrewsbury PA 17361

(717) 235-5791

cell phone (717) 309-1402

e-mail: Sweetvalleykid@gmail.com