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Cousins cite creativeness as part of their DNA

By Staff | Mar 21, 2019

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Seated on the stairway in the Limestone area home of Cinda Printzenhoff, a group of cousins share creative abilities credited to ancestor Phoebe Lowe Gardner late of Muncy. (Front left to right): Cinda Printzenhoff, Amanda Ballengee holding Phoebe's picture, Penelope Shetler, (row two) Jenny Burke, Linda Hartley, (row three) Ann Burke and Carol Shetler.

MUNCY – When pondering ‘Women in History,’ what names come to mind? On the international front one might cite Mother Theresa, a Catholic nun who worked with the poor; while Amelia Earhart exemplifies a daring and adventurous spirit. These and more have been forever chronicled in the annals of history.

A more personal choice among a group of cousins is ancestor Phoebe Lowe Gardner (1880-1958) whose creativeness they believe to be inherit in them. The quiet, unassuming mother of seven children raised five to adulthood including Brady, Harvey, Adda, Olive and Earl.

With her husband, she retired from their Moreland Township farm to Muncy’s East Water Street just as nearby Glade Run overflowed during the 1936 flood.

In Muncy, Phoebe’s entire backyard was a flower/vegetable garden, her window sills laden with gloxinias and the African Violets she propagated. With her crochet hook, many “Grammy Squares” were fashioned into coverlets.

Usually twice annually, the cousins gather share family stories and show handiwork claiming creativeness as part of their DNA. The group fluctuates in number with seven attending the January 25 gathering near Limestoneville at the home of Cinda Printzenhoof. Ranging in age from 44 to 76, they represent three generations. Of them, only three had known Phoebe.

As a little girl, hostess Cinda had resided a few months in Phoebe’s Muncy home. “As the house was covered in stucco with shiny glass and what resembled colored beads, I thought she lived in a castle,” the great-granddaughter said. From her late mother, the hostess inherited many quilt blocks purchased at auctions including Sun Bonnet Sue, and the Dresden Plate patterns. From cousins, she sought placement ideas for future quilts.

Both Cinda and daughter Amanda are prolific gardeners. Amanda is a soap maker purveying her wares at farmer’s markets and shows.

Ann Burke has perfect attendance even though she drives from Mechanicsburg. Giving instruction in fabric paper-piecing, Ann is a photographer, stain glass artist, painter, quilter and more. She brought with her an sample of ribbon embroidery from a recent workshop.

Concerning Phoebe, Ann said, “When I was in Brownie Scouts, I’d walk to her Muncy home and enjoy fresh baked sugar cookies while waiting for my dad to pick me up. Currently, it has been special being a part of a family with talented and caring women. We enjoy sharing our varied hand works and accomplishments, helping one another when we can.”

Jenny Burke, traveled with her mother-in-law Ann. Though not a descendant, Ginny wore jewelry she fashioned suggesting selections of bangles and beads are abundant in her Harrisburg area at both Hobby Lobby Store sites.

Linda Hartley’s favorite pastime is knitting. After the Pennsdale resident tried quilting, she declared her completed table runner as ‘one and done.’ “I love being the groups social secretary. As soon as a visit’s over I look forward to the next and pick up where we left off. We share more than genetics – it’s the bond we have,” Linda said.

Unusual bird houses constructed from recycled material is a pastime for Penelope Shetler of Montgomery. She also paints decorative faces on gourds and pumpkins. Penelope is the steward of one of three quilts made by Phoebe’s mother, Sarah “Jane” Lowe, late of the Lairdsville area.

Carol Shetler of Hughesville said, “I initiated two quilt projects the group completed and displayed at local shows. I often joke when cousins see me coming. They hope another project is not in the offing; I was the nineteenth of Phoebe’s twenty grandchildren and in my memory, she was elderly. I’m fortunate to have her china closet and knitting bag. Under my mother’s care, Phoebe spent the last several months and passed on at our home and is interred in the cemetery at Moreland Baptist Church.”

The genealogy and photo account of Phoebe’s life was researched, printed and shared by granddaughter Betty Jean Wilkins of North Canton, Ohio. Along with added personal stories, accounts from Phoebe’s seemingly ordinary life will be passed down through the generations as an important woman in the family’s history.