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Anna Melick, age 12, Albany Rural Cemetery

I've had this painting for a while and never noticed on the back the pencil writing in the upper left hand corner. Tonight , after about an hour of trial and error, I was able to positively identify her. 

She was only 12 when she died. I thought she looked older. 

Her name is Anna Melick.  She and her parents lived in Albany, New York. Her father is James H. Melick and her mother is Ruth Ann Melick.  Anna was born 1 January 1858 and died 25 February 1870.  She is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery in Albany, New York.  Her (typed much later) death card says she died of "rheumatism," which I thought was odd for a 12 year old. I suspect the original hand written 1870 document read "rheu" and the 1920's typist misinterpreted the abbreviation.  It was probably rheumatic fever.

The back of the painting says  " Anna Melick Daughter of  James H.and Ruth A. Melick Died Feb 25th 1870 Aged 12 Buried in Albany Rural Cemetery "   This was fading and not easy to read, especially the last name. 

It's her eyes that are so enchanting. 

The 1860 census of Albany, New York lists James H. Melick age 28, wife Ruth Ann age 25, Maria Kelly age 17, Anna Melick age 3, and William Melick age 9/12.    The 1870 lists J. H. Melick age 40, Ruth age 39, Willie age 10, Ella age 9, and Lillie age 5.  (Anna has died earlier that year. ) Her cemetery death card says that although she died 25 Feb 1870 , she was not buried until 21 May 1870.  Was this because the ground in New York was frozen and people had to wait till spring to bury the dead? I've heard that story but being Southern in Alabama didn't know if it were true. She is in Lot 3 Section 34.  Her age on the card is 12 years, 1 month, 25 days which supports her birthday as 1 January 1858.  


  1. You amaze me at how you figure out who all of these people from yesteryear are! It's always nice to have some sort of evidence on the painting to go by. Wish you could find one of these great treasures of one of my ancestors! Take care!

  2. I would not have managed living back in the days when people lost their sweet children to the flu and fevers and childhood diseases etc. I would be crying all the time.
    My mom had a cousin die at age 12 from measles, she was a beautiful girl and I always remember seeing her picture at my Aunt's house.
    I think it's so interesting to find out all about your found painting.
    Only one thing wrong, You don't post often enough for me LOL carry on

  3. Ahhhh....what a beautiful painting...and, you are right...such captivating eyes. How tragic that she was so briefly in this world. If you ever think of parting with that painting, I would be very much interested. Like Gina, I would love to find a painting of one of my own relatives...but I do not believe that will be I'm always open to adoption. ;o) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

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  5. I'm sending Anna to the CrankyCrow so Anna will indeed have a new adopted home. From Alabama to Wisconsin. I know she will be happy there. Marshel ( BamaPlanter)

    1. Anna safely arrived today at her new home in Wisconsin.

  6. The artist who painted this portrait really did beautiful work, especially when he painted Anna's eyes. It's interesting to me how often artists in the past painted children as small adults.

    I like the way you took the time to research so much information about Anna.


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