Denison Bulletin Supplement
Denison, Iowa, July 12, 1900
Dedicated to the Memory of a Generous and Faithful Friend
DEATH’S SADDEST STROKE
PLANTED HEAVILY ON THE J. B. ROMANS HOME.
The Wife and Mother Succumbs After Terrible Suffering--People Unite In Growing Tribute to Her Memory.
The sad, sad fact of the death of Mrs. J. B. Romans came to the ears of the public last Saturday forenoon.At two o’clock the sufferer laid in a calm and peaceful sleep and quietly her spirit fled.The terrible burns she had sustained from the gasoline accident mentioned last week proved more than her body and strong will could endure.Like a heroic lion from the time of the accident until shortly before her death, she maintained such a courage and determination to overcome the awful pain that the loving attendants about her felt that she would conquer.But it could not be so.The iron will could not make the heart perform its function with such a disarrangement of the body’s machinery, and as the heart failed, life failed.She knew the end was coming.From her year of medical study and training she was able to watch the symptoms, and a few hours before she expired she told those beside her that in a short time she should go unless she could endure it beyond a certain hour.Sleep also tried to conquer her, and she stubbornly refused to surrender, knowing that if she did it would be her last sleep.But such magnificent heroism had to end somewhere, and finally closing her eyes the sleep came and with it there was no awakening.
To the awful decree of fate the family have had to bow, and friends are compelled to mourn.To the husband and children who loved her with a rare devotion there is the added sorrow of her terrible suffering, but the undying memory of her good deeds and wonderful heroism.No knight of old ever faced death in a more savage form or met it with more determined spirit.
On receipt of a telegram announcing the accident Mr. Romans, who was in Kansas City, hastened to the train and in ten hours was at the bedside of his wife.No effort was spared to save her and no power under God could save her then.
So the wife and mother is gone, and the living reminders of her make the parting more sad.Her home was her model.Here is
a room, a piece of furniture, a flower, a plant, a decoration, a rare souvenir of some kind—everywhere something placed there and arranged by her hand.Even in death her presence is felt in the household, and years cannot efface it.Here is the table she used and the papers she read, and the manuscripts she had prepared, piled high and in systematic order, for Mrs. Romans was a vigorous worker with brain and pen.There is the dining room and the kitchen as she arranged them, for in those she was queen and mistress, as of the parlor and drawing room.In these nothing can take her place, and no hand can ever arrange the household as she did.Children may die, husbands may go, but in a home where all are present, nothing can take the place of mother.
The funeral of Mrs. J. B. Romans occurred on Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock, and it was the largest testimonial of esteem and sympathy for a departed one that has ever been held in Denison.Long before the hour for the funeral friends began to gather at the home, and many were admitted to take a last look at the well known face.From far and near friends came to pay their last respects, and telegrams and other messages poured in to the afflicted household.At 2 o’clock Rev. A. G. Martyn of the Presbyterian Church read a scripture lesson and Rev. J. B. Harris of the Methodist church, pastor of deceased, offered prayer over the remains.Then the pallbearers, consisting of J. P. Conner, T. J. Garrison, Chas. Tabor, Chas. Bullock, P. E. C. Lally, Sears McHenry, O. McCriswell and Lew McClellan took up the beautiful casket containing the remains for the march to the church.These pallbearers were followed and escorted on either side of the casket by sixteen honorary pallbearers, close friends of deceased, and leading the procession they marched to the Methodist church.
The church was well packed with people before the procession of pall bearers and mourners arrived, and when these had all been seated every aisle and gallery was crowded for the services which followed, while as many more people could not get inside at all.Several of the local pastors besides Rev. Allen of Manilla occupied the platform and assisted in the service under the direction of Rev. Harris.
The remains in the casket were covered with flowers from head to foot, and the casket was a bank of nature’s rarest gems, as the deceased had all her life cultivated and lived with them.So many beautiful tokens and such a mass of blooming fragrance was never seen here before, and certainly the spirit in heaven looked down to see the beauty of this testimony of affection.
Rev. D. A. Allen of Manilla read the scripture lesson from a portion of the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians.This was followed by prayer, eloquent and sympathetic, by Rev. A. G. Martyn.Music for the occasion was furnished by the excellent regular church choir.Rev. Harris read an obituary and biography of the deceased, as prepared by her father, and then added an eulogy in which he brought out the many good qualities of Mrs. Romans, cited her in many kind acts and dwelt on the strength of her character and the extent of her abilities.It is well for anyone to live to deserve such a eulogy, and the sympathetic tears in the audience showed the genuine appreciation of it.
