Saturday, July 31, 2010

Death Often Came Early in this Family

For the last few months my husband and I have been focusing on the family of one of his great, great grandaunts as the result of family history records that came to us from another descendant of hers.

Larry’s great, great grandmother was Catherine Campbell, wife of John Haught. Catherine’s oldest sister Mary has been the subject of our research. On 10 Feb 1867, when Mary was 28 years old, she married Absalom Critchfield in Glover Gap, Marion, West Virginia. Absalom had lost his first wife Abigail Maine, the mother of their 8 children, on 28 Nov 1862 in Waynesburg, Greene, Pennsylvania.

I love to print out a family group sheet and then take time to really study it and see what stories it tells me. I looked at the family of Absalom and Abigail Critchfield. Since they were married 2 May, 1841, it’s estimated that their first son John Linzy was born about 1842. He died in 1886 at age 44. Their second child was son William Whitlach Critchfield, born 20 Nov 1846. He died 22 Feb 1865, aged 18. Third child David Kennedy Critchfield was born 30 Aug 1848 and died in 1879, aged 30. Their fourth son, James Leroy Critchfield was born 24 Mar 1851 and lived to the ripe old age of 83. He’s pictured below with his wife Sylvania Glover, who is also a distant cousin of my husband’s. 
James Leroy Critchfield and Sylvania Glover Critchfield
Absalom and Abigail’s 5th child was daughter Mary Jane, who was born 1853 and died in 1889 at the age of 36. The sixth child of Absalom and Abigail was Thomas Jefferson, born Apr 1857 and died 1921 at the age of 64. Seventh child Sarah Elizabeth, born 12 Oct 1859, died at the age of 15 in August 1875.

If that isn’t enough hardship and tragedy in one family, here’s more. Absalom and Abigail’s eighth child was Nancy Anne, who was born 25 Sep 1862. Abigail herself died two months later, on 28 Nov 1862, then baby Nancy Ann’s death followed one week later, on 5 Dec 1862.

When we take time to study a group sheet like this, we begin to get an idea of what these family members experienced in terms of loss, grief, and tragedy. We gain a better understanding of the emotions they lived with, the troubles they encountered and the strength it must have taken to persevere.

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