Gypsy's grave found at Fairlawn
“MOURN THE LOSS OF GYPSY QUEEN NOMAD, HEAD OF BAND HERE, IS BURIED IN FAIRLAWN CEMETERY.”
It was just a small item on Page 5 of The Oklahoman, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1908, with a headline almost as big as the story.
Ellen Young, 69, was camping in Colcord Park near the river with her “band of nomadic Egyptians” when she died in a tent Friday, Jan. 31, 1908. Her funeral services were conducted the following Monday by the Rev. T.H. Harper of Pilgrim Congregational Church, and she was buried at Fairlawn. Fifty grief-stricken Gypsies attended her service.
The Oklahoman’s story read: “Mrs. Young had spent all her life travelling in covered wagons through Europe and America, telling fortunes, creating rugs, painting pictures, doing what she could to secure a living from a nomadic wandering life. Unlike her countrymen, she became a Christian, and she is of the strain of family which includes the renowned Congregational preacher, “Gypsy,” Smith, one of the greatest preachers of England.”
Can you imagine how cold it was living in a tent in January in Oklahoma?
From my research, I learned Gypsies more likely came from India, than Egypt, and many more of them were, and are, of the Christian faith than most people think.
Also, Rodney “Gypsy” Smith, born in 1860 in England and raised in a gypsy wagon, never attended school and was converted at the age of 16. He started preaching at 17, and during his evangelistic career that ended in 1947 with his death, he was as widely traveled and admired as Billy Graham is today.
Colcord Park, later renamed Delmar Gardens, was owned by Charles Colcord and consisted of 160 acres near Reno Avenue and Western close to the North Canadian River. Baseball was played in that area until the flood of 1923.
A trip to Fairlawn Cemetery and a check of the records located Young’s resting place, 103 years after her death.
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