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Reunited at last

He was so very young — not yet 42 years old — leaving behind a wife and four children ranging in age from 14 down to seven.

She was quite old — only five months short of her 97th birthday. She had outlived her husband and three of her 12 children, and left behind grandchildren and great grandchildren by the score.

Two so very different people — and bound together by such ties.

Jasper Carlton Robertson was born 18 April 1871 in Honey Grove, Texas, and died 15 March 1912 in Hollister, Tillman County, Oklahoma.1 His obituary, in the Frederick newspaper read, in part:

Brother Robertson was a true man, in his business, in the church as well as in his home. He was loved by everybody and had no enemies. …

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what he did here.2

And here, thanks to my dear cousin Mary Ann Thurmond, is the only known photograph of Jasper:

Jasper Carlton Robertson, 18 April 1871 - 15 March 1912

Jasper Carlton Robertson, 18 April 1871 – 15 March 1912

Opal (Robertson) Cottrell was born 21 August 1898 in Eagle Lake, Texas, and died 15 March 1995 in Charlottesville, Virginia.3 Her obituary was nowhere near as colorful as Jasper’s but did manage to say that she was “fondly known as ‘Mama Clay,’” and was “the matriarch of the Cottrell family.”4

And here’s what she looked like around the time she was the age Jasper was when he died:

Opal (Robertson) Cottrell, 21 August 1898 - 15 March 1995

Opal (Robertson) Cottrell, 21 August 1898 – 15 March 1995

Jasper Carlton Robertson.

Opal (Robertson) Cottrell.

Both of whom died on the 15th of March, 83 years apart.

Father and daughter.

My great grandfather and my grandmother.

Reunited 83 years to the day after they were parted.


  1. Oklahoma State Board of Health, death certificate 3065 (1912), Jasper C. Robertson; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Oklahoma City. And see interview with Opal Robertson Cottrell (Kents Store, VA), by Bobette Richardson, 1980s; copy of notes privately held by the author. Opal Cottrell was the grandmother of Bobette Richardson and the author.
  2. “J.C. Robertson Passes Away,” Frederick (OK) Press, 22 Mar 1912.
  3. Virginia Department of Health, Certificate of Death, state file no. 95-011808, Opal Robertson Cottrell (1995); Division of Vital Records, Richmond.
  4. “Cottrell,” obituary, The Central Virginian, Louisa, Va., 17 Mar 1995.
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