52 Ancestors Week 12 - Misfortune

+16 votes

Week 12: Misfortune
There is a growing body of study showing that the more that children know about their family's history, the more resilient they are. This is especially true if children hear about the hard times as well as the good times.

There is no family tree that has not has some misfortune. This week, I encourage you to explore some of it. It doesn't have to be a heart-wrenching tragedy. It could be a set-back in business or a missed opportunity. Write about something that didn't go the way your ancestor would have wanted or had planned.

You could call this one Bad Luck - the opposite of last week.


asked in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
Very sad one -- Chisholm-1043

The story I was told was that the baby was sleeping on a blanket in the field while the family was burning brush. The fire got out of control and engulfed the field, and the baby died before anyone could reach him.
That's horrible!  How does one live with oneself after something like that.  I imagine the guilt was unbearable.
Each of the stories here is a heart breaker!  So much pain and suffering and death.  It just shows how common this kind of thing was for our ancestors.  

Many of these people died young.  So it is good that we can remember them here and honor their short lives.  

Some died as adults but all faced terrible situations.  And so did their families who survived despite the pain and loss.
Ed williams died of tb after having a long illness. His children were farmed out to family members. His youngest daughter Angie married a man, Jamie Long, who died young from peritonitis after a burst appendix leaving 2 small girl children. His daughter died at 63 from perotonitis after a perforated intestine. Five of her six daughters died of cancer and the 6th was born without a thyroid and still lives at 58. Her 2nd oldest daughter lost her husband in a car accident. She was 24 he was 26

23 Answers

+14 votes

I'll go first. There has not been a lot of bad luck in our family that I am aware of. However, I would call a case of medical gross negligence as a misfortune.

It was only a headache.

Everyone gets a headache from time to time.

Busy mothers often get headaches.

Nothing to get concerned about. But it was quite persistent. So much so that even Gaynor, who liked to keep going and not “give in”, eventually went to the doctor. “May be a pinched nerve. We’ll have a physiotherapist see if she can help.” Still the headaches persisted.

She went back to him again. “Perhaps we’d better have a closer look at it. I’ll book you in for a scan…. After Easter… Will that be okay?”  

There seemed no urgency. After Easter was fine.

It was during the afternoon of the Wednesday after Easter when Gaynor lay down for a rest. She didn’t wake up.

The brain tumour that had been causing the pain blocked a vital pathway causing pressure of the cerebro-spinal fluid to build up.  It reached a point where the vital brain functions simply shut down.

Source - Unpublished Memoirs.
A Memoir, Looking back over a Lifetime, Chapter 7
by Norman Thompson, 2004


The month was April 1993. The place was New Zealand. I remember getting a phonecall from my brother-in-law Gavin Riddell at 10 PM one night telling me that my sister had died suddenly. All he knew was that she had had some really bad headaches. I didn't sleep that night at all. I was up early the next morning booking a bus ticket to travel from Auckland down to Ngaruawahia to be with the family. I also had to call my place of employment and tell them that I was taking at least a week off because my sister had just died and that I would not be back until after the funeral.

I left Auckland around 12 noon and I got to Ngaruawahia around 2 pm. I was the first one from my family to arrive.

My parents and younger sister were living in Dunedin at the time. My parents were out that evening. Gavin could not get hold of them so he had resorted to calling the Dunedin police and requesting them to go and tell them. Dad told me years later that when he and mum got home from their evening out, to be greeted by the police car in their driveway, they just knew that it was Gaynor. They had previously known about her headaches whereas I had had no idea at all.

So Dad had to scramble to find plane tickets for 3 adults and 1 child - dad, mum, my sister Trisha and Trisha's son Andrew. They eventually arrived at Ngaruawahia around 8 pm on the day after Gaynor died. I had been there for 6 hours by that time.

