Friday, September 28, 2012

The Death of R. W. Officer's Adopted Daughter, 1900

This post is a follow-up to the previous one which reproduces the obituary for Lota Venable Officer. It appeared in the newspaper serving Atoka, Indian Territory at the time.

Lota was R. W. Officer's first wife. The two were married in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee on Christmas Day, 1871. A number of secondary sources, which simply repeat each other, have them married on December 25, 1870. But the original marriage certificate, of which I have a copy, clearly indicates 1871.

Lota died on January 30, 1900, and her obituary appeared in the paper dated February 1. Two weeks later, on February 15, the same paper ran the following article:

Gone Home.

Elder R. W. Officer received the sad news Saturday, that Mrs. Allen Cunnings had died at her home at Allen, I. T.  He immediately left to attend the funeral services. Mrs. Allen Cunnings, nee Pheobe Gertrude Anderson, was an adopted child whom Mr. and Mrs. Officer took into their home and care at the age of seven years. She was Leon's playmate and was cared for and given the best advantages. She attended school in Atoka, and then Mr. Officer sent her off to school for three years. Soon after returning from school she married Mr. Allen Cunnings, a worthy and faithful man and a kind husband. This home was not blessed by any children, and since she had been called away so early, 'tis better so. She was a christian and had been for a number of years; but she was never strong; consumption was the cause of her untimely death. To the friends and bereaved husband we extend our sympathy and commend them to the Great Comforter of whom we can get that peace and comfort that passeth all understanding.

Indian Citizen-Democrat, February 15, 1900.

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