Digging Up Bones

S. C. Phenice visiting his wife’s grave circa 1930.

I saw this photo for the first time just over a year ago.  I got it from my second cousin once removed (my mom’s second cousin) Mona Quillen.  It’s kind of a sad photo.

It’s a photo of my great great grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice at Maple Creek Cemetery in Precept (Furnas County), Nebraska.  He is holding a grandchild or great grandchild as he visits his wife Catherine Jane Foster Phenice’s grave.

We all know the tragedy of Catherine’s death.  Her clothes caught fire in her home just before Christmas in 1920.  She was burned terribly and died as a result of her wounds on Jan. 7, 1921, at the age of 72.  She and Samuel had gotten married Sept. 27, 1866, in Hendersonville, Pennsylvania.  (They were both born in Mercer County in Pennsylvania.)  So at the time of her death, they had been married for 54 years.  Samuel went on to survive Catherine for another 19 years.

So I’m pretty sure this was just one of many of the visits that Samuel made to this graveyard.  That means this photo was taken sometime between 1921 and 1939.  In 1930 he was living with his youngest daughter Emma Quillen (Mona’s grandmother) and her family. (According to 1930 Census.)  Since he was living with that family and the photo came from that family, I’m thinking that the photo was taken around 1930 or so.  So it’s possible that the youngster in the photo was Emma’s youngest son Harry Lincoln Quillen, who was born in 1927.  Samuel died in 1939 and was buried with his beloved wife.

The reason I’m posting this photo is that I’m planning on visiting their grave site at the end of June.  “Digging up bones” is what my mom called these types of visits.  Mona and Michelle Quillen (my 3rd cousin through Samuel & Catherine) suggested the visit to the graveyard last year and I’ve decided to do it.  I’m not sure if they are going to make it or not.  I’m hoping my brother Rob (& his wife Robyn) will make it, too.

So anyone else who might want to meet us there, we’ll be at Catherine and Samuel’s grave shortly after lunch on Saturday, June 30, 2018.  We will not actually be digging, so no shovels are needed.


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