Richmond, Virginia: The obituary of Marietta Lillian Chiles

This post originally appeared on African American Cemeteries of Richmond, Virginia

Ms. Marietta Lillian Chiles (ca. 1862-1921), Richmond Planet (n.d.)

Miss Marietta L. Chiles is dead. She passed away during the early morning hours of Saturday, April 16, 2:20 o’clock after a long and painful illness. She was one of the most influential women in the State. She was a veteran in the profession of teaching and she had a host of friends throughout the country. Every effort was made to prolong her life and the physicians held out hopes of her recovery up to the last moment. She was a teacher in Baker School, Grand Worthy Register of Deeds of the Grand Court of Virginia, Order of Calanthe, member of the Executive Board of the Pythian Calanthe Industrial Association and a most influential member of many other organizations.
A Remarkable Character
She was a tireless worker in her particular field of endeavor. Her funeral took place Tuesday, April 19th from the First Baptist Church. The rostrum was one mass of expensive floral offerings. Representatives of the Grand Court from all over the State were present and floral offerings came in by mail and express. The long list of testimonials were read. Grand Worthy Counsellor John Mitchell, Jr., directed that all charters  of the subordinate courts be draped for a period of one year and the same be done with the charter of the Grand Court.
Many Divines There
Rev. W. T. Johnson, D. D., pastor of the First Baptist Church had charge of the funeral services. On the rostrum with him were: Rev. A. A. Hector, Rev. T. J. King, D. D., President of the Va. Baptist State Convention, Rev. R. J. Bass, Rev. A. D. Daly, Rev. D. N. Vassar, D. D.; Rev. R. O. Johnson, D. D., lined the hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light.” The Scriptures were read by Rev. A. A. Hector. Prayer was offered by Rev. A. D. Daly. Madame Carrie Hawkins sang with charming melody, “Looking this Way.”
Rev. Dr. Johnson Officiated
Rev. W. T. Johnson, D. D., then took his text from 11 Corinthians, 5th Chapter; 1st verse. He paid a most touching tribute to the deceased and paid a glowing tribute to her and her many virtues. He commented upon the great loss this community had sustained and consoled with the thought that she was only sleeping and that we all would meet hereafter. A large number served as honorary pallbearers and even they were overladened with the floral offerings. Mr. Robert Coles sang with rich emphasis, “Sometime we’ll Understand.” Then the mournful cortege filed out to Woodland Cemetery, where the remains of Miss M. L. Chiles were interred in the “heart” of the cemetery, the Circle. This was the first interment in this particular part of the Cemetery.
At Woodland Cemetery
The various organizations then conducted their funeral rites. Those who came to attend the funeral exercises were the following:
Her brothers, Lawyer J. Alex Chiles of Lexington, Ky., and C. R. Chiles of Washington, D. C. Her sister, Mrs. Julia Jeter of Newport News, Va., and her children; Mrs. Lula Jeter Sears and daughter, Gladys, Messrs. Jas. and Julian Jeter. Her nephew, Mr. Robt. F. Brooks and family of Phoebus, Va. Mrs. Frank Banks of Hampton, Va., and Mrs. Chas. H. Gibson of Tuskegee Institute, Ala., who had been at her bedside since March 3rd.
List of Representatives