The funeral was held 5 days later and the church was packed. Because this was the Waikato, a lot of Gaynors friends, Gavin's familys friends and relatives and also a lot of our old family friends from the Waikato town we girls had grown up in, all came to the funeral. There were some people there that I had not seen for close to 20 years.  

I also remember a doctor sitting us all down in a private room at the church and telling us that a polyp (he never called it a cyst - which is the correct name - and it was never a tumour) had broken off in the brain and eventually starting blocking up the cerebral spinal fluid. The pressure of the build up is what killed her. He also said it was just one of those one-in-million flukes and should never happen again.

He turned out to be wrong!! It did happen again.  

This is what I call a misfortune. The medical community of New Zealand, should have been more vigilant. Instead of putting off Gaynor's complaints as "just a migraine" they should have tested and scanned her a lot sooner than they did. They could have discovered the cyst earlier and operated to remove it, thus saving my sisters life. Gaynor was only 32 years old when she died. She had 3 children all under the age of 6 at the time. None of whom have been added to wikitree - yet.

Next month (April 2018) will be the 25th anniversary of her passing.

answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
Oh so sorry, what a sad story.
Thank you Kay.
So sad... Sorry that you lost your sister that way...
What a tragic story. So sorry for your loss.
I'm so sorry for your loss Robynne.
+12 votes
Unfortunately there are many to pick from. I'll use the story behind the reason my aunt was afraid of the water...

Noel Scranton https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Scranton-225 was age 9 and his brother Dale Scranton https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Scranton-226 was age 7 when they went fishing at a pond near the farm in May of 1918 and drowned in a spring flood. Rescue efforts were described in a clipping from the Waterloo Evening Courier, (Waterloo, Iowa), 24 May 1918:

Substantial Help Given Parents of Two Lads Who Drowned Traer, Ia., May 24. - The funeral of the little sons of George Scranton, of Geneseo township, who were reported missing a few days ago, was held at the home yesterday. The bodies of the children were found in the creek about three-quarters of a mile from home on Tuesday night. The first one was found caught in the branch of a submerged tree and several hours later the other was found about 30 feet from it. The receding waters made the finding possible. In the meantime, hundreds of people had assisted in the search. Bloodhounds were employed, a pond was pumped dry and sympathizing workers even dug in the sand. If the children entered the water at this point, the high water evidently carried them over the bank into the creek beyond. The children had been missing since Saturday. Both little bodies were laid to rest in the same casket. Funeral services were at the house. Mr. Scranton is the father of six children living yet. Sympathizing friends expressed their feelings in a vital way. Neighbors made up a purse of $300. Traer contributed $200 and Dysart a like amount.
answered by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
Oh yes - I probably could have used the tragic drowning of 2 of my  grandfathers siblings during WW1 - drats, I didnt think of that.


See the newspaper article.
+13 votes
My story is also a drowning.  This story goes back to the Puritans.  Apparently, in this one community, they lived around a large lake.  They had a community boat which everyone was allowed to use to go fishing.  So this one woman lost her husband and was left with 5 hungry children under the age of 10.  She remarried, but her new husband turned out to be a ne'er-do-well, a bit of a drunk, and definitely not a good provider.  So it came to pass that they were all very hungry, so she loaded all her kids into the little boat to go fishing, but on the SABBATH!  This was strictly forbidden.  So when the boat overturned, they all drowned.  There were people on the shore, but no one tried to help her because it served her right, going fishing on the Sabbath!
answered by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
Such a nasty attitude!! Such a tragic ending!!
Those Puritans could be very nasty! Sad story.
Wow! That's horrible!
+13 votes
One of my ancestors, a 9-greats grandfather, Thomas Cornell, II, (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cornell-73) was hanged in Portsmouth, R.I., in 1673, for the murder of his mother, Rebecca (Briggs) Cornell. She was found dead in her room near the fireplace, with her clothes and body burned. A small wound was found on her upper abdomen during the 2nd autopsy.  He was convicted on hearsay and "spectral" evidence (a dream). He claimed innocence. She may have fallen on her knitting needles. She had also been reported to be depressed and suicidal.

