Sunday, May 14, 2017

Loyal to the end

I recently took a trip up to Rock Island and with the help of fellow photographer Sean Flynn explored the Chippiannock cemetery. Chippiannock which is a native american term which means 'Place of the Dead' was founded in 1854 and consists of 62 acres of rolling hills and grasslands. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 it is the resting place of soldiers, civil war generals, prominent politicians and business leaders and so much more.

But today I'd like to tell you about the children of Otis and Harriet Dimick.  In 1878 diseases which are easily controlled today were rampant thruout the world and in the fall of that year diphtheria was raging like a wildfire through the city of Rock Island.  Tragically brother and sister Eddie and Josie Dimick contracted the disease. According to local accounts at the time they went to school on Thursday, got sick on Friday, and died the following Tuesday night.

For two years afterwards the grief stricken parents would visit the grave accompanied by the family dog which had been devoted to the children.  But eventually time passed, wounds started to heal and the family moved on. The dog, however, could not. For the rest of its life the family dog would walk the two miles by itself to the cemetery and lay next to the children's grave from dawn to dusk. So devoted to their memory was he that when the dog died the family asked for permission to bury him next to the children but the cemetery board refused.

So the family did the next best thing. They commissioned a Chicago artist to create a life sized statue of the canine, lying down with it's head resting on its paws and had it placed at the feet of the children's grave, forever guarding and protecting them in death as it had sought to do so in life.  It's a quiet, peaceful spot in the cemetery and if you ever have a chance to drive up there stop for a moment and pay homage to the ultimate expression of Man's best friend.  Many thanks to Sean Flynn for contributing some of his photo's for today's post.

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