Category Archives: Death Certificates

Sympathy Saturday – Typhoid Fever

Albert Swing Sr Death

If one’s ancestors have to die, they may as well succumb to interesting diseases. Typhoid fever is one of those causes of death that has an antiquated ring to it. My only prior association with it was from reading the Catherine Marshall novel Christy. But apparently my great-great-grandfather, Albert Carl Swing, was one of its victims. Or was he really Albert Charles Swing, as indicated on his death certificate?  Hmm.

Albert died 10 days shy of his 63rd birthday in Francesville, Indiana. He had been born 24 October 1859 in Akron, Ohio, the son of Carl/Karl Schwing and Saloma Bollinger. The family appears in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses in Akron. In 1877 they moved to Livingston County, Illinois, where they appear in the 1880 census in Chatsworth. On 17 February 1884 in Fairbury, Illinois, Albert married Catherine Marie Hoffmann. Together they had 13 children, including my great-grandfather, Albert Carl Swing, Jr. In 1900 they appear in Ash Grove, Illinois, then in 1905 moved near Wolcott, Indiana. In the 1910 census they were enumerated in Salem, Indiana, then in 1920 in Hanging Grove, Indiana. Two years later Albert died. Albert was buried three days after his death, in the Francesville (Roseland) cemetery.

Albert and Catherine Swing

Typhoid or enteric fever is a specific infectious fever characterized mainly by its insidious onset, by a peculiar course of the temperature, by marked abdominal symptoms occurring in connection with a specific lesion of the bowels, by an eruption upon the skin, by its uncertain duration, and by a liability to relapses. This fever has received various names, such as gastric fever, abdominal typhus, infantile remittent fever, slow fever, nervous fever, pythogenic fever, etc. The name of ” typhoid ” was given by Louis in 1829, as a derivative from typhus. Until a comparatively recent period typhoid was not distinguished from typhus. For, although it had been noticed that the course of the disease and its morbid anatomy were different from those of ordinary cases of typhus, it was believed that they merely represented a variety of that malady. The distinction between the two diseases appears to have been first accurately made in 1836. [Britannica1911].

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Sympathy Saturday – Childbed Fever…Or Not

Emily Jane Sweeney

It’s interesting how setting out to write a simple blog post can result in confusion and/or changes to the information I already  have on file. I searched my family tree data for “childbirth” for today’s post; after all, what could be more suitable for Sympathy Saturday than a death in childbirth? However, after latching on to Emily Jane Sweeney Fogle, my second cousin 5 times removed, it appears that though sympathy is called for – it cannot be targeted at death in childbirth.

Emily was born in 1821 in Liberty, Casey County, Kentucky, the daughter of Joel and Obedience (Edwards) Sweeney and great-granddaughter of Moses Sweeney. The second of eight children, she married William McDowell Fogle on 17 February 1841 in Casey County. Emily died, still in Liberty, Kentucky, on 14 October 1852. This much does match the information I already had on file from the Descendants of Moses Sweeney CD compiled by Harvey J. Sweeney. From there, though, a few facts begin to differ.

The Sweeney compilation indicates that Emily Jane was born 4 January 1821 and probably died in childbirth, and lists a total of six children of the couple, including an unnamed daughter who was born and died in Liberty in October 1852. The 1896 Kentucky Biographical Dictionary, as well as the image of Emily’s grave in Liberty’s Napier Cemetery from the Find-a-Grave website, however, however, indicates a birthdate of 4 June 1821. The story of the infant who died also appears to have come originally from the Kentucky Biographical Dictionary, which indicates Emily “was the mother of six children: Marietta, Isabelle, Sarah Frances, Jesse Edwin, William McDowell, and a daughter who died in infancy, a few days preceding the death of its mother.”

However, Ancestry.com has now digitized Kentucky Death Records from 1852-1953 (which incidentally also provided the catalyst for my investigation into the murder of Emily’s second cousin three times removed). Here we find Emily’s death listed, but the cause of death appears not as “childbed fever” (unlike two others on the same page) but as asthmaI thought perhaps somehow this was still a complication from childbirth, but the Kentucky Death Records don’t indicate any other Fogle child who was born around October 1852 and died then or later. So it seems possible the Biographical Dictionary, written some forty years later, may have provided erroneous information. Two other interesting points are revealed by the Kentucky Death Records source – Emily’s occupation (after much scrutiny) appears to be listed as “Innstress,” and the Clerk of Casey County, whose name appears on the death notices, was none other than Emily’s own father, Joel Sweeney.