Mrs. Rowena White G. Ins., Lynchburg, Va.; Mrs. Lizzie B. Greene, G. W. O., Newport News, Va.; Mrs. P. M. D. Hodge, G. W. P., Danville, Va. Mrs. Florence L. Wilson, G. W. L., Danville, Va.; Mrs. Mollie G. Adams, G. W. Orator, Portsmouth, Va.; Mrs. Lizzie Archer, G. W. A. Con., Norfolk, Va.; Mrs. Fannie Coleman, D. D., So. Boston, Va., Miss Lucy Lockett, D. D. N., Danville, Va.; Mrs. Lucy Peters, D. D., Petersburg, Va.; Mrs. Cornelia Drew, D. D., Portsmouth, Va.; Mrs. Lillie D. Byrd, D. D., Newport News, Va.; Mrs. N. B. Callaham, Hot Springs, Va.; Mrs. Ada U. Gary, D. D. Franklin, Va.; Mrs. Mary N. Gay, Advis. B., Norfolk, Va.; Mrs. E. B. Brown, Advis. B., Covington, Va.; Mrs. Anna Seay, Evening Star No. 77, Blackstone, Va.; Mrs. Rosa Davis, West Point, Va.; Mrs. Lucy D. Robinson, West Point, Va.; Sir C. H. Clarke, West Point, Va.; Mrs. Fannie Ashe, Portsmouth, Va.; Mrs. Rachel Webb, Advis. B., Portsmouth, Va.; Mrs. Nannie Brown, Petersburg, Va.; Mrs. Adelaide Wilson, Petersburg, Va.; Mrs. Elizabeth Brown; Petersburg, Va.; Mrs. Elizabeth Wynne, Petersburg, Va.; Sir T. J. Pree, Newport News, Va.; and Sir J. E. Byrd, Newport News, Va.
Resolutions of Condolence
I deem not they are blest alone
Whose life a peaceful tenor keep;
The Power who pities man has
A blessing for the eyes that weep.
For God hath marked each sorrowing day,
And numbered every secret tear,
And heaven’s long age of bliss shall pay
For all His children suffer here.
The grim reaper, death, has entered the ranks of The Baker Group for the third time this year and borne away from us three teachers, who were held in high esteem. The last visit in removing Miss Marietta L. Chiles was sudden and unexpected. This caused an aching void which an outsider cannot realize.
Miss Marietta L. Chiles has had under her instruction hundreds—yea, thousands of children from our community who today are voicing praise of her sincere interest in their progress and general welfare.
There was no cause of uplift work for young and old that she failed to prove her hearty and honest co-operation. While we deeply mourn our irreparable loss, we dare not murmur—for our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us—hence we humbly bow to His will, Miss Marietta L. Chiles gave efficient service to her people in the City, State and County and thereby gave honest service To God, and Baker School, and the Community has lost one of the most brilliant co-workers.
Resolved: That we tender to the family our genuine sympathy for their loss, and commend that to that Friend of mankind – who sticketh closer than a brother,–and never will leave us, nor forsake us in time of distress.
Resolved: That we teachers of Baker School, embrace her virtues, and not a mark high in striving to do the best thing possible for the good of all. “She hath done what she could.”
Resolved: That a copy of these expressions be sent to her family, and a copy be sent to the family, and a copy sent to our weekly papers.
Baker School Faculty

The Richmond Planet, April 19, 1921
The gravestone of our ancestor, Cornelia Neverson Drew (1869-1922), D. D., I. O. Calanthe, Mt. Olive Cemetery (Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex), Portsmouth, Virginia. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, October 9, 2010.
A portion of the Woodland Cemetery map. Ms. Marietta Lillian Chiles is interred in Section W. Library of Virginia

Death the messenger from God entered the home of our Grand Register of Deeds, Miss Marietta L. Chiles on the 16th of April 1921 at her residence, 114 W. Leigh Street and carried away the soul of a grand and noble woman; and we the Officers and members of Olivette Court No. 88 I. O. C, do bow at the will of Him that doeth all things right. We extend to the family our heart felt sympathy and commend them to our heavenly Father, who is too good to be unkind to us.
We prayed that you might longer live,
But God, we know, knew best;
He took you, dear, away from us,
And placed you safe at rest.
Done by order of Olivette Court No. 88,
Priscilla Washington, W. C.
Sylvia Eggleston, Rec. of Accounts
Mildred Johnson, W. Leader

Richmond Planet, April 19, 1921

Resolutions of Respect
Whereas, Our Heavenly Father has called our beloved Grand Worthy Register of Deeds of the Grand Court of Virginia Order of Calanthe, Miss M. L. Chiles, from her faithful labors among us, we the officers and members of Verbena Court No. 61 I. O. of Calanthe offer the following resolutions:
First, that in the death of Miss M. L. Chiles we have lost a faithful advisor and friend.
Second,, that we recall with gratitude her kindness to us as Courts of Calanthe.
Third, that we extend to her family our sincere sympathy.
Fourth, that these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of Verbena Court No. 61 I. O. Calanthe and copies be sent to Miss M. L. Chile’s family and to The Planet.
Alease Jackson, W. C.
Rosa L. Holmes, Reg. Deeds.

Richmond Planet, April 19, 1921

Marietta Lillian Chiles passed away on April 16, 1921, from complications of chronic interstitial nephritis, and was interred in Woodland Cemetery on April 19, 1921, by W. I. Johnson and Sons. She was the daughter of Richard Chiles (b. ca. 1810) and Martha A. Morton Chiles (ca. 1830-1903), of Caroline County, Virginia. Richard and Martha Chiles are buried in Barton Heights Cemetery.

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