Saturday, June 27, 2015

Captain Jacob Green of Hampton, New Hampshire

good start
Jacob Green was the son of Henry and Mary (possibly Perkins) Green.  He was born about 1653 in Hampton, New Hampshire.  His father was a successful businessman, who became involved in politics. Henry was a Justice of the Peace, Judge and a member of the King's Council. When he died he was one of the most prominent men in Hampton, if not the Province of New Hampshire.  Henry left his son Jacob his mills, house and farm near Hampton Falls. Jacob, you could safely say, had a rather good start in life.

Jacob waited rather a long time to marry. His first child was born in April of 1693.  This puts him close to forty when he started his family. Of course for all we know, he could have married and lost his wife and none of it was recorded but I'll stick with what we do know and use a married by 1692 date.

scary times
New Hampshire was first settled in the 1620s; Henry Green was there by 1645. By 1700, the colonist had put a small dent in the endless forest and had scratched out quite a few towns, most along the coast or rivers. Quality of life was improving. Inventory list reveal a growing number of luxury items imported from England and other European countries. The one thing that was not improving was the colonial relationship with the American Indians. The colonist existed in a near constant state of anxiety from the threat of Indian attacks.

Garrison houses, protective fortified houses, were built all over New Hampshire.  Families who did not live in a garrison house were assigned one as their refuge in time of attack. The memory of the death and destruction from King Philip's War in 1676 was probably never far from their minds. The Indian Wars that followed and were to occur for almost ninety years, were the direct result of European Wars. After King Philip's War the Native Americans in the New England allied themselves with the French who held Canada. Whenever hostilities flared between England and France, the New England colonist found themselves under attach by the French in Canada and their Indian allies.

In 1689 Indians attack the town of Dover, NH killing many of the inhabitants. In 1690 Casco and Salmon Falls, towns in Maine, were attacked and burned to the ground. These attacks occurred during King William's War, 1688-1697. After a brief five year respite, Queen Anne's War of 1702-1713, brought renewed hostilities between the folks in New Hampshire and their French and Indian enemies. In 1703 Hampton was attacked and five colonist were killed.

captain jacob green
Jacob Green was raised in what seems like an incredibly stressful environment. He saw very few peaceful years in his life.  He lost his cousin Abraham Perkins in 1677, killed in an Indian attack. Every able bodied man was required to train for the militia, including Jacob.  By 1699 he had reached the rank of Captain. On 11 Oct 1703 the Governor ordered the garrison of Hampton to be beefed up and made ready for the women and children to shelter there if need be.  Winter's harshness brought a respite from attack, but on March 27 1704 Captain Henry Dow and Captain Jacob Green were ordered to muster their soldiers and present themselves in one weeks time for deployment. They would be under the command of Major Winthrop Hilton. What action they might have taken was not recorded. Winthrop Hilton was an experienced Indian fighter and he led many expeditions against the French and Indians. He was killed in 1710 in an Indian fight.

life goes on
Despite the constant backdrop of war, life went on, as it does. In about 1692 Jacob, at long last, married a woman known to us only as Sarah. They had four children, two girls and two boys. The sharp division of labor between males and females, unchanged for centuries continued. Jacob ran the mills, farmed and performed his civic duties. He served as selectman for Hampton three times, and appeared on a jury. Of course he had an important role in the militia, serving as Captain from 1699 until 1720. Sarah, whose name only seems to be recorded when joined the church and when she died, took care of the house and children.

