Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Sad Little Family Tale

I've traipsed through a lot of cemeteries in my genealogical research over the years.  The missus and I are both a bit odd, but we thoroughly enjoy a gander through a cemetery on a Sunday afternoon.  It is always fascinating to try and piece together a story just from the scant information offered on an aged tombstone.

One of the stones I ran across, was in the Chapman Valley Cemetery located a few miles from where I grew up.  It is the stone for Nelson Harrison and his young wife Nancy McRitchie.

Nelson was a great, great uncle of mine, brother to my great grandfather David Harrison, another individual I will blog about in the future.

I really don't have much information about Nelson, there are no tales that have been passed down through the generations.  All I have is the info from the tombstone and a little microfiche mention in the death certificates of the district and the following excerpt from another long distance cousin researcher.

From the notes of the late Charles McRitchie:

Nelson Harrison, born Jan 15, 1857 in Bentick Township, Grey County, Died Lake Muskoka, in Oct 1886.  Married on Dec 2, 1885 at Parry Sound Ontario to his 1st cousin, Nancy McRitchie, born May 30, 1858.  Nancy died Oct 28, 1886, just 7 days after the birth of their daughter.  Both were patients of the same Doctor at the same time, were nursed by No. 6 (this is the one of the Big Ten that I blogged about a week ago) who brought the baby home to live with them.

from the Chapman Valley Cemetery Records off the tombstone:

Harrison, Nancy Bartleman, b. May 30, 1858, d. Oct 28, 1886, w/o Nelson
Harrison, Nelson, b. Jan 15, 1857, d. Nov 26, 1886, h/o Nancy

The death certificate for Nelson is very short and to the point:

"erisipelas following gunshot wounds in hunting accident"

from the notes of CVB McRitchie: 

Nancy McRitchie, born May 30, 1858, died Oct 28, 1886, was married Dec 2, 1885 at Parry Sound, Ontario to Nelson Harrison, born Jan 15, 1857. Nelson died Nov 26, 1886 from blood poisoning, caused by being accidently shot in the knee while deer hunting on Oct 22.  Their issue: Nancy Nellie E. Harrison, born Oct 21, 1886.  

So to put the pieces of the puzzle together:
Nelson Harrison and Nancy Bartleman McRitchie were married on Dec 2, 1885. The only odd thing about this union was the fact that they were first cousins.  However that was not particularly uncommon 150 years ago in Ontario.  Ten months later their daughter Nancy Nellie E. was born on Oct 21, 1886.  The next day Nelson was accidently shot in the knee while deer hunting.  Six days later, the mother Nancy died, presumably from complications from childbirth.  Nelson lived another month and eventually succumbed to blood poisoning from his wound on November 26, 1886.  The new baby was left an orphan and returned to the grandparents, who apparently raised her.  Unfortunately, no records beyond her birth, have ever been discovered. Thus ends my sad little tale.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

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