|My paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Olesen Hughes as I remember her.|
Circa early to mid 1950's
Apparently, I never did a Tombstone Tuesday blog on my paternal great grandparents. Or, if I did, I was not able to find it doing a search on Flipside.
|Page inside the prayer book with Elizabeth Ferdinande Olsen's|
date of birth written by her mother
My paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Ferdinande Olesen Hughes was born in West Hartlepool, England on October 16, 1876. Her parents were Christian Invart Olesen and Ferdinande (Ferdinanda) Weiss Olesen.
I knew my Great Grandmother Hughes. She lived with my grandparents and spent a large portion of the day alone in her bedroom listening to the radio. I do not remember her "hanging around" my grandparent's apartment during the day. In elementary school, during the summer, I often spent several days at my grandparents apartment when they lived in Bellevue, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Great Grandma would have lunch in her bedroom and dinner with us in the dining room. It was customary to have evening tea and a baked good before bed. Great Grandma was already in the living room watching the television and would join in for teatime.
She was not an overly warm or friendly individual. I think the three of us Hughes great grandchildren were somewhat fearful of her. It was mandatory that we go in to her bedroom to greet and give her a kiss on the cheek or at a minimum, a hug. I think I can speak for my two younger brothers, it was not a familial duty we looked forward to when visiting Grams and Pop Pop.
I might mention that Great Grandmother had a nickname--Noonie. No one alive now knows who originated the nickname. I do not remember my Grandmother or Grandfather calling her Noonie and assuredly, we great grandchildren did not use her nickname. Oddly, when we (cousins, too) refer to her now, many of us do use the name Noonie.
When my brothers and I visited Hartlepool, England in 2003 and met with Hughes adult cousins, one in particular, John George Marsh, referred to her as "Lil".
|Death certificate of Elizabeth Ferdinande Olesen Hughes|
Great grandmother died in her bed at 71 North Bryant Avenue, Bellevue, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on October 11, 1961 at age eighty-four, just five days shy of her eighty-fifth birthday. It is my understanding that Grams' niece, Catherine Wallace Billik (Kae), was attending her when she died. George Henry Hughes, my grandfather and Elizabeth's only child, supplied the information for the death certificate. Pop Pop did get his Olesen grandfather's name wrong. To be fair, Pop Pop never knew him since, Christian Invart Olesen, died before Pop Pop was born. Wm C. Olesen was the name given and it was the name of Pop Pop's uncle.
My Dad, George VanGilder Hughes, was the attending physician who signed his grandmother's death certificate. There was a story Dad loved to tell about this day. Apparently, Pop Pop was extremely annoyed that it took Dad until evening to drive to Bellevue and sign the death certificate as his mother's dead body had been there all day. My Dad's response to his Dad, "Well, I had live patients to attend to in the office all day."
When Elizabeth's husband, John George Hughes, died on May 20, 1921, Elizabeth purchased five cemetery plots in Section A, Lot 53 at Woodlawn Cemetery, Aliquippa, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. When the cemetery was built, the area was called Woodlawn and housed the workers and administrators of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company.
Elizabeth is buried next to her husband in plot #3. John George Hughes is buried in plot #2, Elizabeth's mother, Ferdinande Weiss Olesen, is in plot #1 and Elizabeth's brother, William Christian Olesen, is in plot #2. There is one plot unused. Perhaps Elizabeth though her son, George Henry Hughes, would be buried with his parents. That did not happen.
I was fourteen when my great grandmother died. I was not told of her death until after the fact. Consequently, I did not attend the viewing at the funeral home, the church service or burial. I have no obituary or burial card. I do not know if any exist. I do know that my grandmother had no love of her mother-in-law and may have simply thrown out all reminders. Family members always thought that Pop Pop would mourn the death of his mother. The story told is that he threw a rose on her casket and never looked back. I may have mentioned in another blog, that Elizabeth was not very nice to her daughter-in-law (my grandmother, Grams), in fact, I have been told by many that she was downright nasty. Sad to say my Great Grandmother Hughes was not mourned or missed.
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