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In the last week or so, I have been trying to flesh out more of the family of one of my paternal Great-grandfathers, William Henry Taylor.  William Henry, or W H as he is often listed in records, was born in West Virginia.  A few years after marrying my Great-grandmother, they moved to Nebraska.  They moved around over the years, and in earlier blog posts I have detailed the moves.  Eventually, my Great-grandparents settled in Malden, Missouri, where they lived out their remaining years.

What I originally set out to do was to locate the birth record for William Henry Taylor. I knew his birth information from his obituary and his death certificate.  There was a one day discrepancy between the two.  While both showed November, 1857 as the month and year, the obituary listed the day as the 10th, while the death certificate listed it as the 11th.  Which one was correct?

From the death certificate, I also knew the names of both parents:  John C Taylor and Eliza Ann Oldaker.  I hoped I wouldn’t have much difficulty in locating the birth certificate for William Henry.

My research was done on the search site for West Virginia Vital Records.  If you have family from West Virginia, I recommend using this site if you want to find records of birth, marriage, or death.  While most records start in the 1850’s, there are a few counties that go back to the 1790’s, long before West Virginia was declared a state in 1863.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.  W H was proving to be elusive.  He however, was not the only child of John and Eliza Taylor, and I had more success with some of his siblings.

 

These are the names of the children of John and Eliza Taylor in birth order (name in bold type means I have found their birth record:

  • Lydia A (have also seen Phoebe A M listed on a record as an alternate name)
  • Benjamin Ison
  • William Henry
  • Joseph Elza
  • Alonzo F
  • Aaron L
  • Luretta A J (have seen Lunetta R as an alternate name)
  • Margarett J
  • John C

This post deals with the youngest sibling I have found:  John C Taylor.

I believe John C was likely named after his father.  I don’t know much about naming traditions yet, but I have seen a lot of children whose names were a combination of their grandparents names (a hint on Ancestry.com that I haven’t followed yet shows that my 3x Great-grandfather could be Henry Taylor and I believe William could have been an Oldaker based on other hints I’ve received.

I found John’s birth record quite easily:

The year is 1880.  As you can see, the date of birth is April 8th.

The year is 1880. As you can see, the date of birth is April 8th.

Being this was the beginning of a new decade, the US Census was likely to have a record for baby John, and I was not disappointed.  This was the household on June 12, 1880:

 

As you can see, the oldest four children, including my Great-grandfather, are no longer living with their parents.  Notice that both mother and child are listed as ill at the time of the census.  I cannot be sure, but it looks like the word listed there might be dysentry - possibly dysentery.  Dropsy is also listed as an illness for the mother.  The older John's sister Catherine is living with them.  Is she there perhaps to help take care of her sick nephew and his mother?

As you can see, the oldest four children, including my Great-grandfather, are no longer living with their parents. Notice that both mother and child are listed as ill at the time of the census. I cannot be sure, but it looks like the word listed there might be dysentry – possibly dysentery. Dropsy is also listed as an illness for the mother. The older John’s sister Catherine is living with them. Is she there perhaps to help take care of her sick nephew and his mother?

Wikipedia lists dysentery as “an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing blood and mucus in the feces with fever, abdominal pain, and rectal tenesmus (a feeling of incomplete defecation), caused by any kind of infection.”  Dropsy is edema or swelling, and could be caused by any number of factors, including diseases of the kidneys or heart.

Especially for such a young child, dysentery could have serious consequences, as the diarrhea could cause dehydration.  And, unfortunately for young John, that was the case:

The death record says the cause of death was not known.  John died on June 16th, just 4 days after the Census was completed.

The death record says the cause of death was not known. John died on June 16th, just 4 days after the Census was completed.

It is sad to see any life cut short.  For this one life, three records are all that we have to show the brief span of time that young John was on this earth.

 

 

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