June 7, 2019

"Bride of a Month" -- The Tragic Death of Emma Greenwald

Location: 501 S Queen St, Lancaster, PA 17603, USA
Gravestone of Emma Greenwald in Woodward Hill Cemetery
As you travel on the path that winds through Woodward Hill Cemetery, a particular phrase on a tombstone will likely stand out to you in the cemetery's easternmost section. One tombstone, which already catches the eye as it's a horizontal stone (is altar stone the correct term), is emblazoned with the words, "Bride of a Month." The mind might dart to a Wilkie Collins novel or Tim Burton film, but let's investigate the real story.

The gravestone marks the final resting place of Emma Greenwald. Behind her stone is that of her parents, Levinia and the Rev. Emanuel Greenwald, who served as Holy Trinity Lutheran Church's pastor from 1867 until 1885. Emma was born on October 25, 1852, which would be when her father was serving a Lutheran church and college in Columbus, Ohio. In a memorial volume written by the Rev. C. Elvin Haupt after Pastor Greenwald's death in 1885, Haupt described the roles of Emma and her sister, Ada, in the early years of Pastor Greenwald's pastorate in Lancaster:
During these years two faithful daughters had been the diligent aids of their father in the midst of his duties. Emma and Ada were wont to be seen accompanying their father, or taking prominent parts aiding the missionary operations, both at home and abroad. It seemed a peculiar delight for Emma to join her father in his visits to the needy, the sick or the missions; and, although it began to be very evident that her strength was failing, and that an insidious pulmonary trouble was more and more asserting itself, the nobility of the Christian womanhood that was in her could not be quenched. She had previously become the betrothed of Mr. B. Frank Saylor, well known and justly prominent as a photographer, of the city of Lancaster, and a very active member of the Church of the Holy Trinity. At her desire and knowing that her remaining days were but a few, the marriage of this beloved daughter occurred. It was not long after that those who watched about her saw with regret that the end was fast approaching. Emma Saylor died as the bride of a month. The joy of her parents, her sisters, her husband and hosts of loving friends, her life work was complete. Her tomb rests surrounded by those of many whom on earth she loved, and among the changing shadows of the beautiful Woodward Hill cemetery of the city of Lancaster. 
Cabinet Card by B. F. Saylor (vws)
The Rev. Emanuel Greenwald in center
A good guess for the cause of Emma's death based on the description would seem to be tuberculosis. To compound the tragedy, it would appear that Emma's niece, who was named after her, died a few months before Emma and only a couple of days after Emma's wedding.

Emma's husband, Benjamin Franklin Saylor, would remarry, and his second wife would help raise money for a memorial window dedicated to Pastor Greenwald at Christ Lutheran Church in the 1890s. In my collection -- an eBay find -- is a cabinet card by Frank Saylor of Pastor Greenwald and his various assistant pastors that is a collage photo of the portrait photographs that he took.

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