Wednesday, July 30, 2014

William Albert Griepentrog - Open Casket

William Albert Griepentrog - open casket
William Albert Griepentrog - Open Casket

June 19
Dear Sister,
Received your letter long time ago, but never took time to write.  Baby weighs 12 lb now and getting along all right.   I am all right if it wanst for that very lone some feeling. They are busy cultvating at the second time through   Emil is working for us.  Pa & Carsten were up at Neligh last Sunday.  Tom Hansen is quite low   not expected to make it long   has dropsy.  Pa is there yet.
Your Sister
Lucy G.

Who's Who?

  • "Your Sister Lucy G.", is Lucia Bertha (Petersen) Griepentrog,  
  • "Sister" is Lucia's half-sister, Clara Marie (Petersen) Brunken.
  • "Baby" is Lucia's daughter, Lorena Ida Griepentrog.
  • "Pa" is Lucia's father, Carsten Petersen, Sr. 
  • "Carsten" is Lucia's half-brother, Carsten Petersen Jr.
  • "Tom Hansen"  is possibly Thomas P. Hansen of Elm Township, Antelope County, Nebraska who died in 1923 and is buried the Laurel Hill Cemetery, Neligh, Nebraska. I have not yet determined how he is related to Lucia and the Petersen family.
  • "Emil" is casually mentioned as "working for us" by Lucia as if Marie should readily know who Lucia is referring to. Possibly "Emil" is Emil Herman Brunken, brother of Marie's husband, William Leonard Brunken.  Emil Brunken was 26 years old at this time, unmarried, and according to the 1920 US Census was living at his brother Carl's home.


The date given on the card is June 19.  Lucia's daughter, Lorena, was born 11 May 1917 which is consistent with "Baby" weighing 12 lbs. So, this card was written 19 Jun 1917.

Picture Story

On first reading, the card message did not appear to be related to the picture of an open casket on the front of the card.  Lucia does say that she has a "very lone some feeling".  On checking my genealogy records, I found that Lucia's husband, William Albert Griepentrog, died[1] six weeks (on 02 May 1917) before Lucia wrote this card.  Hence, it is likely Lucia's husband's casket shown on the front of the card.


The location of the open casket viewing appears to be the living room (or parlor) of Lucia's home.  Zoom in on the pictures on the wall. The smaller left of center picture

Portrait on Wall

is the same as the following portrait that I have of the Carsten Petersen, Sr. family.

Carsten Petersen, Sr. Family Portrait - Circa 1905
Carsten Petersen, Sr. Family Portrait - Circa 1905

Notice also the portrait of a woman on the left wall,

Portrait On Left Wall

Compare this portrait to that of Lucia a decade earlier in the above Carsten Petersen, Sr. family portrait.

Lucia Petersen - Circa 1905
Lucia Petersen - Circa 1905
I think that Lucia  is the woman in the portrait on the wall.


  1. William died of appendicitis. Thank you Carolyn Petersen for finding William's cause of death and why he died so young.