Jacob and Sarah were members of the Church at Hampton Falls. In 1724 the church considered suspending Jacob from the church for "not doing his duty to his offend bros. for irregular walk and doings and contempt of church". I'm not really sure what that means, I wonder what irregular walk was???

children of jacob and sarah
1. Mary b. 17 April 1693, m. (1) Nathan Longfellow 28 May 1713, (2) Joseph MacRess 1733
2. Abigail b. 27 September 1700, d. 23 April 1723
3. Jacob b. 12 Sept. 1702 d. before 1726
4. Jonathan b. 23 August 1704 d. before 1726

Jacob Green died on 5 Nov. 1726 he was about 73 years old. His wife Sarah died on 18 April 1723, their daughter Abigail died five days after her mother. In 1733 Mary Green Longfellow MacRess was his only surviving child. Her brothers deaths were not recorded and apparently had no children. Jacob left a deed will giving all his land and mills to his Mary and Nathan Longfellow to use until their son Jonathan reached the age of 21.  At that time he would inherit one half of his grandfathers estates. When Mary's son Jacob reached 21 he would inherit the other half of the estate.  Ann Longfellow, was to be given a bed and bed frame upon her Grandfather's death and when boys, Jonathan and Jacob, reached the age of 21 each would give her forty pounds money. Eighty pounds is a pretty nice inheritance for a girl.

The deed will is really long and wordy, but buried in the verbiage was one small word which I was disappointed to see. As Jacob was listing all his land and mills he added the words, "also my negrow". Did Captain Jacob Green owe a black slave? That's what it sounds like to me.

Henry Green of Hampton
Nathan Longfellow and Mary Green

Monday, June 22, 2015

Henry Green, Esquire of Ipswich Massachusetts and Hampton, New Hamsphire

Henry Green is an ancestor to admire and look up too. He arrived in the Colonies as a young man of unknown background and origin.  When he died in 1700 at the great age of 80, he was a well respected member of his community, a successful businessman and a storied jurist.  Whenever I hear people, politicians mostly, speak of our founding fathers they always seem to be speaking of the men who engineered the American Revolution or wrote the constitution.  When I think of the founding fathers of America I think of men like Henry Green. Where would the Thomas Jeffersons, George Washingtons and Thomas Paines be if not for the Henry Greens who came before them and forged a European Style society out of a wilderness, establishing an environment that nurtured the ideals which would capture the hearts and minds of the men who had the vision to seek liberty and independence for themselves and their descendants. The American Revolution did not come from a void, it came from a long history of strong, independent men whose own ideals and vision caused them to abandon their homeland and seek a new life in an unknown territory.  Wow, this is sounding way too serious. So here is what I know about Henry Green of Hampton, New Hampshire.

The first thing most family researchers seem to be interested in is when was their ancestor  born and when did they die. And then they move on. Sometimes we know the answer to those questions and sometimes we don't . When was Henry born?  I don't know is the most correct answer. I bet you have seen that he was born in 1620. Truth is, we can only guess that he was born around that year.  It's a pretty good guess and it comes from his answers  to how old he was when he was testifying in court. In 1652 he said he was 30 years old. In 1659 he was 40 and 1673 he said he was 54. These ages at deposition all gel with a year of birth of about 1620.

So the next logical question would be where was he born and who were his parents. Again, the answer to these questions is I don't know. There are no clues as to where in England Henry was from and there is nothing to say who his parents might be, despite what you might seen on Okay, when did he come to New England? Again we can only guess at this as he is not listed on any ship manifest.

Most sources say he was in Ipswich by 1642, this is when, they say,  his name first appeared in a colonial record.  But that is not correct. On a 1641 list of Ipswich men who had a right of commonage can be found the name of Henry Greene. And, on a list of men who took the freeman's oath in 1640 is the name Henry Greene soon followed by Abraham Perkins. These two men would be intimately involved for many years. So it is very possible that Henry was in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as early as 1640. In 1642 a deed was recorded in the Old Ipswich records of a mortgage between Henry Green and Daniel Denyson. Henry mortgaged to Daniel his house, lot, other buildings, fences and commanage. When I first read this I though Henry was selling his property to Daniel but it has been pointed out to me that he was getting a loan from Daniel Denyson and using his farm as collateral.

Henry and other "young men" of Ipswich petitioned to have a gallery built in the meetinghouse for their use. Each of these men had to pay about one pound sterling to have the structure built.  These men were bachelors. Were they dedicated church goers or just looking for a more comfortable seat on Sundays?

