The Shields Sisters

sepia, photo, sisters, victorian,age, maine
Originally posted April 10, 2010.

These three young ladies are all sisters. I couldn't find a date of the photo but judging by the clothing I'm sure it's taken around the turn of the last century. From left to right are Elzena Rachel, Vallie, and Edith. Elzena Rachel would be my great-grandmother. Vallie and Edith would be my great aunts. My mother's middle name was Elzena. She didn't like her middle name and she seemed to get upset if we ever mentioned it. Of course we kids would never pass up a chance to tease mom but she took it well.

Don't you just love those outfits? They all have those cool little pocket books hanging from their belts. Vallie seems to have the slimmest waist, but you really can't tell about the waist lines of the two sitting sisters. I assume Vallie is wearing one of those torturous corsets popular at the time. The pattern of the material that makes up their blouses is so intricate. It looks as though Vallie and Edith's blouses are made of the same material. Most likely their clothing was hand made by themselves. Can you imagine that? I love the material around their necks. I'm not sure what that is called. Maybe someone out there can tell me what they called that piece of clothing.

On the back is written the photographer's name and my mother wrote in the names of the sisters. I'm not sure why there is an X in the middle.

Elzena Rachel lived a short life, from 1880 to 1917. I found her obituary among the family photo albums. Her obituary was beautifully written. Today's obituaries seem brief, sterile and written without emotion.

News Publication unknown:
A large group of friends and aquaintances were grieved to hear of the death of Mrs. Elzena Shields Bither, which occured at Eastern Maine Gen'l Hospital, Bangor, Sunday, May 20th at the age of 37 years, 4 days, after a short painful illness. The deceased had been in poor health the past few months and she had suffered much at times but was very patient through it all. She possessed an unswerving Christian faith and was true to the principles of right, and was a memeber of the Ladies Aid. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, at the Union Church, at Linneus Corner, Rev. Frank Sebean of the Free Baptist Church of Hodgdon officiating. She leaves to morn her demise a husband and three children three sisters and four brothers. The community extended their sympathy to the bereved husband and relatives. The bearers were Joshua Brown, Orin Tracey, Wilbur Estabrook, Robert Hunter. 

This poem was published with the obituary:

Slowly the death light faded
   From our loved ones eyes,
Gently her spirit was wafted,
   To her home beyond the skies.
But we seem to hear her whisper
   I am happy and at rest:
Morn not for me my dear ones,
   But to think its for the best,
To meet me there in Heaven,
   When your work on earth is o'er,
There we'll dwell in peace forever,
   on that ever shining shore.

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