Wednesday’s Child: Bernadine Rees and the Black Iron Dog

Last year, I traveled to Virginia to do some family research in Goochland County, near Richmond. Since it was my first trip to Richmond, I wanted to take in some local historic sites. I spent a quiet rainy morning at Hollywood Cemetery — a 150-acre cemetery that is the final resting place of 5th USA President James Monroe, 10th USA President John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, and many other notable people.

One grave — that of Bernadine Rees — caught my eye because of the black iron dog that keeps an eternal watch over her grave. Bernadine was a child when she passed away from Scarlet Fever around 1862.

Wednesday’s Child: Bernadine Rees was a child when she passed away from Scarlett Fever around 1862.

There are several stories about why the statue of the dog was placed at her grave site. One story says that a 2-year-old Bernadine would  visit a merchant’s shop with her mother, where the dog statue was outside of the merchant’s business. Bernadine loved the dog statue and would pet and talk to the “dog” whenever she visited. When she passed away, the merchant offered to place the statue on the child’s grave, since she had loved it so when she had been alive. Another story is that the family moved the statue to the grave during the Civil War to keep it from being melted down for bullets.

Many people leave toys, such as this blue ball, at the gravesite.

Hollywood Cemetery was opened in  1849. It is a peaceful and hauntingly beautiful location on the James River in Richmond.

The iron statue of a Newfoundland keeps eternal watch over the grave of infant Bernadine Rees.

Read More About Hollywood Cemetery and the Black Iron Dog

About Wednesday’s Child

Maritime Monday is a daily blogging theme used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites. Find out more about daily themes at Geneabloggers.com.

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Comments

  1. How sad to lose a baby. Bernadine’s parents must have been very comforted to know that the iron dog would always keep watch, and their baby would never be alone. It’s a very touching story.

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  3. Thanks! It is an great website.

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