Mary Louisa Portis was just a week old when she died in 1853,
and many years later, her gravestone was stolen from the cemetery at Cahawba.
But last weekend, the stone came home after Good Samaritans found it
discarded in a cemetery in Montgomery, and the Cahawba Foundation
honored the return with a brief ceremony.
Cahawba Foundation member Anne Dalton donned a period mourning dress
to participate, and others sang, spoke, purchased the bouquet
and laid flowers on the grave.
Mary Louisa is buried next to her three-year-old sister, and their parents,
Thomas and Emma Portis, were teachers in the town near Selma that was Alabama's
first permanent state capital. Their father later became an attorney,
served in the War Between the States and eventually moved to St. Louis
where he represented Jay Gould's railroad interests and apparently
became vice president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Portis, Kansas was named in his honor.
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