09 August 2017

1892 Death of Mr. John Henry Abel

(Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

John Henry Abel was born 1845-7 in Bibb County, Georgia to German immigrant parents Henry and Elizabeth Follendore Abel.  By the age of fifteen, young Henry was working as a clerk in the butcher business with his father.

John Henry married Laura Elizabeth Brooks 3 December 1872.  Laura's sister, Camilla, had married John Henry's brother Fred about five years prior.  The Brooks sisters were the daughters of James M. and Mary J. Brooks.  A brother of Camilla and Laura, James P., would marry a sister of John Henry and Fred:  Louisa Abel.

John Henry and Laura had two children – Lovick Askew Abel (1874-1925) and Laura Elizabeth Abel (1876-1939) – before the elder Laura's death 25 May 1877.

A little over a year later, on 12 September 1878, John Henry was wed to Sarah Catherine Murfee.  She was a daughter of Thomas Washington Henry and Mary Lary Murphee / Murfee.  Within a couple of years of his second marriage, John Henry joined the police force.  He and Sarah had at least five children:

  • Martha E. Abel Massengale (b. 1880 Georgia; d. 1912 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia)
  • Mary Bessie Abel Smith (b. 1884-5 Georgia; d. 1952)
  • infant daughter Abel (b. 1886; d. 1887)
  • Theodore Garfield Abel (b. 1888 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia; d. 1950 Bibb County, Georgia)
  • Sidney Wiley Abel (b. 1891 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia; d. 1944 Bibb County, Georgia)

deathofmrhenryabelBefore his youngest son turned two years old, John Henry was dead.  Following obituary from 23 November 1892 edition of the Macon Telegraph (via GenealogyBank):


He Died Suddenly at His Home Yesterday Afternoon.
A shadow of gloom and sorrow was thrown around the city hall and police station last night when a messenger arrived bearing the sad news that Officer Henry Abel of the police force had been found dead in his bed.

Mr. Abel, accompanied by several of his brother officers left early Monday morning for a point on the Macon and Dublin railroad on an extended hunt, but feeling badly after hunting all day Monday, decided to come home, which he did, arriving here yesterday morning.  He told his wife that he was suffering from heart trouble, and went to bed about 1 o'clock.

As he had been complaining lately a good deal of heart trouble, nothing unusual was thought of his complaint…  [He asked that his wife] wake him at 9 o'clock that he might prepare to go on duty at 12 last night.

About 3 o'clock his little girl come home from school and started in the room to see her father, but Mrs. Abel forbade her, saying that he was resting, and that it would not be well to disturb him.

At 6 o'clock, however, Mrs. Abel upon going into the room noticed that her husband was very quiet and seemed not to be breathing.  She went up to the bed and discovered that he really was not breathing, and that his hands and face were perfecly [sic] cold.

Incredulous of these infallible signs of death, she called her son to the bedside, who told her that his father was indeed dead.

The wife was completely overcome by the terrible shock, and the children, of which there are six, three boys and three girls, were prostrated with grief at their father's unforewarned death.

Mr. Abel had been a member of the police force for about twelve years, during which time he has gained the high esteem of all who knew him.  No member of the force was more generally popular and none have gained a better reputation for efficiency, and it is needless to say that his place on the force is one not easy to be filled.

Mr. Abel, before going on the police force, was engaged in the butcher business with his father, Mr. Henry Abel, Sr., at which he made a decided success.

He was nearing his 46th birthday when he received the summons of death and has always been a resident of Macon.

His sad death is greatly lamented by all, especially by his brother officers on the police force, for as one of them remarked last night, Henry Abel was an officer who could always be relied on.

Owing to the suddenness of his death it was thought best to hold no inquest over his remains, and Coroner Knight empanelled a jury, which, after examining a number of witnesses, decided that he came to his death from natural causes.

The funeral will take place this afternoon at 3 o'clock from Centenary Methodist church, and the last sad rites will be performed over the body of one of Macon's most beloved citizens.

The next day, a recap of the funeral was published.


A Large Concourse of Friends Follow The Remains to the Grave.
A large number of sympathizing and grief-stricken friends of the late Mr. Henry Abel attended his funeral on Wednesday.

