The Unmarked Grave of Florence Small – An Exciting Update from the true crime book, “Perfection To A Fault.”

The Unmarked Grave of Florence Small – An Exciting Update from the true crime book, “Perfection To A Fault.”

On July 28, 2016, I wrote a blog post to voice my concern that Florence Arlene Curry Small was, after the 100th anniversary of her tragic murder, incredibly still lying in a grave that was virtually unmarked. In 2007, at the urging of the Ossipee Historical Society’s Natalie Peterson, the town of Ossipee funded a grave marker that was engraved with Florence’s three initials, F A S, and the dates of her birth and death. A dedication ceremony was held on September 28, 2007, the anniversary of Florence’s murder, at dusk. While this marker was a much needed improvement to Florence’s memory, I still hadn’t given up on trying to fund a true memorial headstone for Florence. If a person visiting the Grant Hill Cemetery in Ossipee was searching for Florence Small’s grave, he or she would have had real difficulty finding the grave containing the half casket bought by Frederick Small after the discovery of his wife’s half-burned remains in the cellar of their smoldering cottage. The flat marker with the initial’s F A S was more often than not, covered with pine needles from a nearby tree, and completely covered by leaves in the fall.

In all the years since I wrote Perfection To A Fault, I’ve never given up the desire to give Florence a headstone that fully revealed her identity. In the years following the dedication ceremony in 2007, I completed a second printing of Perfection To A Fault, to include some photos that readers often asked for in reviews of the book. The reach of an independent publisher is sadly much shorter than we’d like, and even with this added effort, including the creation of a “featurette” video to allow people to remotely get a feel for the town of Ossipee and some of the important locations of the story, we hadn’t yet reached the level of popularity for which we were hoping. Last fall, I enlisted the services of Sarah Eileen Phelan, an accomplished audiobook narrator, to record an audio version of Perfection To A Fault. This helped to widen the audience of this intriguing mystery. She did a wonderful job bringing this story to life for people commuting to work, or possibly looking for an engaging tale to listen to while mowing the lawn.

In 2016, I concluded my blog post with the following: “Only time will tell whether Florence will ever get the headstone she deserves. But I firmly believe that, if you dream it, it will come. So hang in there Florence, I still see a headstone in your future.” 

I’m so happy to report that on August 30, 2023, as we approach the 107th anniversary of the murder of Florence Small, she finally has a beautiful memorial bench for visitors to sit upon at her gravesite and enjoy the hilltop view. So if you’ve heard the story of Florence Small and are inclined to take a ride to Ossipee to enjoy a little getaway weekend, be sure to stop by Grant Hill Cemetery and pay a visit to Florence. An inviting seat and a beautiful view awaits you, and I’m sure Florence will appreciate the company.

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