Friday, March 11, 2011

Fearless Females - Tragedy!

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?
 I would venture to say that virtually every family has had someone die early, from tragic or unexpected circumstances.  And of those, I would bet considerably more than half were female, for the simple reason that childbirth before modern medicine was a very hazardous thing, for both the mother and the infant.  We all have examples of children born dead, or dying soon after birth.  There are entire sites devoted to tombstones of such children. 

My own example is my paternal great-grandmother, Arminthia "Belle" Wiseman, about whom I've written before.  She was married to Clyde Taylor Dillman, the pivotal figure in my paternal line.  Born in April of 1886, she married Clyde Taylor Dillman on 14 Aug 1904 at age 18.  Like most young newlyweds of the time, they got pregnant very soon after, and Orville Wayne Dillman was their first child.  Estel Elmer was next, my paternal grandfather, followed by Clyde Landis, Howard Carter and Reva, the last being born 26 Sep 1916.  All of them have now passed away.  Arminthia herself passed away on 01 Feb 1920, aged not quite 34 years, when little Reva was only three and a half years old.  Vague notes indicate she may have died of influenza, a common cause of the time.  Now it gets murky.  It looks like Clyde Taylor Dillman left the family with another family named Sackesteder to be raised by them.  The 1930 US Census shows Clyde Taylor living across the river in Louisville, Kentucky, where he died in 1967.  Clyde no longer figures in family photos and notes after that point.  Estel considered the Sackesteders to be family, and had numerous photographs of them, one even labeled "Mother" (see my post on Estel's Navy Log for more on that).  It looks like Belle's death broke the family apart. 

This is not a huge surprise, given Clyde Taylor's own tragic childhood!

In honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.