From a quote from the Friends' records on his bio:

"Rebecca Cornell, widow, was killed strangely, at Portsmouth, in her own dwelling house, was twice viewed by the Coroner's Inquest, digged up and buried again by her husband's grave in their own land.' Her son Thomas was charged with her murder, but although the jury's verdict in regard to this affair was, that 'he did murder his mother Rebecca, or was aiding or abetting thereto;' yet the evidence in the case would seem to have been in no way conclusive. There was much evidence taken. The son said in his own defense that having discoursed with his mother about an hour and a half he went into the next room and staid three-quarters of an hour. His wife then sent his son Edward to his grandmother to know whether she would have some milk boiled for her supper. The child saw some fire on the floor and came back and fetched the candle. Then Henry Straight, myself and the rest followed in a huddle. Henry Straight saw what he supposed was an Indian, drunk and burnt on the floor, but when Thomas Cornell perceived by the light of the candle who it was, he cried, 'Oh Lord it is my mother.' Her clothes and body were much burned, and the jury found a wound on uppermost part of stomach. "John Briggs [Rebecca's brother] testified as to an apparition of a woman that appeared at his bedside in a dream, and he cried out 'in the name of God what art thou,' and the apparition answered, 'I am your sister Cornell' and thrice said 'see how I was burnt with fire. '"John Russell, of Dartmouth, testified that George Soule told him (since the decease of Rebecca Cornell), that once coming to the house of Rebecca, in Portsmouth, she told him that in the spring, she intended to go and dwell with her son Samuel, but she feared she would be made away with before that. Thomas, Stephen, Edward and John Cornell (sons of Thomas), gave testimony as to their grandmother's death, saying their father was last with her. "Mary Cornell, wife to John, aged twenty-eight years, testified that three or four years past being at her mother-in-law, Rebecca Cornell's, and meeting her on returning from the orchard to the house, she said to deponent that she had been running after pigs and being weak and no help and she being disregarded, she thought to have stabbed a penknife into her heart, that she had in her hand, and then she should be rid of her trouble, but it came to her mind 'resist the Devil and he will flee from you' and then she said she was well satisfied."

Another tragedy in my family is that Henry Kinne  (probably my 9-greats grandfather https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kinne-30 , but might have been his son Henry Jr., my 9-greats uncle https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kinney-302) was at Salem during the witchcraft trials, and testified against Rebecca (Towne) Nurse.  "Henry Kinne rose up to speak. he entered his complaint & farther said that since this Nurse came into the house he was seized twice with an 'amazd' condition." (Trial transcripts) He also complained about  Martha Corey.

Rebecca was found innocent by jury, but the court reversed that, and she was hanged as a witch. Martha Corey was also hanged.

Henry Kinne Sr.'s grandson, John Kinne, married Rebecca (Towne) Nurse's granddaughter, Rebecca Nurse, so Rebecca (Towne) Nurse was the grandmother of my 8-greats uncle. Not a direct ancestor of mine, but a karmic event.
answered by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 2 (25.2k points)
edited by Alison Gardner
My goodness!  What a tragedy!  It doesn't sound like she had any money, or I would think this was a fight over inheritance.

Thomas Cornell is loosely related to me as well. My ancestor married his widow. My ancestor's mother was executed as a witch. There is about Rebecca Cornell that looks interesting. I want to read it one day. It's called Killed Strangley, The Death of Rebecca Cornell http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100409080

