The statue, stones, and concrete planter are apparently a package deal; an identical grouping is in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Arlington.
There is a tragic story here. Two very young Nickel children both died in 1912; perhaps the same disease carried them off. Lina Nickel, their mother, died about four years later in 1916, at the age of 29 or 30; she may never have recovered completely from either the disease or the loss of her children. The bereaved husband (probably William Nickel, since one of the children is William Jr.) ordered this matched set of gravestones so that he could be buried with his beloved wife when his time came. “I shall never marry again,” he vowed. But he is not here, or at least there is no inscription for him; life went on, and perhaps the young widower had vowed too soon.
The female mourner was very popular; the same statue occurs elsewhere in this cemetery, in the Mount Lebanon Cemetery, and (as already mentioned) in St. Peter’s Cemetery. The hands are almost always missing; Father Pitt has found one intact statue in the Allegheny Cemetery. Evidently the maker of these statues had not solved the problem of structurally stable arms; the angel who presides over the sons’ graves is also handless.