Saturday, January 16, 2016

Too Much Death!

Evelyn  Edna Blythman
She is extremely young, but she looks so thoughtful, sad and knowing.  I wonder what she is thinking.  Does she know that she has been born into a family that has suffered bad luck, which will continue?
As I went through my grandmothers photo albums, looking for a photo to prompt this week's research and blog, the photo of little "Evelyn Blythman Herraman distant relative" caught my eye.  It was surrounded by other photos of young children, who are smiling and playful as children should be, which makes the soulful gaze of young Evelyn so noticeable.

Card from Blythman family to my Great Grandparents,
Jim & Mabel Pilgrim (circa 1913).
My Grandmother has also added notes.
Jim is a son of James Pilgrim so would
 have grown up with Carrie.












George Warner married Sophia Catherine Boeck in Winiam, Victoria, Australia on the 30th September 1886.  They soon had five children:
Maria Augusta Warner, born 16 July 1887
Caroline Sarah "Carrie" Warner born 13th December 1888
Jane Elizabeth Warner born 1890
Albert George "Bertie" Warner born 23rd January 1892
Robert James Warner born 2nd September 1893

On 18th December 1893, Sophia Warner died from "acute mania and exhaustion", which she had suffered for 10 days.  Was this Post Natal Depression?  Or Typhoid Fever, which was in the area at the time? Or something else?  We will never know.

An extract from the Nhill Free Press dated 22 December 1893;
"In our last issue we announced that Mrs Sophia Warner, wife of Mr. George Warner of Winiam, who had been suffering from acute mania, had been sent into the Nhill Hospital by Dr. Ryan, with a view of watching the case until events should indicate what further steps to take in the matter.  A day or two solved the difficulty in an unexpected manner.  The unfortunate woman died on Tuesday evening, the proximate cause being exhaustion resulting in a violent attack of acute mania". 

Three year old Jane died soon after on the 1st January 1894.  An inquest was conducted into her death as summarised in the Nhill Free Press  on 5 January 1894;

"A magisterial inquiry was held on Tuesday by Mr. J. Walker J.P., into the circumstances attending the death of a child named Jane Elizabeth Warner, aged three years, who was found dead in her bed at Winiam at 5a.m. on 1st January.  The evidence showed the child to have been suffering from measles.  She recovered but the disease left behind it a bad cough and inflammation of the lungs.  Dr. Mackenzie made a post mortem examination and subsequently stated that the cause of death had been broncho-pneumonia, followed by pericarditis, causing exhaustion and the magisterial verdict at the inquiry was in accordance with the medical testimony".

"To Jim and Mabel,
Wishing you a merry Christmas
and Happy New Year
From Maria and Carrie"
Within a fortnight (12 January 1894), the youngest child, 4 month old Robert James Warner, was also dead from "Bronchitis and Exhaustion", which he had been suffering for 10 days.

George was unable to care for his remaining children; 
Maria (6), Carrie (5) and Bertie (2), who soon went to live with George's sister, Mary Ann and her husband James Pilgrim (my Great Great Grandparents).   George died 22nd April 1902. His sister Mary Ann died soon after on 1st May 1902.

Carrie continued to live with the Pilgrim family  until her marriage to 24 year old farmer, Gilbert John Blythman, at the home of James Pilgrim, on Monday 30th September 1912.  I have previously written about a photo, which could be their wedding.

Physical Description of Gilbert Blythman
from 1916 enlistment papers
Source:  www.naa.gov.au


Evelyn Edna Blythman was born soon after on the 28th December 1912 in Nhill, Victoria, Australia followed by her sister, Irene Sarah Blythman, who was born 26 April 1915.

Gil was an accurate shot and member of the local rifle club and he likely felt that it was his duty to sign up for the Australian Military Forces, although his children were very young.  Ev was nearly four and Rene was only one when their father embarked on overseas duty on 6th December 1916.............never to return.  Gill was "Killed in Action" in France on the 4th October 1917.  There are no details about his death and his body was never recovered.  He is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, which I have previously written about.

Ev and Rene Blythman
From my Grandmother; Eva Jean Pilgrim
Source: www.nla.gov.au
Nhill Free Press, Friday 4th October 1918, page 2






















Carrie's brother, Albert George "Bertie" Warner, was also killed in action shortly after her husband.  I have written more about Bertie here.