In Dec 1643 Henry received payment for work as a soldier in his service to the Indians.  This seems to be the last time his name was mentioned in the Ipswich records. But he was in the Quarterly Court records in 1644 when he was taken to court by James Smith for spoiling his shallop, which was a type of boat. The case was refereed to Mr. Townsend Bishop. I think he might still have been in Ipswich at that point.  The next year, 1645, he was back in court and was recorded as Henry Greene of Hampton.

hampton early years
By 1639 Abraham Perkins and his brother Isaac had moved to the new plantation of Hampton in New Hampshire. On the 24 day of the 12th month of 1645, which is 24 Feb 1646, Henry received two lots in the division of the cow common. Henry was a carpenter and a mill wright by trade, but he would need land to farm and raise cows and other livestock in order to make a good living. It is said that he eventually settled on the south side of  Taylor's River.

Henry's early years in Hampton saw him frequently in the Quarterly Court. In 1645 and 1646 a Richard Hollingsworth was suing him for a debt.  Henry was represented by Edward Colcord, also of Hampton. Edward was also in court to be fined for "drinking wyne to the abuse of himselfe". I guess Edward figured since he had to go to court he could make a little money by representing Henry. In 1646 Henry was in a tit for tat suit against Isaac Cousins.  Isaac sued him for not delivering a mare and then Henry sued him over an order for nails and "other iron work".

land and mills
At a meeting on 6 April 1644 the selectmen of Hampton gave Abraham Perkins and Henry Greene "the whole privilege of the steams of water belonging to the Falls River". They were also allotted 1/2 acre of land for "the digging and daming of said land". In 1648 the town of Hampton gave Henry and Abraham Perkins a grant of land in consideration for building a water mill at the falls. This mill was on the sight of the 1765 Dodge Mill which apparently still stand at 27 Kensington Road in Hampton Falls. Also that year, Henry sold two parcels of land, one of meadow and one of salt marsh. In the deed he called himself a millwright.

marriage and children
The birth of child, Abigail,  was recorded in October of 1650. The oldest child is said to have been Abraham. In a deposition in 1660 he said he was 15. This would obviously give him a birth year of 1645. He married in 1668, which would be at age 23, a perfect age for his marriage. So, who was his mother.  We know only that her name was Mary. Many people, at least on, believe that she was the daughter of Abraham Perkins, and here is why.

Abraham Perkins seems like a father figure to Henry.  When Henry gets into trouble, Abraham stands surety for him. Henry follows Abraham to Hampton where they are granted jointly the right to build a mill. The two men buy and sell land to each other. Henry names his first son Abraham.. Isaac Perkins, Abraham's nephew, calls Henry Uncle and Henry daughter's Mary Cousin. But there are a few problems which cannot be overcome. Firstly, Mary Perkins was born in the mid to late 1630's so she cannot possible married to Henry Green in 1645 and secondly and more importantly, she married another man, Giles Fifield in 1652.(FYI Mary Perkins was not a twin to her brother Abraham) Abraham's brother Isaac also had a daughter named Mary, but she was born in 1658. The other Mary option would be a sister of Abraham and Isaac.  If these two men were the sons of Isaac Perkins of Ipswich, then they would have a sister Mary who was baptized in 1621 in England.  She would be the right age for marriage in 1644. This would make Henry and Abraham brother-in-laws.

Abraham b. abt. 1645, m. 1668 Ester Swett,  d. 27 Feb 1718
Mary b. abt. 1647, m. 1678 Peter Green of Haverhill
Abigail b. Oct. 1650, d. 1659
Isaac b. 1651, m. Mary Cass, d. 13 May 1716
Jacob b. abt. 1653, m. Sarah, d. 5 Nov 1726
Elizabeth b. 1656, m. (1) James Chase and (2) Jos. Cass
Hannah m. 5 June 1676 John Acey, (2) before 1698 John Shepard, d. 30 March 1718

life in hampton
My guess, is that Henry Green married his wife Mary shortly before or immediately after he moved to Hampton in 1644.  They would have their first child about a year later, with another child arriving about every two years of son. Mary's life was one of household chores and child care. She more than likely had a vegetable and herb garden to tend. Henry and Abraham built and ran the watermill, he also farmed and raised cattle.

