Heartbroken

Looking for tax-related documents for an upcoming exhibit today, I found death instead (or perhaps it found me?), in a small, but heart-breaking moment from the past.

Note to Horatio from Father and Mother, October 1870 (date supplied)

Note to Horatio from Father and Mother, October 1870 (date supplied)

On October 29, 1870, Bradford Adams died of typhoid fever aged 15 years, 11 months and 3 days.  Father and Mother are George T. and Lydia T. Adams; Horatio is our old friend the capitalist.

 

Wendell Adams, Rufus Toby, Winslow Faunce, Bradford Adams, Charles Everson, no date

Wendell Adams, Rufus Toby, Winslow Faunce, Bradford Adams and Charles Everson, no date

In this group portrait, Bradford sits at right and his older brother Wendell — more formally George Wendell — stands at center.  Sadly, Wendell had died just weeks before Bradford of the same disease.

A third Kingston teenager, 17 year old Clara Winsor, had also died of typhoid fever that fall, but beyond these deaths, Kingston was spared an epidemic. Through the 1860s and 1870s, outbreaks of typhoid fever struck around the world, particularly in densely populated and rapidly industrializing areas.  By 1884, the bacteria that caused the disease was identified and over the next two decades, effective vaccines were developed.

Receipt for monument and curbing, May 29, 1871

Receipt for monument and curbing, May 29, 1871

But in the spring of 1871, George T. Adams added a new stone to the family plot in Evergreen Cemetery, most likely for his two boys.

Sources: MC-21 Hathaway Collection; MC-23 Helen Adams Collection;  Town Clerk’s Report, 1870; Wikipedia article on typhoid.

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