Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Who is Josephine? That's been a pressing question for my family lately. My grandmother on my mom's side passed away recently and my mother and most of her siblings have been going through the estate. There were always rumors that my grandfather, Allen, had a girlfriend, possibly a wife, before he married my grandmother, Rachel.

As my mom and her siblings are cleaning, they come across some interesting things. The first time they found information it was contained in a small green tin and it contained mostly Christmas cards. The cards were address to a woman named Josephine and send to a hospital in Philadelphia. Some of the cards were addressed to Josephine Ramsey, others were addressed to Josehpine Keller, Allen's last name. From the information found in this tin we came to this conclusion...
My grandfather fell in love with a woman who developed cancer. She was admitted to the hospital and my grandfather married her there before she passed away. Doesn't that just touch your heart?

Then the next time my mom and her siblings went back to the house they found more information. Apparently, they had a rather long engagement and were married before she was in the hospital. She was from East Stroudsburg and I'm not sure how they met, since he was from Kresgeville. She was an educated woman, a columnist, and frequented New York. I was impressed as most of my ancestors were mostly farmers who never left home.

The eerie part is this... my mother mentioned that my grandfather seemed to take to me unlike the other grandchildren. Not that I was a favorite, but he was just different with me. As I was looking through the information that my mom presented to me, my heart jumped when I saw the date she died... my birthday.

I would love to find out more about her. I know that she had a young daughter when she passed away. A daughter from a previous relationship. The daughter's name was Mary Ramsey, but I have no more information than that. One day, my mom and my aunt when on a little scavenger hunt and found Josephine's tombstone..."Josephine Keller". My grandfather buried her in the same cemetery that he and my grandmother are buried.

Here's a question that I've always wondered about. If my grandfather was truly in love with Josephine, but his family was with Rachel, then how do you decide who you will be buried next to?


bekah said...

wow I have no idea, what a family mystery.

From my point of view, he would be buried next to your grandmother. Yes it is tragic that his first wife died, but he chose to marry Rachel, he never talked about Josephine. It sounds like that was a part of his life that, for the most part, died with her.

Then again...I have no idea. But thanks for sharing your story, it is intriguing.

ladyfi said...

Gosh - what a sad romantic story!

As Bekah says, I guess he would want to be buried next to your grandmother as he chose not to talk about Josephine. Perhaps a bit of him died when she did, but he still went on to find new love with Rachel...

I'd love to know more!