Tombstone Tuesday: Sophia Utton

Sophia Utton gravesite, Acacia Park Cemetery, Chicago, Cook, IL © Terri O’Connell 2010

Sophia Utton was born Sophia Springer in March of 1883 to Alexander Springer  (known as Hilaire Fontaine, before 1880) and Mary Cote (known as Marie Cote prior to 1880). Sophia was one of seven children.

Sophia married Leroy Utton of Vermont around 1901 according to the 1910 census, at this point they had already moved to Chicago, Cook Co., IL. Where they remained. Sophia and Leroy owned and ran a small grocery store in the city of Chicago.

According to the stories I have recently heard, Sophia was a kind woman with a heart of gold. She gave jobs to family members who needed them, a place to sleep to those who did not have one and money to family members who really needed it.  Sophia died in 1955, I am still searching for an obituary or anything in SSDI.

This is the earliest of my family, on this side, to be in Chicago. I wonder if they were the driving force for the family to move this way, little by little.

Last Wednesday, I went to the cemetery to photograph the headstone of Sophia and Leroy at Acacia Park Cemetery. I went into the office to find out exactly where they are located. All I knew was in the mausoleum. They ladies informed that they are located in the “old” section (I did not really think of the 1950’s as old) and it was not accessible to the general public, only immediate family members are allowed in this section. They wanted to know how I was related, so I advised them she was my second great-aunt. They were not to impressed by this and said that was not immediate family. But, they would allow me to go up there. It seems that the steps to the third floor of the mausoleum collapsed years before and they have not been fixed, the only way up is by elevator. They asked an employee, Angel to take me up there. Angel met me at the mausoleum and we walked through the first floor, which was the most beautiful mausoleum I have ever seen. In the “old” section on the first floor, it was all marble with many roman columns and stained glass windows. It was absolutely gorgeous. If I was alone, I probably would have taken many pictures there. Once Angel and I made it to the third floor of the old section, I was glad to have someone with me. We exited the elevator and stood in a room about 10′ long and 5′ wide. Could be spooky if I was alone.

Thanks to Angel and the staff at Acacia Park, for permitting me into the “old” section of the mausoleum.



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