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he unexpected and early death of a child is the most painful thing a mother can go through and it was not easy for the mother of Florence Irene Ford. This unfortunate child died from yellow fever on October 30, 1871, at the very young age of 10. The story of her Natchez City grave still touches the hearts of many, after all these years.

Florence was always around her mother, they were two souls that you could not separate. Florence used to run to her mother in fear during storms when she was a child for solace. Sadly, the girl’s time on Earth was not long enough for her to conquer her aversion to storms. Her mother was heartbroken by the suddenness of her death.

Florence’s mother made an unusual request in an effort to maintain the relationship with her daughter. She constructed a customized staircase behind the tombstone after deciding that her much-loved child deserved much more than a simple gravestone. One may stand at the same level as the buried coffin because the area was made to be deep enough for that.

A graphical representation of when Ellen was sitting next to her daughter’s grave (Source: Public Domain)

A specially manufactured glass pane was added to the child’s casket by the distraught mother so that the girl’s head could be seen from the outside. The mother erected metal doors on the staircase so that she would have her own shelter during the storms. She could then descend the special steps whenever there was a storm and console her deceased girl while gazing at her lifeless body through the glass.

The epitaph on the tombstone reads, “Sacred to the Memory of Florence Irene, Daughter of Washington & Ellen H Ford. As bright and affectionate a Daughter as ever, God with His Image blest.” Although not much about the grave has changed, the window that was initially built has been covered since the 1950s fearing potential vandalism.

This is one of a kind grave around the world and the first time someone’s grief had been so painful that they were pushed to what some would consider taboo.

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