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A Party and Three Funerals
Compiled October 27, 2003


Background:  This article is based on five yellowed old newspaper clippings which, in their antique way, describe events in my mother's family.

My mother's parents were Harry Buckingham and Emma Lieuellen (pronounced Lew-Ellen).  The first clipping is about the Lieuellens; the rest, about the Buckinghams.

This map shows an area about six by nine miles in southeastern Ohio where they grew up.  The first clipping, from the Woodsfield, Ohio, newspaper, describes a birthday party near Burkhart Station (top center of the map). 

The party was held at the Lieuellen home on Saturday, December 5, 1891, the year after Emma's father died.  Emma was almost six years old in 1891.  Her sisters were Mattie, Josie, Ethel, and the birthday girl Verda.  Her mother later remarried, and Emma had half-brothers named Bill and Luther Robinson.


Birthday Party.

One of the most pleasant occasions which have taken place in this community for some time occurred at the residence of Mrs. Minerva Lieuellen December 5 [1891], it being a party in honor of Miss Verda Lieuellen's 14th birthday.  Many of her friends and relatives gathered in to celebrate that evening with her.

The fore part of the evening was spent in social chatting.  When the hour of supper rolled around, we appeared in the dining room to lighten a table which was filled to its utmost capacity, and each one did full justice to it.  After the dishes were cleared away, we were entertained by some excellent vocal music, which was rendered by the Wills Creek Choir.

Miss Lieuellen is a pleasant young lady and highly respected by all.  May her life be as pleasant as the evening of which we speak, is the wish of her many friends.

She was the recipient of many valuable presents for which she expressed her thanks in a very pleasant manner.  Following is a list:

Miss Josephina Spangler

fancy flower vase and autograph album

I.O. King

silk handkerchief

Charley Reed

bottle of cologne

F.H. Dillon

15 cents

C.W. Smith

silk handkerchief

Joseph Spangler

collar and cuff buttons

W.H. Seabach

linen handkerchief

William Hayes

50 cents

Miss Pauline Spangler

gold breastpin

Roxie Devoe

fancy vase

Mrs. Elizabeth Wise

pair mittens

Bertha Draper

dress pattern

G.W. Johnson

50 cents

Maud Seabach

sugar bowl

Miss Mollie Davison

dress pattern

Mattie Lieuellen

card receiver

Emma Lieuellen

bottle of cologne

Josie Lieuellen


Mattie and Russel Reed

pair of fancy flower vases

W.G. Smith

pair kid gloves and silk handkerchief

Miss Emma Robinson


Miss Alice Brister

honey dish

J.E. Robinson

fancy vase

Miss Jennie Barnhouse

fruit dish

Miss Eva J. Smith

scrap book

Miss Mary Stephens

spoon holder



The "one son" was my grandfather Harry.


The photo on the right dates to the summer of 1964.  Emma (on the left) and her younger sister Ethel revisit one of the scenes of their youth.

The rest of the clippings mark the passing of various Buckinghams:

In 1908, my great-grandfather John Thomas Buckingham.  He didn't use the John, and people knew him as Tommy.

In 1925, his stepmother, Aunt Till.  (I've combined two clippings.)

In 1932, his unmarried daughter Lizzie, my great-aunt.



J.T. Buckingham was born at Summerfield, Ohio, February 15, 1850, and died at his home on Curtis Ridge, four miles south of Summerfield, Aug. 7, 1908, aged 58 years, 5 months and 17 days.

He was united in marriage to Mary E. Curtis, October 5, 1869.  To this union were born five children, four daughters and one son; one of the daughters died in infancy.  The other three daughters and son survive him.

Stafford is about five miles southeast of Curtis Ridge (see above map.)


At the time of his marriage he was clerking for Captain Hughes, at Stafford, Ohio.  He continued to clerk in the store for a while and then moved to Curtis Ridge, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Tommy, as he was more familiarly known, was left an orphan boy, without any estate.  But he had something better than money, and that was true, genuine principle.  By habits of industry and economy, he wrested from the world an honest living and built up a comfortable home for his family, which he leaves to them free and unencumbered.  He was of a kind and social disposition, won a large circle of friends, and was highly respected by all who knew him.

I think that the church was less than a mile up the road from the Buckingham home.

Tommy always had a warm feeling for the church.  Sometime in January, 1904, he converted in a meeting at Curtis Ridge conducted by the writer.  He united with the Wesleyan Methodist church at the Ridge and was one of its leading members.

His life was an exemplary one and his death triumphant.  He bore his affliction with patience and Christian fortitude.  When he was dying — the family and friends gathered around his bedside — his face was illuminated with the sunshine of heaven and he bade us all goodbye.  His wife asked him if there was any dark valley; he said no.  Jesus had lit up the way, and it will be light for all who will follow his footsteps.

The family and his two sisters have the sympathy of all.  On Sunday, August 9, as the sun had reached the zenith, his body was tenderly laid to rest in the home cemetery.  Funeral conducted by the writer.   F.A.A.



We take this method of thanking our friends and neighbors and all who so kindly assisted us during the illness and death of our husband and father.

