Monday, March 15, 2010

A Tribute to Lillian Eichhorn Casell

The only known photo of my great-grandmother, Lillian L. Eichhorn
The Chronology of her life is available here

The first record of Lillian L. Eichhorn's life is a birth certificate in Buffalo, NY for F. Eichhorn.  No first name name, just an "F" for female, indicating that a new child had come into the world on 22 December 1908, an early Christmas present.  Lillian was the fifth child and fifth daughter born to William Fred Eichhorn and Augusta Tross.  If the weather was anything like it is today, 22 December was cold and snowy, but in the excitement of a new baby, I imagine no one minded.

Six years later, the Eichhorn's would welcome their sixth and final child, a boy, William Tross Eichhorn into the family.  Life must have been fun for this young family.  William worked for the railroad, while Augusta took care of the home which they were able to buy while Lillian was still young.  There were aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmothers around to be with.

While in high school Lillian would meet Alfred Marco Casell, three years her senior and son of Italian immigrants.  It is hard to say what her German parents thought of him, but they married when she was just 16.  Like her father, Alfred too worked for the railroad and with the money he made they rented a house on Sherman Street in Buffalo.

Between 1928 and 1935 they had four children, first a girl, followed by three boys.  I always imagine the promise that life had for them.  Then, at 2:45 pm, 19 December 1938, just three days before her 30th birthday, Lillian died of lobar pneumonia at their home on Division Street.  Suddenly, everything changed for Lillian's young family.  Lillian was buried on her 30th birthday in Acadia Park Cemetery, North Tonawanda, NY.  Her young widow could not afford a plot, so her brother-in-law let them have a space in the grave site he had purchased.

Life was not easy for the family she left.  Her mother, Augusta, was so overcome with grief, she died of a broken heart a mere 13 days later, on New Year's day 1939.  Alfred, unable to take care of four young children and work, put them into an orphanage in October of 1939, where they stayed for nearly 8 years.
Alfred died in 1981, never remarrying.  His eldest son, Robert and his wife had purchased four plots in Acadia Cemetery some years earlier, and placed Alfred in one of them.  Until that time, when a cemetery worker happened to mention it, neither Robert, nor any of his siblings knew that that was also where their mother had been buried.  In fact, standing on Alfred's grave, one can see to where Lillian is buried and it is just a short walk.  Using part of their inheritance, the four siblings placed a marker on their mother's grave site, marking her place and short life for those visit there.
Written for the Carnival of Genealogy: A Tribute to Women


  1. Thank you all for your comments. Judith, he actually never remarried, the reason he finally brought his kids back is a story within itself, involving my grandfather, a minister and a toilet. I will have to go over my notes and write that up in a posting in the future.

  2. [...] top 2 would be Lillian Eichhorn Casell, my great-grandmother, who I wrote about here.  The other would be my great-great grandmother, Anna May Sanderson [...]


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