In 1652 Henry sued Mr. Edward Gilman of Exeter in court for payment for "the work of a team of oxen and a man for 13 days". It would appear that Henry hired himself and his oxen out to do work on other's farms. Edward Gilman counter-sued Henry at the same court session for "taking away a cow in the night". It would seem that Henry decided to the matter into his own hands and take a cow for payment.

This court session was a busy one for Henry, we also sued Richard Swaine for defamation. Now here is a black spot on Henry's reputation. Henry said that Richard reported that he, Henry had attempted the chastity of Bassill Swaine and used beastly and unseemly carriages and temptations toward Grace Bolter. I'm not sure what to make of this. The court obviously felt it was true and they fined him for "uncleanness" and bound him for his good behavior. Standing surety for him was Abraham Perkins and William Fifield. Immediately following his case was one against Edward Colcord, who was fined for excessive drinking. Both men appeared in court a year later their sureties discharge, they had behaved themselves.

Henry sold two plot of land in 1652, one to Isaac Perkins and one to John Cass. In one deed he was called a miller and in the other a millwright.

mary and her leg
You can find genealogical information from the weirdest sources. For example,  Henry was involved in a lengthy court case with William and Ann Edmonds of Lynn. This case played out over a couple of years and included many depositions and court appearances. Mary had a "desperate and dangerous" wound on one of her lower legs.  It was so severe that there was exposed bone.  Henry took Mary to Charlestown in  1657, to be treated by Dr. Starre. She lived with William Fifield who said that while she was at his house, she was able to sweep and wash dishes. Dr. Starre was not able to cure Mary, so Henry took her to the home of William and Ann Edmonds.  Ann was a skilled nurse who thought she could help the girl.  She cared for Mary for a period of about 11 months. The wound needed frequent dressing changes and at some point Ann actually removed about five inches of  bone from Mary's leg. Because of the lengthy case there were many depositions which required names and ages and place of residence, all very helpful.

Mary is usually listed as being born after Jacob.  But, if she were born in 1655 then she would have been only two years old when she was under the Edmonds care. Remember, William Fifield testified that she was washing dishes and sweeping floors at this house, this is not something a two or three year old would do. I think she was born after Abraham in about 1647/1648, this would make her nine or ten, which sounds much more likely to me. However, this is just my theory.

more land sales
Henry continued to buy and sell land in Hampton through the 1660's.  He also bought three parcels of land in Salisbury that were originally part of Mr. Hall's Farm. Some of these sales would land him in court. In 1663 he was sued by three men; William Fifield, Mr. Christopher Hussey, and John Brown.  In each case he fenced in part of their land and used it as his own. He was also sued by Thomas Marston for breaking a bargain over a gristmill. If you read these court cases it makes him seem like a terrible person, but they all did it. Everyone was in court suing each other, they were a very litigious bunch.

some good things
Life in the 1600's followed a predictable pattern for most men. You were born, got married and had children. During that time you farmed or worked at your occupation. You trained with the military train band. About the time you were forty or forty five you began to take on civic duties in your town. Henry's first recorded town job was in Feb of 1657, he was chosen to help run the town line between Hampton and Salisbury, MA. In 1660 he served as fence viewer. He was a selectman in 1662 and again in 1668. In 1665 Henry was chosen for the first time to be a juror on the Jury of Trials and in 1669 he was on the Grand Jury. In 1666, well into middle age,  he was dismissed from all military training.

