Special to the Chicago Record
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., July 25. – Desolation describes the scene tonight at Walstein, within whose walls lies the body of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, agnostic. About his bier cling three women – his widow and his two daughters. To them the form on bier is all that is left of the father and husband. They have no hope for further union, no consolation in Christian faith, no solace in religion. The dreariness, the utter loneliness, has overpowered those whom the great infidel left to mourn him, and they have again refused to surrender to the incinerating urn the one tangible thing between them and the eternity of separation. Therefore the cremation of the body will not take place until some time Thursday – perhaps not then.
This in spite of the fact that the funeral was held this afternoon. It was the most solemn surrender of the dead. Strong men declared that nothing had ever appealed to them so strongly before for religion and Christianity as the utter desolation and hopelessness of that family of mourners. Not a note of consolation, not a soothing note of music, not a prayer for sympathy or help or mercy. It was all secular and brief.
Detail of the Services
Dr. J.L. Elliott, assistant of Prof. Felix Adler of New York, read the eulogy pronounced by Col. Ingersoll some years ago over the body of his own brother. Then Maj. Orlando B. Smith, an old friend of Ingersoll, read the great freethinker’s famous declaration of his religion.
Prof. John Clark Ridpath, one of the oldest friends of Mr. Ingersoll, read his latest poem, “The Declaration of the Free.”
When these words had been read, in the front room of the second floor of Walstein, where Col. Ingersoll died, the service was at an end. No casket or coffin held the well-known figure. It rested on a couch and was covered to the chin with pure white. The face was exposed and the features appeared as in life. On the breast lay a large red Tose and around the head upon the pillow was a border of fragrant sweet peas.
Family Appears In Mourning
Mrs. Ingersoll and the daughters appeared for the first time in black. Among those who were present outside of the family were:
Oswald Villard, Mr. Bagby, Mr. Hazeltine, Gen. Samuel Thomas, Robert H. Griffin, Col. Ingersoll’s former law partner; Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Tennel and Mrs. Sterling of Peoria.
Telegram and letters still pour in, and today messages were received from Gen. Miles, Senator Burrows of Michigan and Senator Clark of Montana. Visitors came in great numbers.
The cremation, when it takes place, will be private.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 8, p. 233
April 20, 1989