Burial traditions were uniform across the Arkansas Ozarks, except under unusual circumstances. The term “disenfranchised death,” usually denoting deaths society does not acknowledge (such as miscarriage), is used here to define deaths during epidemics, at poor farms and pest houses, from lynching, and in wartime when traditions were altered or abandoned. This chapter examines deaths during the Civil War and both World Wars, when families had no body to bury or, in the case of World War I’s Gold Star Mothers, ones that were officially acknowledged many years later. Also discussed is how executions paralleled conventional death customs in unusual ways.
Keywords: Disenfranchised Death, Poor Farms, Lynching, Executions, Gold Star Mothers