Sympathy Saturday – Death by Senility

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Charles Wilson, my 3G-grandfather, was born August 13, 1831 in Louisville, New York, the son of John Wilder Wilson and his (as yet unknown) first wife. By 1850, 18-year-old Charles was living in the household of Charles Willard, an innkeeper.

About 1857 Charles married Lucy Bridges Taylor, also from Louisville. They were enumerated in Louisville in the 1860 census, along with their 1-year-old son, Wellington David (“David W.”) Wilson, who had been born November 27, 1859.

By January 1867 the family had begun its slow progress westward; in that month a second son, Oric Edward, was born in West Union, Iowa. Enumerated in the 1870 census in Madison Township in Buchanan County, (about 33 miles from West Union), the family added another son, Samuel Warner Wilson, on January 6, 1873.

Charles, Lucy, and their two younger sons were still in West Union in 1880, where Charles was working as a butcher; Wellington David, my 2G-grandfather, had married in 1879 and was enumerated in Eden Township (18 miles distant). He continued to migrate in tandem with his parents and brothers, though they never again lived in the same household. By 1885, Charles and family had moved to Knox County, Nebraska; in June of that year they were enumerated in Niobrara Precinct in the 1885 Nebraska State Census. In another 10 years the family had moved some 270 miles north, to Roberts County, South Dakota. There the family was enumerated in 1900 in Long Hollow Township. About a year later Lucy died.

In April 1910 Charles was enumerated in the home of his son Samuel, by now married and with a son of his own. Charles lived only another three months after the census enumeration, dying on July 18. On his death certificate his doctor indicated he had been attending Charles since June 1. Charles was just shy of his 79th birthday, but his cause of death is listed as “senility,” one of many age-related causes found on old death certificates.  At least it wasn’t “decrepitude” or “senile gangrene.”

Sympathy Saturday – Grandma Wilson

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Of my 8 great-grandparents, the only one I ever met was Grandma Wilson: Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. Had she not lived to the age of 97, I might not have met her either. As it was, I only met her once, when I was three. I have dim memories of that meeting, of visiting the nursing home where she lived, and the fact that she gave me a dollar.

Sophie was born November 5, 1881 in Boone County, Nebraska, the daughter of Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, who were both born in Norway. On March 13, 1907 Sophie married Carl Ozro Wilson in Boone County, and they had a total of 10 children: Anders Clarence, Blanche Agnes (my grandma), Ozro Willie, Pearl Jeanette, Clarence Salmer, Woodrow, Mildred Genevieve, Irene Sophie, Maude Lucille, and Lester Laverne.

About 1915 the family moved from Nebraska to South Dakota; in 1920 they were enumerated in Cody, Mellette County. By 1930 Sophie and Carl had separated; that year’s census finds Carl living as a boarder in a hotel in Wood, South Dakota, and Sophie and her children in Witten, South Dakota, where she is employed taking in washing. Carl died in 1939, and in 1940 Sophie and those children still left at home are again in Witten, though the information she provided indicates that five years earlier she had been living in rural Tripp County.

Beginning in 1964 Grandma Wilson resided at the Winner Nursing Home in Winner, South Dakota; she suffered from diabetes. She died at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls on September 24, 1979, a little more than a month shy of her 98th birthday. She was buried September 27 in the Winner Cemetery, near her estranged husband as well as her infant son Woodrow, who had died more than 60 years earlier.

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Wednesday’s Child – the Second Wilson Loss

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Recently I wrote about the death of my Grandma Montgomery’s older brother Anders Clarence. She was less than a year old when he died, so of course would have no memories of this particular loss. Tragedy struck again eight years later, and this loss Grandma would certainly remember.

In July 1917 Grandma was 8 1/2 years old. After the death of Anders, three more children had been born: Ozro Willie, born June 9, 1911; Pearl Jeanette, born November 15, 1912; and Clarence Salmer, born August 29, 1915. On July 21, 1917, another son was born to Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson in Wood, South Dakota. He was named Woodrow Wilson after the current president. Eventually four more children were added to the family: Mildred Genevieve, born April 16, 1919; Irene Sophie, born June 2, 1921; Maude Lucille, born June 23, 1923; and Lester Laverne, born June 11, 1925. Baby Woodrow, however, would live only two days. His death certificate lists his cause of death as “colick.”  He was buried in the Winner Cemetery in Winner, South Dakota. Many years later his parents were laid to rest beside him.

