As I read through my great grandfather Jacob’s letters I felt his anguish over his mother’s death and his desire for her to have a proper tombstone.

October 1896
St. Catherine, MO

…Oh! I would be so glad to see you all once more but it is impossible at present. It makes me feel so sad that once we all was sitting around that old fireside with Mother and Father but no more can we. Oh, where is she to night. I hope that she is in Heaven. If I thought she was not how it would grieve me. But such a good Mother was she I did not realize it until I left home. You may find good women and girls and may treat you as good as they can but still not as a mother. Has Papa put up any monument or tombstone at her grave yet, if he has not, tell him about her hoeing core and doing the work of a man all the time she was with him and ask him if he don’t think she deserves a nice tombstone for her goodness as a wife and a mother. If he wont buy one (but I think he will). I will help to buy one I will send $5.00 or 10.00 Dollars according to my part and us children will buy one I feel it our duty think of this and tell the rest of them. You have not sent me that money that James Greyham ____ t___ me ___ ___ if you can. Tell Thomas and the other children to write and learn to write good is the children going to school see that they get and have books suitable hoping those few lines will you all as it leaves me. Well goodby.

J.W. Lineberry

Click here to read Jacob’s complete, handwritten letter.

Until today I only had notes from researchers (including my great uncle Leonard) saying no one knew where Jacob’s mother, Rhoda, was buried.  A distance cousin sent me a photo of a headstone, which is located in the Alex Lineberry Cemetery at Hebron, Virginia, that is believed to be Jacob’s mother’s. Of course, when I saw it I instantly thought of her son’s desire to contribute to get her a ‘nice tombstone’.  Then I noticed the dates on the headstone.

The birth and death dates do not match other information I’ve found although the full name is correct: Rhoda Lineberry nee Harmon.  I believe the 1850 census has the accurate birth year and it matches the headstone.  Here is a listing of the various birth years I’ve found for her:

  • In the 1850 census she was listed as 6 years old, which would place her birth 1843 or 44.  (She had younger siblings who were 4 and 2).
  • On her marriage certificate she indicated she was 21 in 1867, which places her birth year in 1846.
  • In 1870 census she was listed as 24 and then in the 1880 as 34, which would make her birth in 1846.
  • The Carroll County Death Register indicates she was 48 when she died making her birth 1848.

Then regarding the death date, the Carroll County Death Register lists Rhoda’s death as January 31, 1896 and since Jacob’s letter is dated October 1896 it makes sense that she died that year not two years earlier as is on the headstone in this photo.  Also, I have letters from Jacob dated 1894-1895 with no mention of his mother’s death so I believe she died in 1896 but that does not match this headstone.

The Alex Lineberry Cemetery has Rhoda’s husband and several of their children buried there so it seems logical that Rhoda would be buried there too.

Is this my great, great grandmother’s headstone with the wrong death date or is this for a different Rhoda Harmon Lineberry?

I acquired this photo from a distant cousin, Tom Lineberry, who took it and others this past fall of headstones of our ancestors buried in the Alex Lineberry Cemetery in Hebron, Virginia.  Tom says there are 49 graves in this cemetery, 19 of which are Lineberrys.  There are several small stones that just have a name but no dates.  To get to this well kept family cemetery you take #735, which does not show up on some maps, and after you leave the main road you go about 2 miles through a field and walk the last 100 yards.   Tom also indicated that the remains of my great, great grandfather George Lineberry’s (Rhoda’s husband) house are there.  I sure would love to see that.

Thank you very, very much Tom!

Update:  I asked Tom if George’s second wife, Amanda, was buried in this same cemetery.  Interestingly, the cemetery indexes indicate that Amanda is buried beside George but in actuality it is only Rhoda’s headstone that is next to George’s.  Additionally, there is a question on whether the current owner of the Harmon Museum in Woodlawn, Virginia purchased Rhoda’s headstone.  Tom will continue asking questions.