The 1670's saw more land sales both to and from Henry. His sons were growing up and he was buying land for their futures.  In 1679 the town of Hampton gave Henry permission to build a second dam above his mill. By 1680 Henry paid the highest tax rate of any man in Hampton. He was Mr. Henry Green.

return of the king (jeanie's simplified version of history)
In 1660 Charles II of England regained the throne, the experimental rule of Parliament had ended. For the next few years he got his house in order in Europe, but by the 1670's his eyes had turned to his New England Colonies. Most of his colonies were well behaved, not so Massachusetts and it's step child New Hampshire. They were way, way too independent. In fact there was talk in England that New England was on the verge of declaring itself independent of Olde England. There was also an Englishman by the name of Robert Mason who believed that he owned New Hampshire and was pressing the King and the Council on New England to enforce his claim. The Council was not to worried about Mason and his compatriot Sir Fernando Gorges who laid claim to Maine, but what did worry them was that New England was trading directly with many European Countries, bringing back European goods and selling them in the West Indies at a lower cost and England was on the losing end of the deal. So, finally in 1676 the King sent a commissioner to Massachusetts, a guy named Randolph.

When Randolph arrived in Massachusetts he was treated shabbily. Governor Leverette pooh poohed the claims of Mason and Gorges. No one in power would cooperate with his commission.  But he did get the attention of all those who were unhappy with the Theocratic way of life in the colony. When Randolph returned to England the next year his recommendation that England get control of Massachusetts was taken under advisement. Randolph would eventually be sent back to Boston to head the Customs House and see that all trade and shipping acts were enforced, much to the displeasure of the colonial government. All New Englanders were all required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the King. This was taken in Hampton in 1678. But the King also had news for New Hampshire; guess what, you're no longer under the government of Massachusetts, I'm sending you a Royal Governor.

Edward Cranfield duly arrived in New Hampshire in 1682 and immediately made enemies of all and sundry. One of the biggest complaints against him was the he was determined to enforce Robert Mason's claim to New Hampshire. He also wanted the clergy to adhere to the Anglican Church. What does all this have to do with Henry Green, a lot as it happens.

henry green esq. 
As Henry's status rose throughout the 1670's he began to take on important roles not just in the town of Hampton, but in the New Hampshire as well. In 1682 he was an Assistant Judge to the Court of Pleas to the Crown and a Justice of the Peace. Henry now found himself in a prominent position in New Hampshire with a Royal Governor as his boss. A Royal Governor with an agenda.  Henry soon found himself on the wrong side of  his neighbors and popular sentiment. In a case against the Reverend Joshua Moody, Henry and the other Judges sent him to prison for not providing the service that Governor Cranfield wanted. Moody was a Puritan/Congregationalist not an Episcopalian. (it was more complicated than that but I'm trying not to bore you)  Henry later went to Rev. Moody to beg his forgiveness and admit that he was wrong to sentence him. Henry also had to participate in court cases against men who refused to recognize Robert Mason as the owner of their land and to pay him rent.

In 1683 Edward Gove and his son tried to start a rebellion against Cranfield.  Unfortunately he was drunk at the time and would not listen to his friends and neighbors when they tried to talk him out of it. He and ten other men were arrested and charged with high treason after riding into Hampton waving their swords while one of them blasted away on a trumpet. Henry Green testified as a witness to their folly. Edward was sentenced to be hanged and quartered, to the shock of all, even Governor Cranfield who had him shipped off to England.  Gove was eventually pardoned by King James II and returned home to New Hampshire.

By 1685 Cranfield had had enough and asked to be transferred to Barbados. The men of New Hampshire had proved to intractable.  Following the failed government of Cranfield, King James II
sent Sir Edmund Andros to be the Governor of all of New England.  This new entity was called the Dominion of New England. It too was a miserable failure.  Also during this time Robert Mason died and with him his hopes of claiming New Hampshire as his own.

In 1690 New Hampshire found itself withot a government, again.  This time the towns requested to be governed by Massachusetts, once again. In 1692 they got word from King William that he would not allow that to happen.  A new government was set up and Henry Green played an important role in governing the province. Henry served on the Council to the Governor until August of 1699 when he requested to retire, he continued to serve as a Justice of the Peace until his death the next year. If his reputation had been at all tarnished during the Cranfield Governorship, then he more than redeemed himself.

second marriage
Mary Green died sometime before 1690/1, her death was not recorded.  Henry's second wife was Mary Hussey the widow of Thomas Page. She survived him and married for a third time.