The dwelling, as well as the cemetery and church, was crowded.  The services at the church were conducted by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Chester, and they were filled with tender and feeling remarks addressed to the grieved and distressed relatives and friends.  The Knights of Pythias and also the Odd Fellows of Franklin Lodge were present in large bodies…

The following order, issued by Chief of Police Kenan, concerning the death of Mr. Abel will go into effect at once:

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God to remove from us and to assign to another "beat" that efficient and faithful officer, Patrolman Henry Abel, it is deemed right and proper that we who have served with him so long should show fitting tribute to his memory.

Therefore, it is ordered that the entire force wear the usual badge of mourning for the period of fifteen days, and that a committee, composed of Lieut. F. P. Y[ea?]ger, Sergt. C. E. Long and Patrolman W. N. Clarke, be apointed [sic] to draft suitable resolutions expressive of our sorrow at the loss to us, and sympathy for the bereaved family of our departed comrade.

John Henry Abel was laid to rest alongside his first wife and infant daughter in the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery.  Sarah Catherine would join them upon her death in 1945.  To my knowledge, they are without headstones.

Some Additional Sources:

  1. "Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), death certificate image for Lovick Askew Abel, d. 11 August 1925 at Bibb County.
  2. 1850 census of United States, population schedule, 716th Dist G. M., City Macon, Bibb, Georgia, Dwelling & Family 53, Henry Abel household, accessed 18 May 2017. Includes Elizabeth (age 24); Frederick (age 6); William (age 5); Henry (age 3); E. A. (female, age 2); and C. E. (male, age 8/12); digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  3. Friends of Rose Hill, "Historic Rose Hill Cemetery Directory", database, Historic Rose Hill (http://www.rosehillcemetery.org).
  4. "Georgia County Marriages, 1785 - 1950", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org).
  5. "Mrs. Sarah C. Abel Funeral Set Today," issued 28 November 1945, accessed 31 May 2017, name of interest: Mrs. Sarah C. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  6. Rose Hill Cemetery (Macon, Bibb County, Georgia), Grave Marker Transcription by Stephanie Lincecum, Acquired between 2003 - 2013.
  7. "Illness Is Fatal To Mrs. Stephan," issued 16 September 1939, accessed 3 June 2017, name of interest: Mrs. Laura Elizabeth Abel Stephan, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  8. "Georgia Deaths, 1928-1940", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), Image of death certificate for Mrs. Laura Stephan, d. 15 September 1939 at Bibb County.
  9. 1910 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 49, sheet no. 2A, dwelling 32, family 37, Sarah C. Abel household, accessed 18 June 2017. Includes daughters Martha E. Massengale and Mary B. Smith; sons Theodore G. and Sidney W.; son-in-law James N. Smith; granddaughters Mary L. Massengale, Catherine E. Massengale, and Bessie L. Smith; and grandsons William A. Massengale, and Chas. E. Smith; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  10. 1880 census of United States, population schedule, Fourth Fire Ward, Macon, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 16, page no. 30, dwelling 220, family 265, Abel Henry household, accessed 30 May 2017. Includes wife Sarah; son Lovick; daughters Laura and Mattie E.; and mother-in-law Martha Murphy; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com).
  11. "Mrs. Massengale Dies Early this Morning," issued 30 May 1912, accessed 17 June 2017, name of interest: Mrs. Martha E. Massengale, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  12. "Funeral is Today for Mrs. Stephan," issued 17 September 1939, accessed May 2017, name of interest: Mrs. Laura Abel Stephan, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  13. 1900 census of United States, population schedule, 716 District, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 31, sheet no. 4A, dwelling 66, family 79, Sarah C. Abel household, accessed 18 May 2017. Includes daughters Marth E. and Mary B.; sons Theodore G. and Sydney W.; step-daughter Laura E. Lightfoot; step-granddaughter Katie L.; and step-grandson Henry G.; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  14. "Death of an Infant," issued 4 June 1887, accessed 19 May 2017, names of interest: Mr. Henry Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  15. "Brief Illness Fatal To Sidney W. Abel," issued 17 September 1944, accessed 29 May 2017, name of interest: Sidney W. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  16. 1930 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 11-36, sheet no. 13B, dwelling 233, family 245, Sydney Abel household, accessed June 2017. Includes wife Ethel; daughters Annie and Bessie; sons Sydney Jr., James, and John; mother Sarah; brother Theodore; and nephew William Massengale; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).

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