Family Tree info for Farmer Kitty and others

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Linda in San Diego, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. country lady

    country lady Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    I say let the chips fall where they may--I want the unvarnished truth. I have a relative who likes to pretty things up but I call him on it if I know the truth. Most of us have stinkers in the family even today.

    Just this afternoon I found an obit of my great-grandmother who died in 1904 at age 39. The obit didn't give cause of death but shed some light on the family. I have been searching for this for years. I found it in the 1904 newspaper online.

    My relatives lived all around this info forever and never bothered to look for it. Amazing how some people have no curiosity.
  2. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:That's what makes it interesting!! [​IMG]

    That's what I was thinking! Criminal files are filled with all kinds of juicy tidbits and can really give you a good view of your family. Unlike many of the published historical biographies, the criminal files give you both the good and the bad.

    The family that I've spent the most time with is the one that is the most dysfunctional in my tree. Why? Because there is just so much to read on these guys. Not only are there the criminal files (did you know even rock throwing could generate a criminal file back in the 1800s?) but there are poor house records, orphan's court records, and lawsuits. And, the dysfunction is often throughout the distant family. A father leaves land to a daughter only, likely knowing that the husband is a louse. Another brother gets into disputes with another sister's husband which generates even more court records, often detailing all the flaws of the family. Another brother's son commits suicide by laudanum and the newspaper goes into details that the wife sees him writhing on the floor and ignores him, thinking this is just another drunken moment.

    Yeah. It's all good stuff. [​IMG]
  3. country lady

    country lady Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    I had an interesting genealogy find. My great-grandfather died in 1931 which has always been a mystery. One granddaughter said he died on a small town street of a heart attack and another said it was suicide.

    My local library had his death certificate on microfilm. He died of an over dose of strychnine, but further digging revealed that small doses of strychnine was used for medicinal purposes. We knew that he had a serious stomach ailment; no one knew the cause though.

    According to an article, "A 1934 drug guide for nurses described it as among the most valuable and widely prescribed drugs. Strychnine's stimulant effects also led to its use historically for enhancing performance in sports. Because of its high toxicity and tendency to cause convulsions, the use of strychnine in medicine was eventually abandoned once safer alternatives became available."

    Don't we learn something new every day!!
  4. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    That's very interesting, country lady! What is the family story about the stomach ailment? Is there any chance that he could have come into contact with the strychnine through his line of work? Where was he found? If you haven't done so, you may want to explore the newspaper articles surrounding the time he died. There may be further clues therein - both reporting his death or comments in the social pages detailing his activities. Sicknesses were often mentioned in the social pages.

    Suicides in the family fascinate me. I have two that I know of. One is a clear case but the other is questionable. I personally think it was a murder but covered up. It just doesn't make sense that a young father would leave work, begin his walk home, then half-way there decide to shoot himself in the head - twice.

    Strychnine poisoning could also be murder, so watch those pages to see if he had any enemies. Ya never know!

    Edited to add: Back in these times, there were some rather "interesting" medicines. Laudanum (opium) was also commonly used as a medication. In Victorian England, laudanum was used to calm fussy babies and often resulted in their deaths, often due to overdose and also because they lost interest in eating and starved themselves to death.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Songster

    Jan 31, 2009
    Yup, gotta love a good ole overdose of laudanum!

    Family trees are even harder for Fins, in Finland people often changed their last names when moving to the previous owners last name, very common back then.
  6. rnoyster

    rnoyster Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    Conway, South Carolina
    I have been doing genealogy on my family for about the last 15 years. I have over 25,000 persons listed in it, and thousands of obits, pictures, newspaper articles, death, birth and marriage certificates as well.
    It takes a lot of work at times to get a little information, but every once in a while, you hit the mother lode and it balances out!
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Had to look up octoroon.

  8. country lady

    country lady Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    Mahonri wrote: "Had to look up octoroon."

    Me too.

    Backyard Buddies, no, he was a 69 year old retired farmer. That is an interesting thought though. He remarried and my mother, her sisters, and their cousins always said, "Ole Miss Lyde is a mean woman." When he died he was separated from his wife. I'm not sure where he was found; someone said on a sidewalk. I've been unable to find the newspaper of 1931 for that little town, Halls, TN. Sometimes they were just weeklies. Fires also destroyed important information, a courthouse fire in 1948 and a newspaper fire in my case.

    I wonder how common it was to take strychnine for medicinal purposes. The incident you mentioned of two gunshots in the head certainly sounds fishy.
  9. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Styrchine is very common back in the Civil War veterans and sometimes abusing that kind of medicine was commonplace. I would not be surprised if it consisted of lead or mercury of some sort!

    Yeah i had to look up octoroon too some time ago. Interesting!
  10. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:Is this the Halls in Lauderdale County? If so, you may want to consider checking the bigger papers within the county. Often they had smaller city sections where they listed the happenings in the area. Also, if Halls is on the border of another county, be sure to check those papers as well.

    Additionally, I'm fairly certain there would be a coroner's inquest into his death. There was one for one of my g-grandfathers, even though he died of natural causes. I knew about it because it was mentioned in the newspaper account of his death in 1958. I'm sure that a questionable death such as this would trigger such an investigation. This is probably where you should start in looking to answer some of these questions. Most likely, the county courthouse would have that information.

    Check the death cert - an inquest may be mentioned on the DC as well. It will also likely mention whether he was being treated by a physician and for how long. Another paternal G-gfather committed suicide by the use of a gun. His DC gives a second cause of death -that he was despondent over his illness with black lung disease he had from years working in the mines. This was 1929.

    Also, if Hall isn't where he normally lived, check the papers of his hometown as well. If he was known in his former community, even if he had been gone for a while, his death may have gotten some mention in the papers.

    One more thing - Check the court papers for the deposition of his property. These have GREAT information, especially if people were contesting the will, or if there was no will, fighting for the rights to his property. There could be some really juicy tidbits about this mean ol' wife of his!

    The strychnine issue is interesting. It's certainly worthy of researching further.

    Yes, it seems to me it'd be awfully hard to shoot oneself in the head twice. This one was in 1859. Not only that, but he was shot in the forehead, which isn't the easiest thing to do, I would think. There are several stories on the Internet about this murder/suicide and the reasons for it. It's suggested that there was a cover up as well and in his case, NO inquest was made into his death.

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