Died – In this city at 10 o’clock Sunday evening, April 5, 1896, at the residence of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Witter, Minnie Dell Witter, aged 24 years 8 months and 29 days, of spinal meningitis. The death of Minnie was a surprise to all, as it was not generally known that she was seriously ill; in fact, those nearest and dearest did not realize that the black angel was so near till just a few hours before her spirit fled. She was born and raised in this city, and was well and favorably known, especially for her goodness of heart and gentleness of disposition. She was a member of the Baptist church of this city, in which she took active part in all the duties bequeathed her. Minnie had many friends, young and old, who will follow her lifeless form to the cemetery today and drop tears of love upon her grave. Eugene Morning Register, April 7, 1896, pg. 4, col. 1. University of Oregon Knight Library, Newspaper collection.
They just don’t write obituaries like this anymore, “…did not realize the black angel was so near till just a few hours before her spirit fled.” And “…who will follow her lifeless form to the cemetery today and drop tears of love upon her grave”. I can almost see the all her young friends walking behind the carriage as it carries her casket to its final resting place.
Masonic Cemetery records list the following Witter family members. Freddie born 1875 died 1876. Jahalan T. died 1915, Louisa Coyle Witter born 1842 and died 1901. Minnie D. died 1896, W. Frank born 1866 and died 1894 and finally an infant – no name recorded, born and died 1869.