Charles and Hester Freeman Meehan are buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Alliance, Box Butte, Nebraska. There are memorials for them on Find-A-Grave at: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84841839/charles-henry-meehan. A link on Charles's memorial page will connect you to Hester's page.
Charles is located at Lot 11, Section 11, Block 13. Hester is nearby at Lot 11, Section 5, Block 13.
324 Laramie Ave
Alliance, NE 69301
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Charles and Hester Freeman Meehan had eleven children in 24 years. The first child, Uncle Ed, was born in 1876, and the last, Aunt Edith, was born in 1900. Seven of the eleven children survived to adulthood. I often think of the four lost babies as Hester's Angels.
I have a letter written by Grandma that my dad saved. It is in deplorable condition but very precious. Dad's note on the envelope says, "Written by mother". The occasion is not known, but it conveys a message of grief. Perhaps it was written at the death of one of the four Meehan children who died before or just after their first birthday. Did "the vacant place" and "empty chair" belong to one of Hester's angels, or did she write this during a quiet, retrospective moment about another loved one who passed away?
An article I read while researching the book reported that in 1900, the infant mortality rate was 165 per 1,000 births compared to the 1997 rate of 7 per 1,000 births. The thought of losing one child is overwhelming, but the grief of losing multiple children is staggering.
My image of Grandma Hester gained from beautiful photographic images and stories told by my dad and older cousins, has always been of a woman with great strength and dignity. But the remnants of her letter of sorrow add a humanizing dimension that is otherwise unseen. Reading Grandma Hester's letter, I realized that her strength and dignity were likely born from her grief.
By age eight, both of her parents were dead. They separated her from her four siblings within months of her parents' deaths. By age forty-four, she had lost four children. She could have lived the life of a broken soul. Instead, she embraced life, did not let separation keep her from her siblings, was a helpmeet to her husband, a nurturer to her children, and an inspiration to her descendants.
The picture above is either Huey or Frankie, taken in Overton, Nebraska.
b. 14 March 1884
d. 16 April 1884, Raleigh, ON
Robert was the fourth and last of the Meehan children born in Canada. He died at the tender age of one month. The family left for Nebraska a few months later.
b. 19 Feb 1888
d. 31 July 1888, Overton, NE
Huey lived only a few short months (5 months and 12 days).
THOMAS FRANKLIN (FRANKIE)
b. 21 April 1889
d. 14 March 1890, Overton, NE
Less than a year after losing Huey, Frankie was born. Sadly he lived less than a year.
Huey and Frankie were the children between Uncle Den and Aunt Rose.
b. 23 March 1900
d. 20 Aug 1901, Overton, NE
Edith was the last Meehan child born to Charles and Hester. She was born almost three years after my dad when Hester was forty-four years old and had birthed ten children.
Edith died on a Tuesday evening of asthma at age 1 year, 4 months and 28 days. Her funeral was from the home of Grandma and Grandpa Meehan in Overton on Thursday afternoon. Rev. George Longstaff of Sumner presided. Edith is buried at Overton Cemetery.
Nancy Ann Guilds Green (nee Wheeler)
abt. 1816 - date unknown on Overton, Dawson County, NE
Nancy, along with her children, Leroy, William, and Matilda Guilds Robinson, was one of the earliest Canada-to-Nebraska homesteaders.
Those Audacious Meehans
All pictures used on this site are the property of Catherine Meehan Blount unless otherwise noted. Other images are used with permission.
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