You cannot explore your family history without encountering it. Death is part of the cycle, and family history is a marvel of cycles.
Still, there are stories that just tear at your heart.
This entry is re-published from the original entry on 6 Nov 2010, entitled Sometimes I don't know how they did it...
Sometimes I don't know how they did it.
The ancestors, that is.
No air conditioning or indoor plumbing.
Chamber pots under the bed at night.
Dinner was running around out in the backyard until you took a hatchet to it. Or went out in the woods with a shotgun. If you weren't faster than your prey, there probably was greens and cornbread. Again.
And you were thankful for it.
Wardrobe choices were easier, I guess.
And all those kids. Sometimes as I am adding them one after another to the database, I have to smile...there were only three of us and my parents would get confused.
Dee - I mean Vicki - I mean Lorraine...I mean, whoever it is, CUT THAT OUT!
And then, there are somber moments that accompany all those names and dates. Moments when I feel, even for just a split second when the horrible details come together, like I've been sucker punched.
Meet Charles Hardin Patterson...
The year before he married Polly Ann Wharton (my second cousin, 3X removed), Charles had what was probably the worst year of his life.
He married Sarah Ann Cowan in the fall of 1877 in Johnson County, Arkansas. The leaves were probably turning fiery reds and glittery golds when they got hitched. Johnson County is gorgeous that time of year.
They made a farm and babies, including fraternal twins Nancy Ellen and her brother, Jesse Washington, in June 1886. Sarah Ann was 28 when the twins were born, her fifth and sixth children.
Ida Bell was born in October 1888, and William, the eighth and final child borne by Sarah Ann, arrived on 11 Jun 1890.
Something must have gone horribly wrong.
Charles Hardin Patterson became a widower five days later, alone with a newborn son and a toddler daughter, both of whom shortly would become very ill. He was 32 years old.
On 5 Aug 1890, baby William died. His sister Ida followed him to a tiny grave in Buckhorn Cemetery on 23 Aug 1890. In the space of just over two months, Charles Patterson lost his partner in life and two youngest children. His oldest child was 11 years old.
I cannot begin to imagine his pain.
Sometimes it's hard to see the path through the tears.
But the journey is good.
I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.