Wednesday’s Child – Anders Clarence Wilson

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Anders Clarence Wilson, my grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s older brother, was born August 13, 1907 in Boone County, Nebraska. He was the oldest child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, Blanche, was born a little over a year later, on December 17, 1908.  Eight months later, on his second birthday, Anders died.  According to his death certificate, his cause of death was cholera infantum. This disease, also known as “summer complaint,” was apparently a form of dysentery affecting children that was more prevalent in the hot summer months. Anders was laid to rest in the South Branch Lutheran Church Cemetery in Boone County. Ten years later his grandmother, Agnette (Lien) Roberg was buried beside him, and his grandfather and namesake another twenty-five years after that.

A Life in Census (Almost)

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Charles William Montgomery, my great-grandfather, was born January 17, 1861 in Lynchburg, Ohio, the son of John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery.  By 1870 his family had moved to Denver Township, Richland County, Illinois, where they were enumerated that year in June.  In the household that year are John, age 40; Belinda, age 31; Hattie, age 10; Charles, age 8; Franklin, age 7; Thomas, age 6; Harry, age 4; and Edward, age 2. John’s birthplace is listed as New Jersey, Belinda’s and the first three children’s as Ohio, and the youngest three children’s as Illinois.

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In 1880, Charles, age 19, is still living at home with his parents in Richland County, but more children have been added to the family.  It now consists of John, age 50; Belinda, age 42; Hattie F., age 20; Chas W., age 19; Samuel F., age 18; Thos. M., age 16; Silas H., age 14; James E., age 12; Joseph T., age 8; John W., age 6; and Emma L., age 4.  The five oldest boys are all listed as “working on farm.”

1880 United States Federal Census for Charles W. Montgomery

Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, so the next time we find Charles is in the 1900 census. By this time Charles has been married to Laura Maud Walker for 17 years and has moved to Holdrege, Nebraska.  Charles and Laura are the parents of six children; their youngest, my grandfather Lawrence, will be born the following year.  The household consists of Charles W., born January 1861; Laura, born July 1862; Myrtle P., born February 1884; Mamie E., born October 1886; Bessie B., born December 1888; Alta G., born August 1889; Walter D., born March 1898; and John W., born October 1899. Charles’s occupation is listed as butcher.

There is another 20-year gap in the census records before we find Charles again. Several of his children appear in various locations in the 1910 census, but to date I have yet to locate either Charles or Lawrence.  Between 1900 and 1920 the family underwent a number of changes. In December 1904 Charles’s wife, Laura, entered the Pueblo State Hospital in Colorado, where she remained for the rest of her life.  Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, and Elta/Alta all married before 1910.  According to Grandpa (Lawrence), his father spent some of the intervening years “riding the range with Buffalo Bill.”  I have yet to determine what kernel of truth (if any) is to be found in that story!

In 1920 Charles finally reappears, now living in Fort Collins, Colorado.  He is one of many “roomers” living at 224 Linden Street, his family now dispersed.  He is listed as C. W. Montgomery, age 57, with “farm laborer” his occupation. It appears that this residence was known as Antler’s Hotel and still stands in Fort Collins.

1920 United States Federal Census for C W Montgomery

By April 1930, Charles is still living in Fort Collins but has moved about two blocks away, to 326 Walnut Street.  He is now a lodger in the home of Charles and Minnie Reingold, Russian immigrants and proprietors of a junk store.  Charles is listed as age 69, paying $10 a month in rent.  He is employed as watchman at the G. W. (Great Western) Sugar Factory.

1930 United States Federal Census for Charles W MontgomeryGreat Western Sugar Factory

Charles’s wife Laura died in the Pueblo State Hospital in 1933.  Seven years later Charles has returned to Linden Street, though his street number is now 222. He is paying $10 rent again and is now listed as age 72 and unable to work.  Details provided by Charles indicate the highest educational level he completed was the eighth grade. The proprietors of Antler’s Hotel are Charles and Mary Bohnke.

1940 United States Federal Census

About a year after this final census, Charles married a woman named Lyle who was born about 1884. In January 1942, Charles died at age 80 of a coronary occlusion.  He was buried on January 16 in Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins.

Charles Montgomery Death CertificateCharles Montgomery Headstone