Well, then, we're in-laws! Double on the in-law, as I'm descended from his and his 1st wife's son Stephen.
How about that! I have to go back and find Stephen. I guess it was a small world back in colonial times. The families intersect a lot. The Cornell family is so interesting, I'd like to find out more about them even though it's not a DNA relative.  I'm sure you know about the Lizzie Borden connection. The founder of Cornell University is also from this line of Cornells.
Cornell University was founded by Ezra Cornell (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cornell-428). He was also descended from the fore-mentioned Thomas Cornell through his son Stephen, his son Stephen, his son Elijah, and his son Elijah, who is Ezra's father. I am descended from Thomas' son Stephen's son William's daughter, Alse, who married a Gifford.
There was an inheritance involved in the Thomas Cornell case. Rebecca had given him the family home as his estate, and felt that she wasn't being cared for in the manner she deserved. Whether he also got money, I do not know. She had other children she may also have given money to. I should see if I can find the records. Does anyone else put there have them? She accused Thomas of being cheap with the heat. She wanted a maid. There were threats on both sides of charging rent to the other. And there was conflict between Rebecca and Thomas' 2nd wife. There are some extensive quotes from the trial at Rebecca's wikitree page: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Briggs-237. More about this story can be found at: http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/1673-murder-rebecca-cornell-good-fire/ and https://youcouldbewrong.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/wrongful-convictions-in-history-thomas-cornell-jr-1673/ and http://swordandscale.com/the-unusual-death-of-rebecca-cornell/ and http://www.executedtoday.com/2011/05/23/1673-thomas-cornell/
Hi Alison, That was me who left the earlier comment about Stephen. I wasn't signed in. Thank you for posting those links. I'm going to check them out later. I can't believe The Cornell story isn't a movie. I'd watch it!
Here's what I've found on the will--found on Rebbeca Briggs' wikitree page above, and also Bob Wolfe's page on Rebecca and Thomas Cornell (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m5037x5040.htm)

1664 "Will of Rebecca Cornell, widow of Thomas, dated 2 September 1664, proved 1673. Gave her Portsmouth lands to son Thomas and his eldest son Thomas and his wife Elizabeth. To son Richard, land at Acushnet Accoxet in Dartmouth (now New Bedford and Westport, Mass.). Bequest to son William. To sons John, Samuel, and Joshua, lands at Accoxet. To daughter Sarah, lands in the Bronx (New York). To daughter Anne and her husband Thomas (i.e. Thomas Kent), ten acres in Portsmouth. To daughter Rebecca, land in the Bronx. Bequests to daughters Elizabeth and Mary. The will disposes of a considerable amount of plate. (Original will among the unrecorded papers at the Portsmouth Town House.)"
Any film maker out there interested?
In another little twist to the Thomas Cornell, Jr. event, my 10-greats uncle, George Soule, Jr., testified against Thomas in the trial.

"George Soule aged 34 years or there abouts being engaged saith that he being at Mr. Thom Cornell's house on Rhode Island ye same day Mathre Allin's house was burned, in the winter last and this deponent speaking with Mrs Rebecca Cornell she said she would go live with her son Samuell ye next spring. This deponent urging her yet she was better where she was; she said yet a difference was arisen between her and her son Thomas about rent. This Deponent sayd she spoke unadcisodly to say she would remove she replated wt doth this tend too, She said he would have the Hundred Pound bond out of her hand. And this Deponent saith she said she would go live with her son in the spring if she was not othersife disposed of or made away and further this deponent saith not. Taken this first day of March 1672/3"

(I updated some of the spelling and grammar to make it more understandable. There were a couple passages I couldn't decipher, myself.)
+6 votes
I am in for this one too it will take me some time to get this one also.
answered by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (238k points)
+8 votes

That would be my 3rd great grandmother, Charlotte (Burch) Springate (1809 - 1863) ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Burch-1183 ).

Her first, minor, misfortune was having my 2nd great grandmother, Elizabeth (Burch) Pilcher, out of wedlock in 1835.

Then she married Richard Springate in 1841 and had 6 children with him. 5 of them died between March and September of  1855, aged  4 to 11.  Only the eldest, Harriet, survived, and she may have been living with an aunt.

I have not been able to determine what they died of. There was a cholera outbreak, which included parts of Folkestone, in 1854.  I do not know if it was still active in 1855.

