dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-06 05:10 pm

Some things are just so sad...

Naturally, found this while I was looking for something else...

A page from the 1920 census for the Catholic Home for Destitute Children in Philadelphia...

A bunch of 9, 10, and 11 year old girls...look how many of them were born to foreign-born parents.

dee_burris: (Default)
2010-11-10 05:02 am

Wednesday's Child: Arkie Lucille and Ocie Myrtis Burris

Ocie Myrtis and Arkie Lucille Burris, about 1904

Arkie and Ocie, about 1909

They were the two youngest daughters of my great-grandparents, George Washington and Mary Mathilda (Wharton) Burris. Arkie Lucille was born on 26 Jan 1899 and Ocie Myrtis was born on 14 Mar 1901.

I've never seen a photo of one of them where the other wasn't present. Perhaps because they were the youngest, they were always dressed up in the cutest little dresses when they posed for their photos.

Ocie died first, on 12 Oct 1910, of malaria.

Arkie died from burns from an exploding lamp of wood alcohol on 4 Jun 1913. The local paper reported on her death.

Three Persons Badly Burned at Appleton: Ernest Burris and Baby and Miss Arky Burris Painfully Injured by Exploding Lamp

News reached the city last night that Ernest Burris, rural mail carrier at Appleton, had been badly burned by an exploding lamp, and a few minutes later his father, Geo W Burris, Homer Burris, a brother, accompanied by Dr C J Ross, were speeding in an auto to the home of the injured man. They returned this morning and reported all the injured persons as doing as well as could be expected, and that all will recover unless unexpected complications arise.

They report that Mr Burris was filling an alcohol lamp when the bottle of wood alcohol exploded. Arky, the fourteen year old daughter of Postmaster Burris, who was visiting the family of her brother, was standing near, and her clothing ignited. She ran outdoors and around the house, being painfully burned about the body from the waist up and her arms before the flames were extinguished by her brother and others who came to the rescue. Mr Burris received painful burns on the hands in extinguishing the flames. His baby's clothing was also ignited and she was painfully burned.

None of the injured were burned about the face, Miss Burris' burns being mostly in the back, and on her arms when she threw her hands to the back of her head to protect her head from the flames at her back. Mr Burris' hands are a solid mass of blisters and deep burns and he will be unable to work for some time.

Miss Burris Died From Burns Received Monday - Injuries at First Not Thought Serious Results in Death This Morning

A telephone message at noon today brought news of the death of Miss Arky Burris, fourteen year old daughter of Postmaster Geo W Burris, at the home of her brother at Appleton, where she was burned by an exploding lamp or bottle of wood alcohol Monday night.

At the time of going to press yesterday, her injuries were not considered serious and the physicians expressed the belief that she would recover. She grew worse, however, and early this morning it was stated there was little hope for her recovery.

Both Mr and Mrs Burris were at her bedside, and the entire family have the sympathy of many friends throughout the county. She will be laid to rest at St Joe Cemetery near Appleton Thursday morning at 11 o'clock.
(Source: Russellville Democrat Courier, 5 Jun 1913)

I leave tokens on Arkie's and Ocie's findagrave memorials frequently.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-11-02 08:41 pm

Katharine Leah Williams, 1899-1904

I love talking to other genealogists. I prefer amateurs like myself.

But I always get irritated when the discussion takes a turn I simply cannot understand. I'm talking about a fairly widely held belief that when our ancestors' children died, they did not feel their grief as deeply as do parents today who lose a child.

I'm calling bullshit on that one.

Yes, I realize that generally speaking, our ancestors had many more children than we do these days, particularly before latex condoms became widely available in the 1920s in the United States. I am also aware that rural farming communities required child labor that is illegal today.

But I do not believe that our ancestors loved their children less, or differently, than we do. Losing a child was no less tragic for them - one child could not "replace" another.

Katharine Leah Williams, 18 Jul 1899 - 8 Dec 1904

Katharine was the fourth child of my great-grandparents, Jo Desha and Maxie Leah (Meek) Williams. I don't know the exact cause of her death, but I know it was illness rather than an accident.

And it hit her parents hard - very hard. The monument erected to her memory provides a glimpse of their grief.


The Williams family plot in Oakland Cemetery at Russellville was a living memorial to her - a rose garden where her parents could go and sit quietly to grieve.

Oakland Cemetery, circa 1910

By 1920, my great-grandfather's grocery business had gone belly-up, and the family moved to Little Rock. Their hearts must have broken all over again when they had to sell that family plot at Oakland, and leave their Katharine behind.