Trumbull – Grandma Died Last Tuesday (1) – January, 1944

Grandma Peabody

          Grandma Peabody

Trumbull, Conn   Jan. 23, 1944

Dear Boys:

Grandma Peabody) died last Tuesday at 11:30 AM, having been unconscious from the night before. She passed away quietly and peacefully, and if the expression may be permitted, happily, with her loved ones near. Death is at best a lonely adventure it is made more so when none near and dear are close by. Helen and Dorothy were there; Burton and Anne arrived later, as did Ced who was in New York and happened in about 11:30 to see them all. At Grandma’s request no funeral service was held, which, all with the exception of Kemper, met with the approval of the family. She was cremated Wednesday. Dorothy expects to continue living in the same apartment.

Grandma’s life span marks an era in American history which is fast becoming legendary. Born in Sweden, she came to this country as a young girl and with her parents settled as pioneers in what was the raw Far West in those days. Battling fierce Dakota winter storms and summer’s heat and drought, life was lived under the most primitive conditions. With Grandpa frequently away from home for days at a time, with the constant fear of marauding Indians, often facing periods verging on privation and want, she raised a family of seven children, never for once lowering her ideals of honor and integrity. Not knowing what the next day would bring she still carried on. In the light of these struggles when your mother was a baby, the words of that beautiful old hymn take on for me of greater significance:

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,

Lead thou me on,

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead thou me on.

Keep now my feet! I do not ask to see

the distant scene; one step enough for me.

I like to think of Grandma going to join Grandpa and your mother– going home, as it were, after a long and useful journey:

So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still

will lead me on,

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

the night is gone;

and with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

In the intimate service which we hold each in the stillness of our own hearts at her passing, I am reminded of a little prayer which years ago as director of the church boys club (The Brotherhood of St. Andrew) was customarily part of our closing service: “Guide us all the day long, oh Lord, through this troubulous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in thy tender mercy grant us a safe lodging and rest in peace at last with Thee.”

So passes from this earth one whom it has been good to know and who can set for us all an example of courage and faithfulness to ideals which can be a treasured memory, and an inspiration.

Tomorrow, the conclusion to this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures of the Island during the very low-water season in August, 1999.

Judy Guion

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4 thoughts on “Trumbull – Grandma Died Last Tuesday (1) – January, 1944

  1. Arla Danielle Guion Smith says:

    Another dear person I wish I had known…Great Grandma Peabody. She must have had many interesting stories to tell. I know my Dad really liked his Peabody grandparents.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      Arla – You and me both. Her letters were always honest and sincere, but there weren’t enough of them. She had quite an interesting life following Grandpa and his various endeavors. He was a Civil Engineer, a member of the second Legislative Assembly on North Dakota, Appraiser of Fort Rice Military Reservation, North Dakota State Bank Examiner, Surveyor for the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad in Minn,. employed by the Chicago Great Western Railroad in construction work, Building Inspector in the Engineering Department for the New York Central Railroad, Assistant Supervisor of Bridges and Buildings, Supervisor of Piers and Buildings,and Supervisor of Buildings on the New York Central Lines East of Buffalo. This information comes from “The Ancestry of Franklin Merriam Peabody, written by Franklin Asbury Merriam in 1929. He was quite an accomplished man who had a remarkable life partner in Anna Charlotta Westlin, born in Sweden.

  2. What a loving tribute. It must have brought some measure of comfort to her grandsons, to hear how much she was loved.

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