Anyone who had followed the Davis and Moore family returning in 1952 to Erwin, Tennessee, from Wallace and Lummie’s new retirement residence in Phoenix was joining in a somber gathering. True, it must have been difficult to have lost Wallace Moore in such an abrupt and tragic manner. But a return to the Davis family home town also accentuated the fact that there were more who had gone on before than there were still among the living.
For whatever reason the choice was made, Wallace Moore—and later, his wife, Lummie Davis Moore—planned to return to their roots at the time of their burial. They were buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Erwin, as were many of Lummie’s relatives.
When Lummie returned to Tennessee with the remains of her husband, she was no doubt joined by her daughter and son-in-law, Sarah Martha and Cyril J. McKinnon. Lummie’s next youngest sister, Mabel Martin, likely soon arrived by rail from New Jersey. And Jack Davis, their baby brother from Columbus, Ohio, would have been there too, along with his wife, Ruth.
Their youngest sister, Mary Chevis, would not have been with them, though. She had lost her life to cancer nearly ten years prior, having not even attained the age of fifty. Her husband, H. M. Chitwood, had preceded Chevis by nearly three decades.
And their mother, Martha Cassandra Boothe Davis, though long-lived herself (to eighty eight years of age), had passed away six years prior. Their father, William D. Davis, had been gone for over forty years.
Funerals serve that double reminder of those others who are no longer there to carry that newest loss in the family. I imagine, in the Evergreen Cemetery after Wallace Moore’s burial, family members wandered to spot headstones of those they remembered from times past—perhaps to mourn again and, thankfully, to reminisce.
Though I’ve found enough of a stash of remembrances about Lummie and her family in my aunt’s personal papers, there is nothing I can find on her sister Chevis, and not much more than a newspaper clipping regarding Mabel. Even so, I’d like to add to that limited stash from what I’ve been able to find through my own research. In the next few days, please join me as I review more railroad trivia, tales of workplace hazards turned tragic, missing children and glimpses of girlhood dreams of glamour. Each of these Davis siblings—and their stories—needs to be remembered, if only for a moment.