08 April 2013

Paging Dr. Marvin

Truth be told, I don't know where to start on this one. I first stumbled upon this odd story many years ago, and just recently found some more information that made it even more tantalizing.

Dr. George W. Marvin, who according to census records was born about 1835 in England, was a well known individual in the communities in which he lived. For this post, we are speaking of the Georgia cities of Atlanta and Cordele. The good doctor had money, and apparently loved to let his neighbors know it. A newspaper article (from Atlanta, Georgia's The Constitution, 2 October 1892, transcription published in its entirety here) described him this way:
...On the streets he was a well-known character, and when once seen never forgotten...

...He was a gentleman of scrupulous neatness and apparently gave much time to his toilet. His clothing was always of the latest style and more than ordinary taste was displayed in his selections. He was not above the average size, but the immense side whiskers and heavy, drooping mustache he wore gave him something of a distinguished look. He seemed to pride himself on his personal appearance and would shun a speck of flying dust as quickly as he would dodge a mud-bedaubed buggy wheel casting off its load.

Dr. Marvin was not only partial to neat clothing, but he was especially fond of handsome jewelry. He wore a magnificent cluster of diamonds on his short front while an extra inlet was made in the linen to accommodate the fourth large diamond stud. His fingers were bedecked with the same shining stones and it was the boast of the doctor that he wore a limited fortune around with him -- a fortune any pawnbroker would gladly gather.
Dr. Marvin died in Cordele, Dooly County (present day Crisp county), Georgia the summer of 1892. But! He was not buried until January 1894. So where was he for those 16 or so months? Read on for the short version.

10 January 1894
The Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
His Widow Will Have the Embalmed Body Interred at Macon

Macon, Ga., January 9 -- (Special) -- The remains of the late Dr. George Marvin will be brought to Macon from Cordele on Friday and buried in Rose Hill cemetery. It will be remembered that Dr. Marvin moved to Cordele from Atlanta a few years ago. He was quite wealthy and was president of the Cordele bank. He died about a year ago and left a beautiful widow and a large fortune. For a time the widow was unconsolable with grief. She had the remains of her husband embalmed twice, once by Undertaker Keating, of Macon, and then by a New Orleans undertaker. The body was placed in a glass casket. It was first buried but Mrs. Marvin afterwards had the remains disinterred and placed in a room in her house, where the body has remained for several months and until the present day. Recently Mrs. Marvin married Cashier Bivins, of her dead husband's former bank. He has been her financial adviser since the death of Dr. Marvin. Mr. and Mrs. Bivins are now in Florida on a bridal tour. A brother of Cashier Bivins came to Macon a few days ago and purchased a lot in the cemetery in which to bury the body of Dr. Marvin.
Yes, you read that right. Dr. Marvin -- whose corpse spent several months in his widow's home -- was to be buried in Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery. And supposedly the plan was followed through to completion:

13 January 1894
The Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
Newsy Notes.
The remains of Dr. George Marvin arrived this morning from Cordele and were interred at 7:30 o'clock in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Unfortunately, I have no clue where within the cemetery he was buried. To my knowledge, there is no official record, nor is there any grave marker. I wonder, where exactly is Dr. Marvin?

If you're into lurid tales, stay tuned. I have more to tell about the late doctor. >>> He Came Out of the West (Paging Dr. Marvin, Pt 2)

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