Mrs. Cheney was killed along with her children at Taliesin, their beloved home in Spring Green, Wisconsin, one day when he was away.
A couple who worked for the family locked the doors while they were dining, doused the perimeter with gasoline, and set them all ablaze. Wright was devastated by the loss and, as I understand it, insisted on burying Mamah Cheney alone, on his own -- or nearly so.
It's hard to imagine the imperious Wright digging the grave with his own hands -- but maybe he did. To see her simple stone huddled against this elder tree made me believe in the possibility that a man not much given to manual labor might put his shoulder to the blade in an effort to quiet the rage and the ache.