07 August 2018

Acute Delirium, then Death While on Vacation for J. Flahive

Base of Jeremiah's tombstone. Image by Stephanie Lincecum.Jeremiah Flahive was born in County Kerry, Ireland, one of at least eight children of Patrick and Elizabeth Flahive. When he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in May of 1886, Jeremiah P. Flahive provided a birthdate of 6 April 1869. This differs from the one sculpted on his tombstone – 28 April 1870.

Jeremiah became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 5 October 1895 while still at Boston. He also, on 8 September 1897, married Margaret / Margarita C. Devlin there. She was born about 1874 in Ireland.

Jeremiah and Margaret had two sons in Boston before heading south to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia some time between 1900 and 1902. It was also around this time that Jerry's middle initial became J.

Three more sons were added to the family over the next five years or so. All five sons follow:

  • John Patrick (b. 1898)
  • Joseph Jerome (b. 1900)
  • Edward Leroy (b. 1902)
  • Hugh Gregory (b. abt 1905)
  • Jerome J. Jr. (b. 1907)

Tragedy struck the family in January 1909. "Little Jerome" died on the 4th, even though he "had only been sick one week and although everything known to medical science was done to spare his life." The death notice went on to add, "While he was only 18 months old he had succeeded in entwining himself about the hearts of his parents."

Sculpture atop base of tombstone for J. J. Flahive. Image by Stephanie Lincecum.Six months later, while surely still grieving little Jerome, the rest of the Flahives set out on a family vacation. Their entire itinerary is unknown to me, but it seems the journey began with the plan to return to Boston and visit a couple of Jeremiah's brothers. Unfortunately, the "father dear" did not live to see Boston or his brothers again.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Friday, 9 July 1909 - pg. 9 [via GenealogyBank]

Deaths and Funerals

The funeral services of the late Mr. Jerry J. Flahive were held yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock from St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Rev. Father Madden officiating.

...Interment in St. Joseph's cemetery.

The large following of friends, embracing many of every class of citizens, attested the high esteem in which Mr. Flahive was held. The floral tributes were many and beautiful.

The death of Mr. Flahive was peculiarly sad. With his wife and four boys he had sailed from Savannah on the Nacoochee for a pleasure trip to Boston and eastern resorts, and had anticipated a pleasurable trip with those he held most dear.

He became violently ill on the ship, and while everything that could be done with medical skill and loving hands on board, the ship was stopped at Vineyard Haven, that a physician from the Marine Hospital could be secured. This was done by wireless telegraphy, and the physician had him carried by steam launch to the Davis Sanitarium, reaching there at 5 o'clock Sunday morning. He was given every possible attention, but died at 5:55 on Monday morning.

Mr. Flahive  is survived by his wife and four sons, John P., Joseph A., Edward L., and Hugh Gregory; a mother and five brothers; one sister living in Summerville, Mass., and one sister, Mrs. A. F. Devlin, of Macon.

While other newspaper items published regarding the death of Jerry Flahive cited a cause of "acute delirium," the death register of the town of Tisbury, Dukes County, Massachusetts for the year 1909 stated Jeremiah J. died – at the age of just 39 years – of Alcoholism.

Jeremiah, Margaret (d. 1915), and sons Joseph (d. 1958), Hugh (d. 1942), and Jerome were all buried in a section of Rose Hill Cemetery that was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church in the late 1890s known as St. Joseph's.

27 July 2018

In the Case of Mr. Coffey (d. 1921), Jack is John

I learned something new today: Jack is a nickname of John. (I'm not going to try and explain how it came to be as the theory is a bit convoluted, but will instead happily point you to the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources.)

Regardless of the official name-nickname history, I saw it in practice with Mr. John T. "Jack" Coffey. He was born 21 August 1858 in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia to Irish-born parents, Daniel "Dan" and Mary Coffey (d. 1892). In every census record I've found for John/Jack – 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1910 – the name given is John. Even when he married Mary C. O'Hara (d. 1937) on 26 February 1889 at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, the name recorded was John T. Coffey. The local Macon Telegraph newspaper, however, put both names in print when describing the happy wedding:

A very quiet but very happy marriage took place yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock at St. Joseph's Catholic church. It was the marriage of Mr. John T. Coffey and Miss Mary O'Hara, the ceremony being performed by Father Winklereid...

