Emma Dye Savage
“Remember us, for we, too, have lived, loved and laughed.” So reads a plaque at a recently-refurbished state hospital cemetery in Massachusetts. How true!
Today, as descendants (Donna Hamlin, Loretta Twiford, Donna Hamlin and Sondra Kirk) place a wreath at the grave of Emma Dye Savage, let us remember her humanity and the contribution she made to our world. Born in 1862, Emma graduated from high school and become a teacher. In 1883, she married Henry Savage. When Donald Clifford, their first and only child, was only 10 months old, she was admitted to the Athens Lunatic Asylum at the age of 21. She had become depressed during pregnancy and following childbirth. Today, she would probably have been diagnosed with post-partem depression, prescribed anti-depressants, and continued to live a normal productive life.
In the 1880s, however, and well into the Twentieth Century, people admitted to a state mental hospital, if not discharged quickly, would often spend the rest of their lives as wards of the state. Families would quickly give up on their troubled relative and make no effort to obtain their release. Is that why Emma’s son Donald Clifford as an adult, is said to have made the comment that he wanted nothing to do with “those people in Akron” – meaning his father, a second woman, and their family?
How sad! But Emma Dye Savage is not to be forgotten. She had an impact on this world. Many children benefitted from her loving efforts as a teacher. And, according to great granddaughters Donna Hamlin, Sigrid McGriff, and Loretta Twiford, her blood has pulsed through the veins of around fifty descendent in five generations.
Thank you, Emma. We love you.