Two tragic deaths in the same family

About two years ago I found some newspaper items that described the tragic deaths of my gg-grandmother and one of her daughters. In the paper my gg-grandmother, Mary, is identified as only “Mrs John Williams.” Her death reminds me of just how difficult and dangerous everyday life was only 100 years ago.

Mary Williams was born in 1845 in Wales. She married John Williams in 1867 and they lived in the town of Aberdare, Glamorgan. John Williams traveled to America in 1872 and found work in the coal mines. Mary and their three children, Margaret, David and Janet, joined him in 1875. Their last child was my g-grandfather, Thomas, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1876.

In 1906, daughter Janet was married to Mr Isaac Lewis by the Reverend R T Roberts of the Welsh Presbyterian Church. By all accounts Janet was popular girl, so the entire community was shocked and saddened when she died just six weeks after the wedding. My grandmother was named “Janet” in honor of the aunt she would never meet.

Just three years after Janet’s death, on the morning of April 21, 1909, Mary Williams, fell while carrying an oil lamp, which set fire to her clothing. She was burned severely and must have endured tremendous suffering over the next 36 hours. She finally passed away on the evening of April 22. Once again, Reverend Roberts was on hand, this time to comfort the grieving family.

Lisa Alzo, The Accidental Genealogist, has suggested 31 blogging prompts for “celebrating and honoring the ‘fearless females’ in our family trees”.
March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?



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