Losing 5 children in such a short time must have been absolutely devastating.

answered by Janet Gunn G2G6 Mach 5 (57.6k points)
+9 votes
This week I have chosen Ann Stayley. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stayley-11 Ann was my second great grandmother. She had the misfortune of being an illegitimate child, born in Alfreton Poor House, Derbyshire, England. Ann married when she was 16 year old, and she was pregnant at the time of her marriage. Sadly when her son was born he only lived a few months. Ann and her husband had another five children, and for a time she might have had some happiness and security. Sadly her husband died young, leaving Ann with five children between the ages of 1 and 13 years to care for. Ann moved her family to find work and life must have been difficult. Her eldest son worked as a coal miner, but was killed in an explosion at Ripley Colliery in Derbyshire. She must have been devastated by his death, and she passed away 8 months later. She was only 46 year old and left a young family. Her youngest son was still only 13 years old when she died..
answered by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Mach 4 (49.2k points)
+8 votes
Well, here I go again.  Can't seem to get away from the family murder.

My grandmother, Carrie Freeman, had a  number of misfortunes in her life.  Her mother died when she was very young (about 3 or so).  She and her 2 sisters were put in an orphanage by their father, who thankfully retrieved them several years later after he had remarried.  Then her sister's (Addie) husband, killed their other sister, Lucille, and tried to kill their father (you have all heard that story several times).  

Carrie's misfortune continued even though in a happy marriage with Grady Atkinson as she gave birth to seven children of which only two lived into adulthood.  Five were either stillborn or died within 1 day of birth.  I just can't imagine going through five pregnancies only to lose the precious baby at birth or very shortly afterward.  

Then her husband died in 1953 after 42 years of marriage, leaving her a widow until her death 34 years later.

answered by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+9 votes

My misfortune is that the internet was in its infancy in 2000 when my 86 year old mother-in-law died. At the time of her death, she couldn't remember the name of her father https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Massey-3100 who had been killed in the First World War when she was two. I've now uncovered the full story and I'm sad I couldn't share it with her. Here's that story.


answered by Fiona Gilliver G2G6 Mach 6 (62.6k points)
+8 votes
Near the beginning of the French and Indian War, John Markll who had married Miss Anna Zimmerman, of St. Johnsville, began a residence in the westerly part of Minden. In the summer of 1757 Markell and his wife left home, she with a child in her arms, to go to a neighbors. A short distance from their home they saw about a dozen armed indians. Markell was shot with the bullet going through his body and lodging in his wife's body. They both fell to the ground, the child falling from her arms. She landed face down and feigned death even as her husband was tomahawked and scalped. An indian placed his knees against her shoulders and with his teeth tore off a section of her scalp. A third indian killed the crying infant. The indians didn't linger long and left their victims all for dead. It is impossible to imagine the agony of this brave woman who was conscious all the time but didn't move a muscle. About two years later she married Christian Getman and lived a long and useful life. She died in April 1821 at the age of about 85 years. It is said that throughout her life she concealed the loss of her scalp by combing her hair over the area or wearing a black skull cap. She went on to have at least 6 other children. A terrible tale of a life that could have been shattered but persevered and found strength to carry on.
answered by Sharon Teppen G2G2 (2.6k points)
+6 votes

The prompt was misfortune, but the sentence "There is a growing body of study showing that the more that children know about their family's history, the more resilient they are."- this is what stuck with me. I wrote about my brother who he died of cancer. I hadn't thought about how tragic his life was for a long time. Just when things were looking up - cancer. It was unbelievable.
Story is here: http://www.libbyonthelabel.ca/2018/03/52-ancestors-week-12-misfortune.html#more   His wiki page is here, but only his GEDCOM info so far. I'll edit it after I take a break from the whole sad situation.  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Park-2835





answered by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (12.6k points)
+5 votes
I also have a drowning story that I have shared with my grandchildren. My grandmother was hanging out the laundry and her 2yr son was playing outside with her and fell into the well and drowned. I haven't yet put the story on her profile but I did put it on my grandfather's his part in it anyway. [[Jondreau-4]]
answered by Rose Edwards G2G6 Mach 1 (12.9k points)
+4 votes
I have several who fall into this category..

