When I was researching for Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure back in the 1990s, I ventured out into many different cemeteries. It’s always a somber moment to locate the grave of a person, whether you knew them or not. The older tombstones often included a message, a poem, or a few heartfelt words revealing how much the person was loved or would be missed.
Winnie Mae Murphree is remembered for her heroic act, along with her sister Celia, in capturing Union soldiers in Alabama and turning them over to the Rebel army camped nearby. I wanted to find where she is buried, but when I did I also found that her husband, Asa Bynum had faced a terrible personal tragedy the year Winnie passed.
Winnie died from unknown causes on November 29, 1899. But two of their children also died around the same time. Maud had died a week before Winnie, on November 13 (or 18), 1899, at 16. Albert died December 3, 1899, at 20 years old. My heart still aches for poor Asa having lost three family members within a month.
I wonder what caused them all to die in such a short span. I can’t locate anything about an epidemic in Texas during that time. I found some mention of pneumonia and smallpox but not during the end of 1899. Could it have been an accident? Was Albert still living at home at the time? I don’t know. If anyone does know, please tell me. I’d love to find out what happened.
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