The groom has been for a number of years one of the most popular salesmen at the Empire Store, and no one knows Jack Coffey but to love him…

jcoffeyYet, when Mr. Coffey died 1 February 1921 at his home in Macon, Jack was the name written on his death certificate. And this is the name carved on his ledger marker gravestone in Rose Hill Cemetery. An obituary:

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Wednesday, 2 February 1921 - pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]


Employe [sic] of Burden Smith Co. Dies at Residence After Several Weeks' Illness.
Jack T. Coffey, for forty years a salesman with Burden, Smith and Company, died yesterday morning at 6 o'clock at his residence, No. 771 Oak street. He was 62 years of age and had been critically ill for several weeks.

Mr. Coffey and his brother, Dan, who died a few months ago, came to Macon from Americus when they were boys. Both obtained employment with Burden, Smith and Company and in that position obtained a wide acquaintance in Bibb and surrounding counties. Besides his wife, who was Miss Mary O'Hara, Mr. Coffey is survived by a cousin, James Coffey of Albany.

Mr. Coffey was a devoted member of St. Joseph's Catholic church, where the funeral will be held this afternoon at 4 o'clock, Rev. Father W. A. Wilkinson officiating. Interment will be in Rose Hill Cemetery…

aocoffeyAnother Mr. Coffey Marries Another Miss O'Hara

Daniel "Dan" Coffey, brother of Jack, married Amelia A. O'Hara (1876-1955) about 1902. Both Amelia and Jack's wife Mary were daughters of another Irish-born couple, Patrick and Ann O'Hara.

Dan died of acute Bright's Disease a few years (not months) before Jack. Both couples were buried in block 2, lot 34 of the Pine Ridge section of Rose Hill. This family burial lot was purchased by James Coffey in 1854, possibly the (or related to the) cousin of Albany mentioned in Jack's obituary.

24 July 2018

Confusing Tombstone Placed for Mary Fern (d. 1885)

Standing in the Pine Ridge section (block 2, lot 14) of Rose Hill Cemetery is a cross-topped tombstone placed for Mary Fern, who died 27 February 1885. Here's an image (transcription of inscription on and below):


In Memory of
A Native of
DIED FEB. 27, 1885

[on base]

I should also note another side of the tombstone bears the name Michael Fern (with nothing further). Cemetery records show he was the purchaser of the family burial lot, and was interred there July 1856.

So. Her name was Mary Baley Fern (where "Baley" could be a middle name, maiden name, or previous husband's surname). Right? This funeral notice from page 5 of the 28 February 1885 edition of the Macon Telegraph (Georgia) seems to bolster the notion:

The friends and acquaintances of Dugal, John, and Miss Mary Fern are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of their mother this (Saturday) morning at 10 o'clock from the Catholic Church.

While trying to flesh out the lives of Mary's children, however, I came across something unexpected. On daughter Mary Fern's 1922 death certificate – with noted informant being her brother Dugal – her mother's maiden name was stated to be Mary Thompson (born Scotland).

After conducting more research, I think I found the marriage record that clears things up a bit. Mrs. Mary Fern married James Bailey 10 March 1860 – about 4 years after the death of Michael Fern – at Bibb County, Georgia.


My Latest Working Theory

Mary Thompson/Thomson married Michael Fern before or about 1840, possibly in Scotland, where at least two (and likely a third) of their children were born. The family was in the United States about 1850, where census records suggest at least two of their children – Dugal and Mary – became naturalized citizens about 1860.

Michael Fern died July 1856, was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, and the widow Mary married James Bailey four years later. It's possible James died before 1880 (burial place unknown to me). Mary died February 1885, and was buried near her first husband. A death notice appeared in the same newspaper and issue referenced above (28 February 1885 Macon Telegraph):

The death of Mrs. Mary Bailey occurred yesterday morning at her home, 319 Fourth street. She had been indisposed for several days with pneumonia. Her funeral will take place to-day from the family residence.

The three known children born to Michael and Mary – Mary (d. 1922), Dugal (1842-1928), and John (d. 1901) – appear to all have died without issue. Each was buried in the lot at Rose Hill Cemetery purchased by their father, and if memory serves, not one has a tombstone.