First from my Dad's Dad's side  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Penny-1014

Llewellyn Miller Pennie who was gassed during WWI, returned to the front lines as part of the Canadian Cycle Corps and was killed 3 days before the war officially ended.  

From my Dad's Mom's side  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gebhardt-333 Bertha knocked over a whale oil lamp and suffered catastrophic burns.  She lingered for about 3 days before dying.  

From my Mom's Mom's line  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Woerner-46  Frank Woerner who died of whooping cough as a child.

From my Mom's Dad's side the family of John T. born Schniederalbers assumed last name Hempen.  John's biological father and sister died in the Cholera Epidemic in St Louis.  His mother remarried and he assumed the name of his stepfather, Hempen.  Family lore is he was very close to his step father.  He fell and broke his arm and gangrene set in killing him.  This left his family in dire straits with his wife taking in washing and his son going to work at 13 to make ends meet

.  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Schniederalbers-1
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
+7 votes

Since nothing says misfortune quite like being a passenger on the Titanic, I've profiled my 2nd great grand uncle, Charles Leonard Kirkland, a cabinet maker and Baptist preacher who died on the Titanic.


answered by Leanne Cooper G2G6 Mach 3 (33.4k points)
Very nice story!!
Titanic leaped from your answer and I had to read your link right away!  More than the story I am in absolute awe at your beautiful website. Great work!   I greatly admire how you've set it up, something I could never do.  I signed up for your posts and now I am a fan.  I have so many ancestors I could write about on this project, but I don't have the time to detail out their lives and connections on wikitree.   I enjoy history and love reading all stories.
Cheryl - Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog! You'd be surprised at how easy it was to set up!! I got a WordPress account and chose one of their templates. Besides the banner (which I did quite quickly, with a plan to do a better one later on), the rest is all WordPress template. So I can really only take credit for the words, not the design :)
+5 votes

My first cousin once removed Neal Hatherill joined the United States Army in February of 1941. Ironically, at the time his family thought that he had been assigned a safer location in the Philippines rather than  Europe. Instead Neal had the misfortune to be part of the Philippines Campaign became a prisoner of war after the United States surrender and died 3 June 1942 during the Bataan Death March

This was not talked about when I was growing up.  I now realize that the family went through a tremendous amount of stress knowing he had been taken prisoner in May of 1942, but not knowing if he was dead or alive during most of the war years.  It was something too painful to remember.

Neal was just six months older than my mother and there were lots of childhood snapshots of her that included him so I always knew of him and that he had died in the war.  But, I had no idea how terrible it must been until 2014 when the local library had a program that included  Dr.Eugene Bleil a survivor who had written a book  Consigned to Death Six Times about his experiences as a POW in the Philippines.  It was incredibly horrible and powerful to hear his story.  Sometimes history is painful to learn.







answered by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 1 (11.9k points)
+3 votes

can't believe the week slipped by so fast!

I'm in... although obviously I didn't complete the prompt for Week 12 in Week 12... maybe I'll catch up by Week 15.

Anyway, my ancestor for Week 12 is Benjamin Galtney - husband to Week 10's Hannah Earhart (Strong Women). He was "killed by a falling tree"... in Mississippi before 1800 - of all the things that could befall one, it was a falling tree that did him in. Looking at his profile, it's one of the earlier ones that I created & it could do with a re-vamp.

Cheers, Liz

answered by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (297k points)
+2 votes
My story actually deals with two families that delt with misfortune with in days of each other.