So much misfortune!  Carrie had lost both of her parents, her husband, three of her siblings and her brother.  And then her youngest daughter!  Irene Sarah "Rene" Blythman died 27th March 1921 at 6 years of age from Diphtheria and Heart Failure.

I am very grateful that Ev Blythman kept in contact with my Grandmother, Eva Pilgrim (they were 2nd cousins) as there are a number of photos in my grandmother's album, which she has marked "from Ev Herraman May 1972".  Ev Herraman (nee Blythman) died 23rd August 1980.  She was 67 years old and lived longer than many of her family members!


This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday.  Please click to see more posts.


Memories from Eva Pilgrim
"I was too young to know about Auntie Carries life but when she came to visit she was always happy and laughing the same as when we went there to visit.        She was like Myrtle Pilgrim (Bell) and would shake all over when she laughed an that was often.               She had Ev ( her daughter) who lived with her and then Ev married a Herraman and I think they lived with Auntie Carrie". 

29 comments:

  1. I couldn’t believe that so much ill-luck has befallen one woman. Infant mortality was high in those days, and WW1 also accounted for many fatalities, but when they are all added together the effect is devastating.

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    1. Yes, two of the major causes of death for the era but (luckily), I do not have any other families (that I know of) that have had so much misfortune.

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  2. Too much! I just can't imagine that much misfortune -- "devastating," Little Nell's word, is exactly right.

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    1. I don't know that today we would be able to cope with so much death and despair!

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  3. Terrible luck. Interesting that exhaustion could be the partial cause of death. I hope fortune finally smiled on the remaining members of the family. Great post.

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    1. Yes, "exhaustion" does seem to be an unusual cause of death.

      I could not find any additional information about Carrie.

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  4. There sure was a lot of tragedy and death in that family.

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    1. It seems so unfair that Carrie had so much heart ache.

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  5. Death from disease was so common but no less sad and tragic. This family had more than its fair share of troubles though.

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    1. I am in definitely in favour of childhood vaccinations.

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  6. So much sadness for the family to bear. Beautiful photos.

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    1. We are very fortunate to have them.

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  7. So much sadness for the family to bear. Beautiful photos.

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  8. How did people ever survive that kind of repeated tragedy? I hope Carrie herself was able to recover from it all and enjoy life with little Evelyn.

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    1. I will ask my great Aunt if she can remember her at all, as I am now interested to know too.

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  9. Sad; it was a time when medicine was sill in infants shoes. Diphteria was a curse for small children at the time. Well documented and beautiful photos.

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  10. In some ways we are a fortunate generation as far as family historians are concerned - although the subject of our researchers are so often far from fortunate. But we have the photographs (if we are lucky) and we have the on-line research tools that allow us to tell real stories with such detail - and such care.

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    1. Well said. Thank you for your kind words.

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  11. Usually I am envious of all the family information and pictures that you have. But I think I would rather not know about all the sadness my ancestors suffered with. European relatives on both sides of my family were quite mum about what life was like back home.

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    1. I have yet to start researching my husband's family from Germany. We know very little as they vowed when they came to Australia to "Become Australians"

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  12. In today's world with vaccinations against so many serious illnesses & medicines to fight them off, it's hard to imagine what people back then had to deal with as a 'normal' worry & consequence of life - for their children as well as the adults in their lives. Today we simply expect our children will grow to adulthood & when they don't, I think it's harder for us to deal with. Still & all, poor Carrie had more than her share of grief - even for the times!

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  13. As ou said, too many deaths, but a tribute to family who are always prepared to step in and do what they can in a sad situation.

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    1. I would love to return some of these photos to Evelyns family. I will keep looking for them.

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  14. Genealogy is so much more than dates and names. You've given these family photos a fine context so that we may better appreciate the trials of life that they endured.

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    1. Thank you very much Mike. I appreciate the compliment as that is exactly my purpose.......to add some background and history to the photos. Thanks again.

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  15. No wonder the poor baby looks serious. Life and death were no joke in her family.

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    1. She certainly stood out from the other babies on the page, due to her seriousness.

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