The march to the cemetery was taken up after three o’clock, and solemnly the long procession wound over the hills.The minister and the pall bearers preceded, followed by a large number of white gloved Knights of Pythias on foot ahead of and surrounding the hearse as a body guard, then the mourners and friends in more than a hundred carriages, making a procession which reached almost from the church to the grave.
At the grave the last sad rites were most beautiful and impressive.Loving hands had already lined the tomb with downy white and little knots of flowers were pinned all over the inside, making it look more like a bed of posies than a grave.A quartette rendered music and a short service by the Woman’s Relief Corps followed, then the closing prayer and the coffin was carefully lowered to its last resting place beneath the sod.The day’s sad duty was then done; no man could add no more fitting service or tribute to the departed, and all returned to the city.
With them returned only the memory of Mrs. Romans, but as time goes on that memory will live and grow with the years, which follow before another can take her place in the world.
History of Mrs. Romans.
The following is part of the particulars of her life read by the pastor at the funeral:
Mrs. Mary E. Laub-Romans was born in Frederick county, Maryland, April 9th 1851, and was, as will be seen, still in the prime of her life when cut down.She was the second child of Henry C. Laub and Lydia Baer—her now deceased mother.
With her mother and older sister, Miss Alice H. Laub (now Mrs. J. D. Ainsworth) she came to Muscatine, Iowa, June, 1852, the father having preceded them in November, 1851.In December 1853, her parents moved to Crawford County, where she has lived till her demise.Her education was obtained in the common schools of Denison, with the exception of one year in the State University at Iowa City, at which place she first met Mr. J. B. Romans, to whom she was married April 23rd 1870, by the Rev. B. Shin of the Methodist Episcopal church.
She was the mother of four children, one son, who died when four years old, and three daughters, viz:Dollie Lydia, now Mrs. Joseph Bradley, Ione and Junia.Her private life was without a stain.From girlhood hers was a career of religious fervor.Her faith was implicit and sublime.She knew her God as surely as she knew the tranquil beauty of the stars, or of the meridian splendor of the sun.No lingering doubts disturbed her belief in the divinity of Jesus, the Savior, and a future state of general bliss.Death was to her a gateway to an eternity of purity, serenity and joy.The work of the church was to her a labor of love.
Her home was to her the one spot of supreme felicity, typical of that higher home and more numerous family to which she has been summoned.Her great heart was entirely consecrated to her family.Her affection for husband and children was as sweet and pure as a mother’s kiss.Hers was the home of confidence and contentment.No vision of glory could dim the lustre of her fireside, no ambition dull the calm delights of her hearthstone.It was the abiding place of all the domestic virtues.
She was a steadily and even rapidly growing woman.Each succeeding effort surpassed the last.In her were possibilities that pointed to the best and proudest results of womanhood.She relied upon hard work rather than genius.Her definition of ability was intelligent industry.Her early death must be considered a great calamity.
The principles she so ardently espoused and maintained have sustained a grievous loss.The vigorous and stalwart young city of Denison and the county she in part represented with so much honor and fidelity to the several congresses of women, bows under the burden of her great bereavement.Her life was one of ceaseless activity, conscious of the power with which she was endowed; she regarded it as a trust held in use for others.
Death came where the heart beat high, when ambition was on the wing, when coming years were glowing with brightness but it brought peace and tranquility to a busy restless soul, and changed duty of earth to her sister woman, to other and higher duties in realms above.Death claimed her at the very threshold of a promising career. At the moment when she seemed best prepared for wider usefulness. But she is gone, she is not longer among us; called by a wise Providence but to pay one last tribute, to give our heart offerings to one in life we loved and honored, and though removed from these scenes forever, leaves behind naught but memories most pleasing and reflections most instructive, and the record of a life, the study of which cannot fail to make us who remain a better, a wiser and more faithful people.
Continued on opposite side,
(Note:corner is torn, not all words legible)
…. the members…. pause and send a….sympathy to the widowed husband…and orphaned children, bereaved father, brothers and sisters who are stricken by an incurable grief.The place that was hallowed by a mother’s and a wife’s presence is silent and sad, and that broken and bereaved family in agonizing tears, stand by a fresh made grave.But the weary body lies where no storm can disturb it.The wrecked bark rides at anchor without a disturbing wave.
No writer can do justice to the memory of Mrs. Romans.A woman of strong character, ambition, spirit and independence, she was yet always thinking of good to others, and her heart was filled with a love for her family and friends far deeper than that of a less pronounced character.She seemed born to lead, not to follow, and by force of character alone she advanced to the front, be it in her devotions at church, in her home, at entertainments for the public good or in the line of W.R.C. or W.C.T.U. work.It was always her mind that planned and her skill and purse that were lent to beautify and decorate, to help solace and comfort, to inspire and encourage.
