Gypsy Queen, Lena Miller - Oakwood Cemetery, Sharon, PA
The Gypsy Queen, born Powonia Mitchell on September 15, 1889, in Chicago, IL to Louis Mitchell, king of all of the gypsies in America and Mary Granch Mitchell. She was one of 11 children, 8 girls, 3 boys.
Lena grew up traveling with the gypsies to carnivals and circuses and learned the art of fortune telling.
Lena married Frank Miller, the kind of his tribe, and they had six children. Frank and Lena joined the Wallace Brothers Circus on May 1, 1921.
Lena had been in Sharon, PA telling fortunes at the local carnival when she caught pneumonia. She suffered from pneumonia for two weeks and had been under constant care by Dr. Harry Milliken. On May 10, 1921 Lena died at the age of 32. Moments before her death she summoned her eldest son, embraced him and gave him a kiss.
Members of gypsy tribes came from all over the country to mourn the death of Lena. The numbers range from 100-400. The funeral service was such a big event that even school was canceled. The queen was laid out in the tent where she died for 3 days at the fairgrounds in Sharon, PA, as friends and family came to pay their respects. She was adorned with colorful robes and jewels with coins over her eyes. Before the casket was closed her face was covered with a satin sheet. More than 5000 residents of Sharon, PA lined the streets to watch the procession of her body being moved from the tent to Oakwood Cemetery.
After the funeral service, the gypsies threw gold coins on top of her casket in the grave to pay tribute. For 60-90 days after the funeral, the gypsies kept a guard posted at the grave 24 hours a day and someone kept watch after hours for a year. Years after the queen died the gypsies would come back once a year to visit the queens grave. The only inscription on her tombstone is Lena Miller, died May 10, 1921.
Oakwood Cemetery is located at: 600 N Oakland Ave, Sharon, PA 16146
Additional burial plots to see in Oakwood Cemetery:
Burial plot of Billy Boy - The Kidnapped Child: