Thursday, December 28, 2023

Red Moon, Miss Lucy Carter of Shirley, and Westover Churchyard

Earlier this month I noticed the gravestone of Reuben Hardy in Westover Churchyard. A quick search helped me find his death certificate and from there, I learned that he was a schoolboy living in Charles City, who was listed as an (American) Indian who had died of tuberculosis. He was originally from Utah. His father was James Hardy from Colorado and his mother’s maiden name was Teyuaruty. She was from Utah. 

The top of his gravestone reads "Red Moon," and the image appears to be a tipi. I had not seen this before so I posted the image on social media to see if anyone knew. No leads. 

From my initial searches, I found that there was a play called The Red Moon in 1908-1910, which "introduced audiences to African American and Native American solidarity"(Paula Seniors, “Beyond Lift Every Voice and Sing”). That made some sense for the area and the dates. I wondered if Reuben was in the play. 

Tonight, I took a deeper dive in research. In the US Indian Census Rolls for the Census of Uintah (June 30, 1913 and June 30, 1918), Reuban was listed as an orphan by the age 9. He was just 16 years old when he died. I was not expecting to find much more but then the informant listed on the death certificate caught my eye-- Miss Lucy Carter of Shirley, the daughter of Robert Hill Carter of Shirley Plantation, who would marry Edmund Fanning Wickham. She is most likely the reason that I found so much information on Reuban Hardy, including a death announcement in The Myton Free Press (Myton, Utah, 11 Jul 1918, page 5) which answered so many of my questions. 

The Myton Free Press (Myton, Utah, 11 Jul 1918, page 5) 

Reuben Hardy was Red Moon, which he kept as his Indian name. He was born on February 16, 1902 and was adopted by Lucy Carter when he was just a day old. She had been a missionary to his tribe, the Ute Indians of the Uintah and Ouray reservation which was located in Northeastern Utah. 

At 8-months old, Lucy Carter brought Red Moon to her home “High Hills” near Shirley. Red Moon appears to have traveled back and forth from Virginia to Utah but at the age of fourteen, his health declined. He was treated “going for some weeks to a hospital for the best medical care.” 

Red Moon was confirmed by the bishop before he died on Sunday, June 23, 1918. The next day, at three o’clock in the afternoon, he was buried in Westover Churchyard.  

Westover Parish was established in 1613. Around 1730, the present Westover Church building was completed. After the Revolutionary War and the disestablishment of the Church in 1784, there was prejudice against Anglicans who were considered English loyalists. Clergy fled for their safety, and congregations were confiscated or abandoned. Church services were revived in the 1830s but then the church was again desecrated during the Civil War by Federal troops who used the building as a stable. They even removed the gravestones in the cemetery to use as "tent floors." Meandering through the churchyard, you will not find any pre-Civil War gravestones today because of this. The church was again restored in 1867 and has been in use ever since (“History,” Westover Episcopal Church). 

Five American Presidents have attended church services at Westover, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Theodore Roosevelt.  

Other than Red Moon's grave marker, what struck me most about this cemetery were the epitaphs. There were so many lovely sayings. And then there was this epitaph that focused on family. I mean, no pressure, right!