But it was in her generous, charitable nature that the spirit of Mrs. Romans best shone out.Where there was sickness there were flowers, or delicacies, or utilities for comfort, or something of the kind always coming quickly and properly by her command.Where there were poor, there were favors bestowed to make the good days of the year seem blessed to them.Like a guardian angel day after day and week after week she has seen that some poor mother or child and even whole families were comforted.Suffering anywhere aroused her sympathy and sympathy always aroused her to action, always without the public knowledge, and often without those who received knowing from whence the comforts came.
The last act performed by her before the terrible accident was that of ministering to a sick girl, and then of sending at her own expense to the city for a trained nurse to come and take charge of the case.From that bedside she went home to her awful fate never dreaming that it was she more than the girl who would need that nurse.To enable her to do good she studied medicine and the art of healing for twelve years, and has frequently made trips fraught with hardship to help a suffering friend.
From these charitable traits, as well as from many other noble qualities, and a long life in this community Mrs. Romans was the best known woman in this county or in this part of Iowa.Her acquaintances also spread over the state and even over the nation.Her work in Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, in the Woman’s Relief Corps of the G.A.R. and in the equal suffrage movement, of which she was one of the foremost, brought her into contact with people everywhere.Her voice has been heard in many notable assemblies, and her face was familiar among the women who have exerted influence and power upon legislature and congress.A life of such energy and action cannot soon be forgotten and will never cease to be mourned.
The Floral Tributes.
The floral offerings at the funeral of Mrs. Romans were so grand and numerous as to cause expressions of admiration and wonder.A partial list of the floral contributions is as follows:
Square and compass, by Masons.
Large wreath of roses, by democratic state committee.
Floral harp, by Mr. Sibbert and employees of firm.
Star and crescent, Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society.
Large wheel and pillow and cut flowers from members of family.
White carnations from Mr. Romans’ Sunday school class.
Star within a wheel, emblem of the office of Worthy Matron held by deceased in the Order of the Eastern Star.
Anchor, by Hagenow & Kott.
Large jardinière American Beauties, T. J. Garrison and family.
Large bouquet of roses, Mrs. and Mrs. Jno. Michaelson of Council Bluffs.
Bouquet of roses and ferns, Episcopal Guild.
Large bush of 150 American Beauty roses, by Wilcox, florist, of Council Bluffs.
Bunch roses, E. A. and Lewis Romans and wives.
Bunch carnations, W.C.T.U.
Emblematic piece, Knights of Pythias.
Roses and carnations, Mrs. Eaton, of Manchester.
Large wreath, Mr. And Mrs. Kuehle.
Red carnations, W.R.C.
Bouquet Easter lilies, Mrs. McClellan.
Great quantities of cut flowers, from numerous friends.
Numerous telegrams of condolences were received by the family, among them being the following:
From J. B. Barnett, Gov. L. M. Shaw, F. M. Barron, G. A. Huffman, Mrs. J. W. Hardy, all of Des Moines; Judge and Mrs. A. VanWagenen, Sioux City; Laura A. Gregg, Omaha; Isaac Jones, DeWitt; Chas. Lawson, Chicago; Hibbert, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., Chicago.
Visitors from outside the city were present at the funeral in large numbers, among them being the following:
Mrs. Addie Weir of Chicago, a very intimate friend; Mrs. C. K. Dixon of Cherokee, wife of Supt. Dixon of the Illinois Central; Mrs. Jessie Patterson of Dunlap; Mrs. Annie Diffenbacker of Los Angeles; Clara Welsh, Hans Suhr, Hon. J. F. Grote, West Side; Mrs. Ruth Morian, Dunlap; Eddie Jones, DeWitt; Lewis Romans and wife and A. P. Knight and wife, Charter Oak; E. R. Woodring, Carroll; Senator Bolton, Editor Ferguson, Mr. Sterns and Mrs. Arthur, Logan; Mrs. Alma Graves, Dow City; Wm. and Robt. Theobold and wives, G. D. Brokaw, D. W. Shaw and Rev. Allen, Manilla; Mrs. Gov. Shaw, Des Moines; Mrs. J. D. Ainsworth and son, Onawa; Eli Laub, Washta; Bub Keane and Thos. Ratchford and wives, Vail.Mrs. Lou Bradley and Miss Bradley of Cleveland, Ohio.