Dec 12, 1995
On a visit to the cemetery of the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, St. Augustine, Florida,
I found a tombstone with the following inscription:
In pious memory of
Beloved wife of
Died at Villa Zorayda
May 6, 1889
Aged 26 years
A native of Ireland
Requiescant in pace
ME Kelly 697 Bdwy, New York
This was interesting. To my knowledge, no Reiff name had previously surfaced in
Florida during that time period. Furthermore, given the religious prejudices of those
times, the fact that Johanna was a native of Ireland and obviously a Roman Catholic,
whereas the Reiff family is of Germanic extraction and, in most cases either Mennonite
or Church of the Brethren, aroused my curiosity and desire to find out as much of her
story as possible. I had little hope of finding the ME Kelly of New York, who apparently
had the stone placed.
A letter to the parish and another to the historical society of St. Augustine brought back
replies that there was no record of her. Villa Zoraya does exist, as a hotel or something.
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