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Tuesday 25 March 2014

The Innocents

She represents all of them, all of the children who died in their youth. You know the ones, the babies, toddlers and children who didn't live because of diphtheria, meningitis, tuberculosis, influenza, prematurity, accident or a myriad of other reasons. The names you've seen under births and deaths. The children who didn't get to know their parents or if they did, it was all too briefly. The darlings whose graves are unmarked; their potential lost, their promise unfulfilled.

This sweet girl is Mabel Corbett, who died of diphtheria a month before her fifth birthday. She was the oldest child of Jennie (Pretty) and Clarence Corbett of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Unlike most of the other innocents, after Mabel died, there were items left behind that represented her. More importantly however, unlike many of the innocents, she had a headstone which her family placed in her memory. Her mother didn't have one,( she died six years after Mabel), but Mabel did. 

This information was provided by Betty Giddens Jennings:

Elizabeth Mabel Keller(n) Corbett

10 March 1892 – 2 February 1897


This was the infant, eldest daughter of Clarence and Jennie.  She died at age 4 years, 11 months from diphtheria.  


This portrait was given to my mother, Eva-Rose, from Anna (Ainslee) Keeler.  Anna’s mother, Rose, was Grammy’s (Hazel) stepsister.  Rose was Lucinda Corbett’s daughter, Clarence’s second wife.


It is a chalk/charcoal portrait.  The only signature on the picture is at the top written in pencil saying, Mrs. C. H. Corbett.  Could Jennie have been the artist?  It certainly runs in our family and I believe this is where it came from.

                    Cup with Mabel's initials

Thank you to Jennie's descendants, especially Betty Giddens Jennings, for all the information and pictures about Jennie and her family.

Now Hazel is with her family in this world as well.

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