A Fruit Ripened for Eternity

This is the short obituary for Keziah Elliott Holden who died in Adams County, Illinois, in 1878. The last sentence struck me as slightly unusual, ending with she “passed away like a fruit fully ripened for eternity.” One just has to love obituaries with phrases like that.

Keziah’s son Daniel P. Holden’s step-daughter likely married Montivelli Harness, the adopted son of my ancestors James and Elizabeth Rampley, in the 1880s in Adams County, Illinois. Keziah and James Rampley were first cousins. The step-daughter likely died sometime between her marriage to Montivelli and Montivelli’s apparent re-marriage in Oklahoma in the early 1900s.

Keziah was born in Harford County, Maryland, in 1805 the daughter of Leonard and Jemima (Rampley) Elliot. James Rampley was born in Harford County, Maryland, in 1803 the son of Thomas and Christianna (DeMoss) Rampley. Jemima and Thomas were siblings. Both the Elliotts and Rampleys lived in Ohio before coming west to Illinois. Family tradition was that James was the “only one” of his family to come west to Illinois. That ended up being blatantly untrue–Keziah was only one of James’ Rampley cousins to end up in Adams County, Illinois, which was where James originally settled before moving a few miles north into Hancock County. Rampley family tradition is that James lived near Loraine in Adams County, but he left no records in that location.

The families were not near neighbors in Ohio, Butler and Coshocton Counties are some distance apart, but they were in Illinois. Their settlement near each other in Illinois does not seem coincidental.

But I got a chuckle out of Keziah’s obituary that ended “passed away like a fruit ripened for eternity.”


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