Gruesome ends

I expected to find a few unpleasant ends as I started to dig into causes of death, but have been surprised by the volume and variety, especially the number of people who managed to get themselves “squished”. A body in a garden and death by burning nightie also add to the macabre tales.

As with all working class families back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there is also a high level of TB or similar illnesses and a high infant mortality rate. Several of the baby deaths caused considerable confusion in the research as the names were reused a couple of years later for younger siblings. Careful research is needed to ensure the right number of offspring

Some of the causes of death shown on certificates are well known, others are a little more obscure and I have had to look up the medical definitions. I have to admit that we had a laugh about the one which stated cause of death as “dropped down dead”. I am wondering whether the doctor was too baffled to say more or just too lazy to find out what really happened.

We also have our share of war deaths which I intend to cover at a later date.

I plan to start the gruesome ends narrative with some of those who did not die of natural causes. From a combination of death certificates, inquest information and newspaper articles I have gleaned some more detailed information which I plan to share about these untimely deaths:

  • Ann Roden Turner – died of burns in her teens
  • Raymond Barker – crushed by pit tubs in his teens
  • Robert Crackett – run over by steam traction engine, age 8
  • William Adam – drowned in his teens while playing and ignoring the tide
  • Andrew Oliver – crushed by a stone from the roof while stilling working in the mines at age 71
  • John Henderson (1811 – 1874) – drowned in a river on his way home from the pub
  • John Henderson (1860-1898) – drowned in Amble harbour and washed out to sea

So watch this space for more information about how they met their demise……

5 thoughts on “Gruesome ends

  1. I had to chuckle over “dropped down dead” too Linda. Also seems that a few of your “rellies” should have had swimming lessons, eh? … not that it’s really anything to jolke about, I know. Interesting post, thanks.

    • I have had a chuckle about quite a few, especially when I have read 100 year old newspaper articles. The way they write is hilarious even when the subject is very serious. Had to smile at your comment about swimming lessons though. The crazy thing there is that a couple of my drownings were fisherman. You would think they at least would know how to cope with water.

  2. Some of the causes of death really are strange when read today.. One I saw recently was ‘failing of the lights’ It turned out that ‘lights’ was a termed used for lungs.

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