Simmons, Albion R.
Age: 18, credited to Vermont
Unit(s): 2nd NH INF
Service: 2nd NH INF
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: abt 1844, Vermont
Burial: Cremains Scattered Gulf Stream, Gulf Stream, FL
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Findagrave Memorial #: 0
(There may be a Findagrave Memorial, but we have not recorded it)
Alias?: None noted
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: TN
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
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Cremains scattered in the Gulf Stream east of Biscayne Bay, FL
Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.
Body of Capt. Simmon Buried Without Ceremony in Gulf Stream
"Let There be no Solemn Ceremony," He Wrote, "But as Much Gaiety as Possible," in Letter of Instruction to Undertaker King
His sepulchre a grotto of the vaulted ocean, his requiem the plaint of the somber gulls, the sob of the sea the only lament that he wished for, all that was mortal of Capt. Albion R. Simmons was committed yesterday afternoon to the universal elements of the great Gulf Stream. It was his desire executed to the letter: not the fancy of a moment, not the whim of an excited mind, but the deliberate plan for the disposal of his body when life should leave it for commitment to its parent parts.
No more caprice would ever have been carried out with the precision that the marine burial of the veteran was. An evolutionist in faith and with expressed faith in his Maker, he desired that the simplest funeral be given him, that there should be no tears of sorrow, accepting death as inevitable; that there should be no prayers, his spirit having departed; that there should be naught of ceremony, its hollowness being ineffectual, that he might depart in the simplest of cerements and ceremonies, that his last artificial integuement should be a canvas sack and his funeral service only the spontaneous valedictory of his friends. So it was.
The impenetrable mystery that surrounds death having baffled all the sorceries of the human mind at solution, the inevitable vent of its own futility has been found only in the attempt to make the draperies of the veil more leaden; the mystery still more mysterious. The superstitious impulse to make much of the dead finds expression as truly the dead finds expression as truly in the midnight ceremonial of the Kadosh as in the incantations of the savage or the sutteeism of the Hindu. Hence the simple commitment of a lifeless body to the bottom of the deep is looked upon as odd because it is unusual. Very few burials like that of Capt. Simmons have ever witnessed. Many have been they whose bodies were heaved over the side of a ship in mid-ocean, when death took place at sea, but few landsmen have been taken from the earth and transferred to the trackless depths of the water.
The yacht Samoa, Capt. Chas. H. Thompson, left the Seminole dock at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon with the remains of Capt. Simmons reposing in a metallic casket on the bow of the vessel. The stars and stripes, under which he had fought as a member of a New York regiment, draped the casket, and gathered in the stern of the vessel were a number of his friends. The yacht with its inanimate burthern was steered to the middle of the Gulf Stream when the simple ceremony of commitment was performed. The body in its casing of canvas was lifted from the casket and guided silently overboard. The funeral party stood about uncovered. An old comrade, Capt. C. J. Rose, drew from his bosom an envelope containing a spring of plumosa, and slipping it beneath a strap of the webbing that bound the canvas shroud, said, "On behalf of the Grand Army of the Republic I give the dead a sprig of myrtle." The undertaker, unaccustomed to burials without service, could not suppress a word of commitment, and just before the canvas wrapped figure slipped to its last resting place, he said: "Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we now commit our brother to the water." That was all. The oblong bundle slipped into the darkling waves and two of the party fired the military salute of three guns with army rifles, and the mate of the vessel dipped the flag, which was flying at half mast, three times, and then ran it up to the top. Capt. Simmons died at the National Soldiers' Home at Johnson City, Tenn., May 29, and was buried there. He left Miami in March for the purpose of having an operation performed at the home. He was suffering from a wound in the leg received during the war. That he fully realized the seriousness of the operation was manifest. He left sealed instructions with the undertaker, H. M. King, as to the disposal of his body, and made allusion to this in his last will and testament, which he left sealed with Justice L. R. Railey, whom he appointed his executor. These letters were not opened until after the death and burial of Capt. Simmons. When his wishes were known there was no delay in setting about their execution. In addition to these calm and minute instructions committed to writing before he left Miami, there was an agreement between Capt. Simmons and his friend, Kirk Munroe, the author, of Cocoanut Grove, that such disposition should be made of his remains. The verbal agreement was made seventeen years ago, when Capt. Simmons was building his home at Cocoanut Grove. Each agreed with the other that the first to die should have the desire for an ocean burial carried out. Before the operation, Mr. Munroe had a letter from Capt. Simmons reminding him of the compact and renewing him of the compact and renewing the wish that it should be respected, and after the operation there was another letter from the afflicted veteran adverting to it. There was no doubt that he earnestly desired the disposal of his body to be just as it was. On the way to the scene of the novel burial, Justice Railey read that portion of the will which related to the final disposal of the body and Undertaker King read the letter which had been left in his keeping. This constituted the most formal part of the obsequities. The letter was as follows:
"In accordance with verbal instructions given you by me relating to the disposal of my body after death, I now put the same in writing, as I am about to go to the hospital for an operation for necrosis of the bone of legs and feet; the result is uncertain.
"I wish my body to be enclosed in canvas and tar, at the least expense possible, and buried in the gulf stream, west of Biscayne Bay. Music, if funds enough are on hand, and anything friends may wish to say. No formal funeral services or prayers, unless Dr. Feris should desire to do so if he is living. Let there be no solemn ceremony, but as much gaiety as possible.
"I have perfect confidence in my Maker. Death is inevitable; a part of the great mystery. As a believer in evolution, in my opinion it is best to go back to the elements which life springs."
The day was quite and the sea was calm. There was but one incident to interrupt the perfect peace and quite and serenity of the occasion; this was the passage of a Morgan liner just as the committal was taking place. The people on the steamer were evidently watching the proceedings on the yacht with keen interest, and some of them waved, evidently being unable to at that distance what the activity on the small vessel meant, inable at that distance to determine what the activity on the smaller vessel meant. (sic) The swell from the steamer struck the funeral yacht just as the body was being lowered to the water abd for a minute created an uncertain equilibrium for those aboard.
On the yacht were F. B. Stoneman, Capt. C. J. Rose, Arthur Keller, Capt. B. Ball, Capt. K. M. Large, Ernest Kingston, L. A. Railey, H. M. King, F. G. Bixler, Fred M. Hand, Jas. Pouch, Chas. Thompson, Kirk Munroe, T. W. Mather and J. H. Reese.
In his will Capt. Simmons bequeathed without reserve, all his belongings to his daughter, Mrs. Emery, of Manchester, N. H. His wife died some years ago and was cremated, the ashes being interred in New York at her former home.
The Miami News, Miami, FL, July 2, 1910
Submitted by Heidi McColgan