Mary E. Buckingham and family.

The nautical allusion is to a hymn by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Crossing the Bar."


STAFFORD NEWS in the Woodsfield newspaper

Obituary:  Mrs. Matilda Kean

The whole community was shocked and grieved on Saturday when from mouth to mouth and from phone to phone the news spread that "Aunt Till," as she was lovingly called, had quietly crossed the bar as she often expressed a wish to do — with no moaning of the waves when she put out to sea on her endless vacation.

Malaga is seven miles north of Woodsfield.  In those days, people never traveled very far from home.

Those who knew her, and they are legions, need no eulogy to tell of the grandly beautiful life lived so modestly and unostentatiously following in the footsteps of the humble Galilean, going about doing good with no thought of recompense save the happiness that service brings always.

Matilda Sill was born near Malaga, Monroe County, Ohio, Aug. 1, 1829, and departed this life November 28, 1925, at the home of her son-in-law, Wynn Ullman, in Stafford, age 96 years, 3 months and 27 days.

Mr. Buckingham had been born in Maryland in 1822.

She was a resident of Monroe County all her life.  When quite young, her folks moved to Stafford, where she joined the M.E. Church at an early age.  She was an active member for about 80 years and was interested in all its activities as long as she was able to take part.

The writer first met her as Matilda Sills before the Civil War, when as a girl she was the valued assistant and companion of the family of William Steel, a prominent merchant here.  Though only a careless girl in my teens, I was impressed on my frequent visits from Woodsfield to that home with the rare qualities of the young girl who so cheerfully and efficiently performed the duties of housekeeper, nurse, and entertainer devolving on her on account of Mrs. Steel's frail health.  Later, when moving here and coming in close contact with everyday life, my first impression of her beautiful personality gained strength as obstacle after obstacle were met and, uncomplaining and unassisted, overcome.

When her sister, Mrs. Hawkins, was left a widow with a family of children, she went there and helped mother them — her special role being that of mother in an exalted form.  After the Hawkins children were partly grown and the eldest, though a minor, had entered the war (our neighbor the late John Hawkins), she was at liberty for a short time and in April 1863 married James D. Buckingham, whose wife had died leaving three young children.

The stepson "Thomas" was my future great-grandfather, then 13 years old.

Again she was called to exercise her God-given motherhood.  A son and daughter were born to this union, but no difference was shown the stepchildren who were tenderly cared for as her own, and they returned her devotion.  The stepdaughters were Patience and Bell; the stepson, Thomas, late of Curtis Ridge, where the deceased delighted to spend part of her summers as an honored guest.

Less than two years after marrying Till, James Buckingham died at the age of 42.

After Mr. Buckingham's death, she and her sister, Emily Sill, lived together and reared her children.  The son, James, resides in DeSoto, Kansas, and could not attend the funeral.  The daughter, Etta, married Win Ullman and died six years ago.


This group portrait includes a woman who might be the twice-widowed Aunt Till.

She was married a second time to Jefferson Kean in 1875.  He passed away in 1879, when he was planning an affluent happy old age for her.  But she faced this problem as all others and cheerfully took up new duties of caring for grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom adored her.

She died as she had lived — trusted, honored, loved, rearing her own monument while she lived and garlanding it with immortals.  She had been growing weaker the past summer but was around the house helping her granddaughter, Vere, on Thanksgiving.  Mrs. Mary Buckingham of Curtis Ridge came over, accompanied by her Pastor and wife, and spent the day affording much enjoyment to Mrs. Kean.  On Saturday, after eating her dinner and expressing appreciation of it, she went into her room, lay down for her accustomed nap, and quietly passed away.

She leaves a son, seven grandchildren, several step-grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and a host of friends to mourn her loss.

Funeral services were held in Stafford M.E. Church for her on December 1 with Rev. H.A. Tuttle officiating.  Interment was made in the Stafford cemetery by funeral director Preston Gardner.

In Memoriam.


Elizabeth, third daughter of Thomas and Mary Buckingham, was born near Summerfield, Ohio, May 7, 1880.  Her spirit slipped home to God November 9, 1932.  Her aged mother, one sister, one brother, and many other relatives and friends remain to miss her godly counsel and importunate prayers.

Lizzie, as we all called her, was a woman of rare devotion to the cause of God.  Her interest was world-wide, and many souls from the regions beyond will greet her with gladness because of this interest.  At an early age, she fully yielded her life to God and united with the Curtis Ridge Wesleyan Methodist Church, remaining an earnest worker in the same until her death.  Humble, faithful, and joyous in God's service, she cheerfully and efficiently filled every position in home and church entrusted to her care.

Her life was a marvelous exposition of God's justifying and sanctifying grace.  Her sick room was not a death chamber but became a coronation hall, as she received from her loved Master the crown of life promised to those who overcome.

Funeral services were conducted from the home, by the writer.  Midst whirling snows, her frail earthly house was followed by loved ones to the near-by cemetery where it was left to await the coming Rapture.

—Monna M. Rogers.




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