Mary Ella McGinnis
December 15, 1869
August 6, 1875
The likeness of Mary Ella McGinnis was created in the Victorian style of memorializing children in funerary statuary. The realism of the statue is remarkable–her curly hair cascades to her shoulders as she looks forward. Mary Ella is depicted in her finest clothing, the eyelet lace still visible in the bottom of her skirt. She is portrayed holding flowers in her apron with one hand and a single flower in her other hand. Because of the weathering of the soft marble, the kind of flower is not discernable. The act of placing the single flower on a grave is a common motif and expresses the transitory nature of life. The flower she holds in one hand is a floral metaphor for a young flower that did not have time to fully bloom on Earth, a poignant visual message coupled with the image of this young girl.
Mary Ella, who died of lung congestion at 5 and ½ years old, was the daughter of George and Josephine McGinnis. Her father, George, was a colonel, promoted to brigadier general, during the Civil War in the 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. According to Memories of the Past: A Tour of Historic Crown Hill Cemetery by Wayne L. Sanford, this Italian white-marble sculpture is the second statue completed for her grave. The first was reportedly created by the great sculptor Lorado Taft and rejected by the family.