Henry wrote his will on the second of August 1700, he died three days later. Henry made provisions to all his children and his grandchildren from his daughter Elizabeth. He had obviously made some prior agreement with Mary Hussey which he alludes to in his will. He says that she can live in his house for one year following his death. The will was witnessed by Henry Dow, her next husband. The bequeaths in his will were:

1. To his son Abraham; His grant at a place called the New Plantation, one share of the cow common in Hampton, his grant of land in the North Division, what remains of his salt marsh and the remainder of his pasture land by the falls.

2. To his son Isaac:  All the rights he had in the place called Hall's Farm in Salisbury. Also some marshland adjoining Hall's Farm.

3. To his son Jacob: A piece of fresh meadow and upland that he bought of Joseph Swett. 30 acres of salt marsh. All the upland on his side of the falls, including his house, grist mill, saw mill, the privilege of the river and a small piece of land on the other side of the river. One share of cow common in Hampton, 20 acres over the falls river, all his cattle and other animals, all his household goods and farm equipment.

4. To his Chase grandchildren, six shillings each.

5. To his wife; she can live in his house for one year.

6. To his daughter Mary Green: six shillings indicating she has already had her share

7. To his daughter Hannah: six shillings, she already has her share

8. To his daughter Elizabeth Cass: six shillings, she already had her share.

His inventory indicated that his estate was worth about 885 pounds.

Captain Jacob Green
Nathan Longfellow and Mary Green

Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex Couty
State and Provinical Papers of New Hampshire Volumes I, II, III
Probate Records of the State of New Hampshire
Rockingham County Deeds

Dow, Joseph, and Lucy Ellen. Dow. History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire From Its Settlement in 1638, to the Autumn of 1892. Salem, MA: Printed by the Salem Pub. and Print., 1893. Print.

Noyes, Sybil I., Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis.Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1972. Print.

Davis, Walter Goodwin. The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes, 1759-1820, of Topsfield, Massachusetts. Portland, Me.: Anthoensen, 1959. Print.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

They died of what? Causes of death found in the 1800's records

So, on Thursday I momentarily forgot how to walk and now find myself the proud owner of a hideous black walking boot due to a fracture of a very small but very important bone in my foot. Bored and propped up on the couch with my laptop, I was curious as to how my ancestors would have dealt with fractures and other illnesses before the age of "modern" medicine. Vermont has great death records which lists the cause of death. Many of these terms are out of use today and I had to look some of them up.  Here are a few of the most interesting ones that I found.

Apoplexy: This was a stroke, obviously there was no effective treatment available. However, this did not stop Doctors from treating stroke victims with laxatives and the occasional bloodletting.

Bright's disease: One of my ancestors died at age 19 in 1913, shortly after she married. Her death certificate said she died as the result of convulsions and acute Bright's disease.  Named for Dr. Richard Bright who first identified a group of symptoms and recognized that they were the manifestations of a specific disease, naturally named for him.  Bright's disease is called now known as Nephritis. Bright's disease could be acute or chronic and was frequently found in patients who had diabetes. Symptoms included convulsions, swelling of feet, dark urine and kidney stones. There was no successful treatment for the disease. In 1898 my 2X Great Aunt Maria Thornton Niles died of Acute Tubus Nephritis, was this also Bright's disease?

Consumption: Ah, the dreaded consumption, also known as Tuberculosis. This disease has been around for thousands of years, it was well known to the Greek healer Hippocrates. It was called consumption as it seen to slowly "consume" the sufferer, but it was also known by its Greek name of Phthisis.  Although TB comes in many forms, consumption is what we know as Pulmonary TB. My 2X Great Uncle Nathan Thornton died at age 26 of the disease, there was little treatment and no known cure until the age of antibiotics.

