Sunday, October 28, 2007

Family Deaths on Same Day or Close to Each Other

Apple of Apple's Tree made a comment on yesterday's post about illness that got me to thinking: are there any instances in my family history where family deaths occurred on the same day or very close to each other? So, I worked my way back and really didn't have to go too far.

Deaths that occur in the same family on or around the same date are good indicators of either a common illness such as measles, scarlet fever, cholera, typhoid fever. Or it could be an accident such as a fire or car accident. Or it could be a broken heart.

We've often heard of a husband and wife being together for many years and then dying within a day or a week or a month of each other. I've found two instances of this in my family history that I'd like to relate.

Ira H. Austin was my 3rd great-grandfather and was born in Denmark, Lewis County, New York in 1831. He ran a saddle-shop in Lowville, New York - I know this through a copy of an advertisement for the shop, print ads that ran in the Lowville Journal-Republican in the 1870s, and the D.G. DeBeers print of Lowville from 1875 (I used the great new Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000 database on Ancestry).

Ira Austin married Hannah Dence on July 4, 1862 in Lowville. Hannah Dence is my ancestor that links me to the Pootman/Putman line going all the way back to 1661 in New York.

Ira and Hannah were married for almost 45 years when Hannah died on January 15, 1907. Ira followed three days later on January 18, 1907. In addition, their daughter Margaret Austin was married to George H. VanDeusen at the Austin home on January 14, 1907 in what the Lowville Journal-Republican called "a quiet affair." Ira Austin's obituary states ". . . passed away . . . the day following the funeral of his life companion."

The second instance of a husband and wife dying within a short period of each other is more recent. My great grand-aunt Elizabeth McGinnes McCrickert was married to John B. McCrickert. John died on December 15, 1955 and Beth, as she was known, followed six weeks later on January 23, 1956.

I think the best way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.


Miriam said...

Thomas, my husband's (step) grandfather passed away on 29 Jun 1997. He was the love of Grandma's life. She had a stroke Halloween Night and was found the next morning, sitting in the living room chair, with a bowl of candy, waiting for children to come to the door. She was hospitalized until her death a week later on 8 November. She had always been a very healthy, active person, and we all knew that the stroke was simply a result of her giving up after he died. They had married after most of their children were grown, and had had 41 happy years together.

Apple said...

My grandfather died 1 Aug 1984. His second wife died 8 Aug 1984. She had cared for Grandpa during his battle with cancer and just gave up when he was gone.

1984 was on of the most joyful and at the same time one of the saddest years for me. Someday I'll have to write about it.