Sunday, May 19, 2013

Five of the Saddest Things I've Learned

     I've found funny, amazing and disturbing things doing research on my family.  I've learned some things that made me proud, and others that made me very sad, as I'm sure you have too.  In no particular order:

    Baby Gladys with sister Inez
  • People still died from botched appendectomies in 1937-- My cousin Gladys Worden, aged 22,  died 11 days after her surgery, suggesting, (to me anyway), the cause was infection.  Her obit read in part, She was a graduate of Manchester High School and had been a member of the Hawaiian Serenaders, a group of women musicians who had entertained frequently in this city and surrounding places.  Funeral from the home Saturday, burial Brookside.
  • Great Grandfather Carlton Warner had 3 wives in 17 years--  I've written about first wife Maggie Power before.  She died of septicemia 6 years after her marriage to Carlton after losing 2 sons and giving birth to my Grandfather.  His second wife was Mary Ferguson, she passed away on their 8th wedding anniversary after a "long illness", leaving Carlton with 4 more children, all little girls.  The final wife, who outlived Carlton was Mildred Wheeler, with whom Carlton had 5 more children.
  • Infant mortality rates-- This one is a heart-breaker, Catherine White Ryan, my 3rd great aunt gave birth to 6 children, all but 2 died in infancy and only 1 outlived her.  My 3rd great aunt Ellen Power Mahoney had even worse luck, Ellen had 9 children, only 1 survived infancy!
  • Cousin Ella Ryan died in 1915 of alcohol abuse-- After  her husband left her and 1 year after her daughter died, Ella drank herself to death.  But it gets sadder, Ella's daughter  Blanche didn't just die, she committed suicide.  From her obit--  Mrs. Blanche Zorsch, 23 years old, who sent a bullet into her right side yesterday morning, died in St. Mary's Hospital at 3:30 o'clock this morning.  Mrs. Zorsch had been separated from her husband.  She resided at 391 Seward Street, while Mr. Zorsch had been living with his parents... yesterday Mrs. Zorsch sent for her husband.  When he arrived at the house he found his wife lying on a bed with a bullet wound in her right side.  A 32-caliber revolver was lying on the bed.
  •  My mother's face-- This photo was taken of my Mother at age 8, not long after her own Mother had been fatally injured before her eyes in her own kitchen by a kerosene explosion.  My Mother has now passed on too, but this photo of her haunts me.  Every time I look at it I wish I could hug that little girl and take the sadness from her eyes.

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