Diphtheria: In 1910, my Grandfather's 5 year old brother Wayne Thornton died of Post Diphtheric Paralysis. He had had diphtheria one and a half years prior to his death and had suffered from the paralysis for 10 days. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection which results in fever, sore throat, swollen glands of the neck and a causes a bizarre thick grey sheet of material to form in the back of the throat, which can block the airway. Left untreated it can damage the heart and kidneys. The toxins can also cause severe nerve damage resulting in paralysis.  If the nerves in the throat are paralysis then the victim is unable to breathe, which is what probably happened to Wayne. It must have been heartbreaking for my Great Grandparents to watch their young child die this way.  Today this disease is prevented by a vaccine.

Dropsy: My 3rd great grandmother, Phebe Carter Blanchard Thornton died of Dropsy. This one I have actually heard of. Dropsy was the name given for Congestive Heart Failure. There was little treatment for this disease other than the poisonous Foxglove plant. Today Foxglove is the source of Digoxin.

Empelmia: no idea what this is. maybe a typo.

Enteritis: An inflammation of the bowel resulting in diarrhea. It was caused by the ingestion of pathogenic microorganisms.

Erysipelas: My 2nd great grandfather Samuel Thornton died of Erysipelas, also known as St. Antony's Fire. This was a skin infection caused by a group A Streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms included fever, chills, headache, fatigue and vomiting. This would be followed by a very nasty rash.  The rash could appear anywhere on the body and it was red and hard with an orange peel appearance. Today it is quickly cured by antibiotics. In 1874 treatment would include laxatives and painting the rash with iodine.

Hydropesia:  This is another name for Dropsy or Congestive Heart Failure

LaGrippe: This was another name for Influenza.  The great Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was also known as LaGrippe. The only treatment was comfort measures.  The sufferer either recovered or didn't.  Their overall general health played a role in their recovery, however during the 1918 outbreak, healthy young adults were known to have died within hours of showing symptons of the flu.

Marasmus: 11 year old Margaret Rowland died in 1899 of Marasmus.  I have to admit I have never heard this term.  Apparently it is a form of severe malnutrition generally caused by starvation.  I hope that was not the case for poor Margaret.

Old Age: my favorite, seems to be most folks who died after about age 65.

Paresis: Described as weakness of voluntary movement. It was once used to describe symptoms of untreated syphilis.

Phthisis: See Consumption.

Random: Sometimes the death certificate gives a very vague cause of death. Some that I have seen are: insanity, general break down, disablity, exhaustion with a slight shock, convulsions from teething,

Scarlet Fever: In 1859 my Great Uncle David Thornton and his wife Lydia lost four of their children within a month and a half. They all died of some variation of Scarlet Fever.  Six year old Adoniram Judson, died on 4 February of "canker rash".  Sumner, age nine, died on the 6th. On the 7th their youngest son, Frank Andrew, also died of canker rash and putrid sore throat.  On the 19th of March, their daughter Keziah died of Scarlatina.  Scarlet Fever is another illness caused by Strep. It is easily cured with antibiotic today, but back in the days before the miracle of penicillin, epidemics of scarlet fever claimed the lives of millions.

Softening of the Brain: In 1875, 52 year old Lucy Rowell died of 'softening of the brain'. I am not exactly sure what this was referring to or how they would know this without an autopsy. In any case, it doesn't sound good.

Stricture of the Intestine: One of my 2X Great Grandfather's brothers, Joseph N. Thornton died at age 40, in 1898, of something called a stricture of the intestine. A stricture is a narrowing of the small bowel which may result in a blockage.  This narrowing is often caused by repeated inflammation and scarring of the bowel walls. This inflammation often occurs in people with Crohn's disease. Today these strictures are treated by surgical procedures unknown in 1898. Prednisone, a common treatment for inflammation was not available prior to the 1950's.

Uraemia:  This literally means urea in the blood. Urea is normally excreted in urine but in people suffering from kidney failure it is found in greater quantities in the blood. So a person who died of uraemia died from kidney failure.

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...