She was an optimist

IMG_2068On our road trip to Bloomington Indiana this summer (ultimately to attend a wedding), I discovered this tombstone in a small cemetery, Dunn Cemetery, between the student union and the small Beck Chapel on the campus of Indiana University. It seemed so very odd that smack in the middle of the campus was this 197 year old cemetery with some pretty worn, tilting, moss-covered, barely readable stones. Except for a few. The one pictured above belongs to Doris Marie Seward, who, as is noted, died in 1999. She was convinced she would live into the 21st century so had her stone engraved with a “2” and a “0.” She missed the 21st century by only two months.

The Dunn family farm and its family cemetery was sold to the University after the university burned down in 1883, that is, all was sold except for the family graveyard which legally the University cannot touch. George Dunn, son of the original Dunns who owned the land, made sure the deed was air-tight and the university has honored it, though it has grown all around it. Doris Marie Seward is related to one of three sisters, known as the three revolutionary war heroines—Elinor Dunn, Agnes Alexander, and Jennet Irwin, to whom the cemetery is dedicated and no one who is not related to these sisters (Brewster sisters) can be buried there. These three sisters  provided food and woolen clothing for the soldiers during the terrible winters of the revolutionary war. The cemetery commemorates their dedication and loyalty to Washington and his troops. Seward is related through Jennet Irwin’s line.

Doris Marie Seward graduated from IU in 1938 and went on to get her masters and her doctorate at Syracuse University. She was an education professor and a dean at several universities including Purdue University and Kentucky University, and served in a variety of educational organizations and in a number of different administrative roles. Quite a few achievements for a woman born in 1917. And she was an optimist. Indeed.

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