22 July 2018

George E. Daniel Lived and Died in Alabama, but was Buried in Georgia

Image by James Allen.George Edward Daniel spent almost all of his life in the state of Alabama. He was born there, listed there in every census taken during his lifetime, and died there. So I'm happy to be highlighting this Rose Hill Cemetery burial, as it could possibly be an unexpected one to some.

George was born at Perdue Hill, Monroe County, AL on 15 December 1893. He was one of ten children born to John M. Daniel and Mary C. "Katie" Tolbert.

A few months before his twentieth birthday, George – described as short and stout, with blue eyes and dark hair – enlisted at Montgomery for service during World War I. He was part of the 308 Sanitary Train, 83rd Division, and possibly helped deliver relief and medical supplies to allies in Europe during and immediately following the war. George was discharged 17 February 1919, after about seventeen months of service.

In January 1920, George was back home in Perdue Hill for the taking of that year's federal census. Nine months later, however, George took a trip to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia in order to marry Clara Lillian Smith (1896-1981). She was a daughter of Emanuel Smith (d. 1929) and Swedish-born Annie M. Stroberg (1866-1957). George's older brother Joseph acted as best man.

After the ceremony and "a short wedding trip," George and Clara made their home at Perdue Hill. But by Spring of 1930, the couple and two young sons were living on Yancey Street in Montgomery, where George was occupied as a secretary for a furniture company.

George Edward Daniel died 17 July 1939 at his home in Montgomery. He unexpectedly "suffered a fatal heart attack while at the supper table."

George was buried in the Smith family burial lot (Pine Ridge section, block 2, lot 11) at Rose Hill. It was purchased by his father-in-law in 1929. Clara lived forty-two more years after the death of George, and eventually married a Mr. Strawn in the interim. Upon her death in 1981, Clara was retuned to the Smith family lot and buried near her first husband.


13 July 2018

Brain of Thomas Edgar Collins Mashed to Jelly

TECollinsmonumentT. E. Collins was born 2 November 1854 in Georgia to Stephen Collins (1809-1885) and Louisa H. Wilson (1827-1872). Unfortunately, Thomas met an accidental death at the age of just 23 years. Following from the 11 April 1878 edition of the Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia):


Mr. T. E. Collins met with a fatal accident in Macon, Tuesday. He had sold a buggy and was hurrying to his office in the dusk of the evening when he fell through a trap door fourteen feet to the hard clay floor of the ground story and landed on his head. His brain was mashed to jelly. Trepanning was performed without anaesthetics. He is probably dead before this paragraph meets the eyes of readers. He was one of the must [sic] respected young men of Macon. So reports the Telegraph and Messenger.

I was unfamiliar with the term trepanning, so searched for a definition. Wikipedia answered with this:

Trepanning…is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases or release pressured blood buildup from an injury.


Detail from The Extraction of the Stone of Madness, a painting by Hieronymus Bosch
depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516). Public domain image via Wikipedia.

What a terrifying image. I hope Thomas didn't suffer needlessly. He was buried in the same family lot at Rose Hill Cemetery as his uncle William.

12 July 2018

Light Be the Turf Above William Collins (d. 1854)

One COLLINS family burial lot within the confines of Rose Hill Cemetery is located in the Central Avenue division (block 8, lot 15). This space was purchased by William S. Collins about November 1852. One of the earliest burials in the lot was that of his nephew, Stephen W., son of Stephen and Louisa H. (Wilson) Collins. Little Stephen, interred October 1853, was aged only one year and four months. A year later, exact to the month, the remains of Uncle William joined those of little Stephen.


I do not know for certain if William ever married. For the August 1850 Bibb County, Georgia Federal census, he was listed in brother Stephen's household. Both were occupied as brick makers.

A notice of William's death was published in the Tuesday, 17 October 1854 edition of the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia):

Died in this city, of Bilious Fever, on Monday the 16th inst. WILLIAM COLLINS, in the 46th year of his age.

In his death, the community lose a good citizen, his friends, a generous companion -- the poor, an active and untiring benefactor. Light be the turf above him!

[Note: Rudy of ArchaicMedicalTerms.com shares the definition of Bilious Fever – "When a continual, remitting, or intermitting fever is accompanied with a frequent or copious evacuation of bile, either by vomit or stool, the fever is denominated bilious." I believe the source cited is Dr. William Buchan's Domestic Medicine, published 1785.]

