Mr. Peter Jenkins is very ill; also Mrs. Alex Bush. We hope they will be on the road to good health soon.1
Peter Jenkins died the next day.2
The fastest way for Peter’s family to announce his grave condition was the newspaper. I can imagine Peter’s wife Keziah agonizing not only about her husband’s imminent death but also being worried about how to get the word out to their family and friends. We don’t have that problem today.
The newspaper’s social column is a window into our ancestors’ day to day lives. You will see who was visiting whom, who had a get-together/party, who got engaged/married and in this case who was sick. These columns were usually divided up by community so you can also see where someone was living. In Peter’s case I now know that he was living in the Bush area of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana at the time of his death.
I have people in my file where I have found 40 or more such notices. They may seem trivial but I record every single one.
1 "Bush notes," The St. Tammany Farmer, 04 March 1911, p. 5, col. 4; digital images, Library of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 01 November 2013).
2 Find A Grave, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 November 2013), Peter Jenkins marker, Memorial #36842281, photograph by Belford Carver.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis