The recent post of the Andrew Jackson Brodhead family reminded me of this sweet little angel, Edith Easton Brodhead, who was born in Perth Amboy, NJ, on November 3, 1879. Both the assembly of photos of the A. J. Brodhead family and this portrait of Edith are in nearly identical frames. And both frames are quite large.
Edith passed away just shy of age 2 years and 5 months. She was the firstborn child of Andrew Douglas Brodhead and Margaret Lewis (Martin) Brodhead who had married the year before Edith was born, in 1878. At the time of Edith’s passing, Andrew Douglas Brodhead was 29, and wife Margaret was 21. The second Brodhead child, Frank Martin Brodhead (my grandfather), was seven weeks old. Two other brothers would follow not long thereafter: Lewis Dingman Brodhead in 1884, and Andrew Jackson Brodhead in 1886. All of the Brodhead-Martin children were born in Perth Amboy, NJ. (At some point, the family relocated to Elizabeth, which as just up the pike, but I am not sure exactly when that was.)
The portrait of Edith is unsigned; there may be a clue under the mat, but because the frame is very old and the portrait is under glass, I don’t think we’ll be taking it apart any time soon. I plan to write away to the NJ archives to see if I can find out her cause of death. I can’t imagine how sadly her loss must have been felt by the young couple. Perhaps the arrival of baby Frank the preceding month helped them cope with their grief. If Edith was taken by a serious childhood illness, thankfully it did not take Frank as well.
Over the years, I’ve often looked at Edith’s little face and felt sad to think of her loss at such a young age. Makes one appreciate one’s own survival of childhood. There was a time–not all that long ago–when such losses were very common. Little Edith must have brought great joy to those around her during her brief time on earth. That is what I now try to remember whenever I see her precious little face.