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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1902 :: Death of Little Nellie Gray

Nellie Gray, the 12-year-old daughter of Dr. Gray, was fatally burned at Rogers by the explosion of a lamp. She lingered six hours. Shiner Gazette, August 27, 1902

Hosts of people in Caldwell will deeply sympathize with Dr. E.H. Gray, of Rogers, in the tragic loss by fire of his little daughter, Nellie, on Tuesday of last week. The particulars are given as follows by the Rogers News:

On Tuesday afternoon at about 8 o'clock, little Nellie Gray, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. E.H. Gray, was fatally burned by the explosion of a lamp. Nellie and her mother were preparing to go to the country to visit the family of Mr. A.W. Howard. Being through with the curling irons, Mrs. Gray attempted to blow out the light, when the lamp exploded with a loud report.

Little Nellie seeing her mother's clothing on fire, came to the rescue but, in an instant, she herself was wrapped in flames and fled from the house out through the front yard into the street. Mrs. Gray caught her daughter as she fled, and tried to extinguish the flames, but could not restrain her. 

Mr. M.P. Wynne arrived on the scene as Nellie reached the street and came to the rescue. He threw the child down and tried with all his power to save her, but to no avail, while he himself sustained severe burns on the hand and arm. 

In a few minutes the fire had consumed all but a handful of the poor child's garments and she was carried back to the house blackened and burned all over except the upper part of her face, and her feet which were protected by her shoes. 

No more horrible tragedy could be conceived of. Mrs. Gray had in the mean time suffered serious injury, but owing to her woolen clothing and the prompt assistance of Miss Nettie Ratliff, she escaped death.

Strange to say, after the terrible torture, Little Nellie seemed to lose all sense of pain and passed quietly and peacefully away at about midnight.

The funeral services conducted by Elder Lincoln were held at the Christian church on Wednesday afternoon. On Sunday -- just three days previously -- Bro. Lincoln had baptised Little Nellie on a profession of faith in Christ. Now, he comes to conduct the last sad rites over the remains of her who but a few hours before had been such a sweet little maiden, the idol of her father's and mother's heart, loved and admired by all.

Several very pathetic incidents occurred in connection with this remarkable tragic death. Just a few moments before the explosion occurred, little Nellie expressed a desire to play and sing, "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus," but her mother told her they wouldn't have time, as she thought she heard Mr. Howard's folks coming to take them to the country.

When Nellie discovered her mother on fire, she rushed to her assistance, exclaiming, "O mamma, honey, you're burning up!"

A large number of people, including friends and relatives from Milano, Rockdale, Caldwell and other points, made up the procession that following the remains to their last resting place. Many floral tributes came from friends and relatives of other towns, and the grave was literally buried in the most beautiful flowers.

No sadder event ever occurred in the history of Rogers, and a gloom has hung like a pall over our little city. The hearts of our entire people are touched with sympathy for the broken-hearted parents and relatives. We wish it were in our power to speak words that would console and comfort these stricken friends. 

But, alas! No human words can take away such depths of sorrow, and, in our sense of weakness, we would commend the bereaved to God whom they serve, and who has in all ages been the refuge and comforter of his people. Caldwell News-Chronicle, August 22, 1902

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