Monday, February 25, 2013

Sad List



I write a lot about the nostalgic good ole days when women wore lovely dresses and sat on front porches, rocking the evening away; when men had honor and children had manners.  Unfortunately, there was a darker side.

People died of things we can't imagine:  blood poisoning from a small cut, pneumonia, infection from a bad tooth, and childbirth.  I would have probably died when I was twenty and had appendicitis, and my sister would have died in childbirth instead of having an emergency Cesarean.  Fatal accidents were too common for those making a living by farming or cutting timber.

When death came to these country folks, it was up to them to take care of their own.  The list above, taken from the Gravelly Springs General Mercantile ledger from March, 1880, tells the tale.  I don't know who these people were, but given enough time, all of our families' names would have probably shown up on a similar list.