09 July 2018

Basil Augustus Wise Sank Peacefully to Rest in April 1873

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 041B. A. Wise was born 1 October 1827 at Statesboro, Bulloch County, Georgia. He was one of several children born to John Wise and Rachel Jones (d. 1871). An elder sister of Basil's was Sophronia (1821-1891), wife of Aaron Cone (1810-1881).

Basil came to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia about 1848. He married Louise Lynde Clisby (1846-1934), daughter of Joseph Clisby (1818-1885) and Margaret Amanda March (d. 1852), on 28 October 1868 at Bibb County. Basil and Louise had at least three children: Basil Augustus (1869-1901), Joseph Clisby (1871-1930), and Emma Celetta (1873-1933).

Basil eventually settled in the wholesale dealership of household and crockery goods, doing quite well for himself. According to the 1870 Bibb County census – after the Civil War – his personal estate was valued at $30,000. His real estate was counted for $25,000. And two domestic servants were noted in the household, serving just three family members.

Basil didn't live long enough to retire at a ripe age and enjoy his successes, however. He died in April 1873, three weeks before the birth of his third child.

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 038Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
Tuesday, 8 April 1873 - pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]

Death of Basil A. Wise, Esq.
This estimable and public spirited citizen sank peacefully to rest about 8 o'clock A.M. yesterday. His death creates a painful void in the community, while to his bereaved wife and tender babes the loss is irreparable.

Mr. Wise died of congestion of the brain after a brief illness, during which he was often delirious and unconscious of the presence even of his nearest friends. Toward the close of his sickness, under the influence of narcotics, he became calm, and even recognized his beloved wife, and caresses his child. He died without a struggle.

The subject of this brief sketch was born in Statesboro, Bulloch county, Georgia, and came to Macon about 1848, at a very early age. Possessed of excellent natural abilities, indomitable perseverance, and a reputation for integrity which has never been called in question, from very humble beginnings, he steadily advanced, step by step, first from an employee's position, to that of retail dealer in a small way, then to a more extended business, and finally to the front rank of Macon's wholesale merchants. He was engaged in the crockery, tin, and house furnishing business, and was widely known and respected both North and South, and even across the ocean, for his purity of character and the promptness with which he met all of his commercial obligation. Identified with the city which was the scene of his early struggles and proudest triumphs, no one was more keenly alive to all that pertained to its material and moral progress. Hence he was ever in the van when the calls of charity, religion or public necessity appealed to the generosity of the people.

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 040When the tocsin of war sounded, Mr. Wise, then in the full tide of successful business, at once turned his back upon the store, and joining the Macon Volunteers under their gallant leader, Robert A. Smith, left for Virginia on the 19th of April, 1861. There amid the ensanguined plains and historic scenes of the old Dominion, he passed a year in conflict with the foes of his country, and was afterwards appointed Adjutant of Ross' Battalion, which was stationed on the sea coast of Georgia. From this position he retired, to take command of a company of cavalry, and in that capacity served his country faithfully in Georgia and Florida to the close of hostilities.

To his other qualities of head and heart, Mr. Wise added the crowning grace of earnest piety. Rev. J. O. Branch, the pastor of Mulberry Street Methodist Church, of which the deceased had been a consistent member for eighteen years, told the writer that for several years past he has observed a remarkable development in the Christian character of our departed friend. The good he did in a quiet and unostentatious way, will never be revealed until the final day, and many will miss his noble charities and kindly sympathy. Even amid the delirium of his last illness, his thoughts seemed ever to dwell upon holy things, and the glories of the redeemed. From the first hour of his sickness, a strong presenitment [sic] of approaching dissolution seemed to possess his mind. And more than once, he expressed the hope that his dear wife would be reconciled to give him up. Not once dis his own faith falter, or a single cloud obscure the horizon of the future.

Thus passed away this excellent man in his 46th year, and the very meridian of his vigor and usefulness. Possessed of a graceful person and noble mien; blessed with an abundance of this world's goods, robust health, and great popularity, surely of him it might be said, "his mountain was strong." But alas! the battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift; and again are we admonished that life is but a fleeting shadow which endureth but a little while and then vanishes forever.

Basil was buried in the Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery (block 1, lot 83), a lot he purchased in 1854.

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