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The first sight of a certain young woman caused him to fall in love. He says the love was mutual and after a courtship of three weeks they were married. The girl’s mother told Charles that she had always been very frail, but he did not know that she had consumption. Within three days after they were married she died and her death caused much grief for Charles.

He was reluctant to bury her and wanted to continue to stand and look at her face. A white doctor and a school teacher whose names he does not remember, told him to put his wife’s body in alcohol to preserve it and he could look at it all the time. At that time white people who had plenty of money and wanted to see the faces of their deceased used this method.

A glass casket was used and the dressed body of the deceased was placed in alcohol inside the casket. Another casket made of wood held the glass casket and the whole was placed in a vault made of stone or brick. The walls of the vault were left about four feet above the ground and a window and ledge were placed in front, so when the casket was placed inside of the vault the bereaved could lean upon the ledge and look in at the face of the deceased. The wooden casket was provided with a glass top part of the way so that the face could easily be seen.

Although the process of preserving the body in alcohol cost $160, Charles did not regret the expense saying, “I had plenty of money at that time.”

http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/docs/s/slave/slave11.htm

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