Monday, June 17, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: December 20, 1876 - An untimely death

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

This week I look at a news clipping I found from the Missouri Republican, dated December 20, 1876, concerning a likely relative of my wife.

-- As Mr. S.C. Gober of Millerville, Cape Gerardeau county, was climbing up a frame building one day last week, upon which he was rendering some assistance, his hand hold slipped and he fell to the ground, striking on the back of his head and shoulders, receiving internal injuries of which he died.


1) I am unaware of a Gober in Millerville, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri with the initial S.C. No one with those initials appears to have been recorded in the 1876 state census. However, my wife's 3rd great grandfather, Louis C Gober, lived in Millerville, and is thought to have died near December of 1876. I've noticed initials being messed up in newspaper accounts before.

An online family tree notes that the will of L.C. Gober, was in probate on Dec 4, 1876. Naturally, if that is true, the newspaper article refers to someone else, since the newspaper was dated December 20th, and a will can't be in probate a week or two before one dies. I've contacted the creator of the online tree, to see if they have a copy of the probate information. I haven't heard back from them yet. If I don't hear back, I will contact the Cape Girardeau Archive Center next.

2) A search in "Google Books" indicates the spelling variant - Cape Gerardeau - wasn't uncommon in the 19th century.


Anonymous said...

Another factor to consider is that newspapers often harvested stories from other newspapers whole, without alteration. So this could have been from another newspaper a week before, or even two, then just recycled.

John said...

That's a possibility I hadn't considered.

John said...

The Missouri Republican appears to have been a St. Louis-based newspaper - so the likelihood they picked the story up from a Cape Girardeau-based newspaper is high.

I believe the MR was a weekly paper by the 1870s as well, which would add a delay to a reprint.