Elaine recently learned a little more about Nellie's life and death. Apparently, Nellie filed for divorce from John McGirl in Spokane a few weeks before she got on the train for Wellington. In the divorce papers, she cited emotional and physical abuse. She was separated but not yet divorced when she was killed.
This is why John McGirl was listed as Nellie's next of kin and was able to collect the money the Great Northern Railway gave for burial to each of the families of the Wellington avalanche victims. Instead of collecting Nellie's body and having her buried, he took the money and didn't claim her body. Her sisters came out from Illinois to bring Nellie home to rest. The Sharp family didn't have enough money for a headstone, so Nellie was buried 104 years ago today without one.
Now she has one. The cemetery tells me it was set today.