The first misfortune was the sinking of the RMS Athens on May 17, 1865 Table Bay South Africa. As many know that around and near the Cape of Good Hope and Table Bay the weather can be treacherous at best.

The storm was a major storm and caused major damage in the cape area.

My 1 st cousin 4 times removed  David Smith,https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Smith-153708. was the Capt of the ill fated Athens. All hands were lost except the 2 and 3 mates as they were ashore and unable to get to the ship because of the storm.

It is said he wife cried herself to death with in months of this incident.

I have a copy of a letter that David wrote home you can find it here. This was early in his sailing days.


Here is more of his story http://www.jayrays.com/Wandering_Roots/2012/01/17/maritime-mondaycapt-david-smith/

The second family was directly affected by this accident half way accross the world in Canada. My 2x great grandmother Ellen Smith, David's cousin had lost her husband on the 6 March 1865 to a boiler accident, upon hearing this David had promised to help her as he could. Because David lost his life in May, Ellen was forced to part out her family as she was a young mother of 5 with twins on the way when her young husband perished.

I have not worked up her profile as of yet, that is next on the docket.
answered by Julia Hogston G2G6 (7.4k points)
edited by Julia Hogston
Such sad stories, Julia.
Even out of these sad stories, comes hope. Had Ellen not moved to Chicago to support the family. Her daughter my great grandmother would never have met her future husband...and as they say here I sit telling the rest of the story :D
+2 votes

My great grandfather, Arthur Earl Mattson, who I wrote about earlier and his wood stove, had a catastrophe with his gas stove.  It was brand new and it was popping and he thought it might catch on fire. The family was preparing food for a huge 4th of July event the next day. He tried to move it to safety and instead the flaw in the stove set him on fire. He died from smoke inhalation

answered by Susan Fitzmaurice G2G6 Mach 3 (38.7k points)
+3 votes

I'm way behind as I got distracted by the bio-builder's challenge!

So for this one, I have to choose Stephen Sandwell  Sandwell-23 who tragically died at the age of 25 leaving behind a pregnant widow with 3 young children. 

The Sandwell family of Margate were mariners and coastguards - Stephen went with a group of 4 other men in a boat towards a ship out at sea (not sure exactly in what capacity) when they were "overset by a sudden squall". Stephen was the only one who didn't survive.

answered by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
+1 vote
My brother-in-law, James; nickname - Moocher. You see, in this lovely family of 12 children, everyone had a nickname. So marrying into it wasn't easy. You had to remember 24 names - their real name and their nickname.

My brother-in-law is the sweetest person ever. One of those guys that will give you a kiss and hug every time he sees you, and twice if you stand there long enough.

Moocher's granddaughter is getting married in October, and all he wants to do is be there for her wedding.

But one month ago, he turned yellow. He didn't notice it himself - nope - somebody else told him he looked yellow, and should probably go to the doctor. He wasn't going to go, but his daughter-in-law (the Nurse) told him he better.

He did, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors thought they had caught it in time and would be able to do the "whipple" surgery on him. All they had to do was have him cleared through a physical for surgery.

During the physical, they found out he had a bad heart. Can't do surgery with a bad heart, so they will have to fix the heart. But - Moocher has been on high doses of anti-biotics and some of the yellow should be going away, but it isn't. What is wrong?

There is a blockage. So they insert a stent in his kidneys to help the flow, and now are going to try to figure out what to do with the heart. The stent isn't working properly, so they had to remove that and re-insert another one.

Can't seem to figure out what to do with the heart, and don't want to wait on the pancreas, so they decide to do chemo.

This was two weeks ago.  Last week they discovered two more growths - one on each of his kidneys. Yesterday, while doing chemo, they discovered two more growths - on his male private parts.

With two more chemo treatments to go, Moocher is losing all hopes of doing the only thing he had to live for, and that was to go to see his granddaughter get married in October.
answered by Cheryl Hess G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
My condolences, to you and your family.

How kind of you, Robynne. Thank you. broken heart

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