Monday, September 16, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Samuel Van Every's obituary - 1888

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 weekend I returned to Chronicling America to see if there were any new finds since the last time I checked. The Library of Congress is continually adding newspapers, and I have found the collection useful for ancestors and kin who lived in small towns. I found that one recent addition was the San Marcos Free Press (1877-1892). My great grandparents, Melvin and Margaret (Denyer) Van Every, and my great-great grandfather Samuel Van Every (and his third wife Margaret) lived in San Marcos during those years. My great grandfather's older brother, George, and his family also lived there. Unfortunately, there are several references in the newspaper to "Mr. Van Every" without identifying which one. Below, however, I was able to identify who they meant, and the entries provide me with a cause of death for my great great grandfather.

San Marcos Free Press – April 12, 1888

Mr. Van Every, we regret to learn is very sick. His trouble is erysipelas.

San Marcos Free Press – April 19, 1888

Mr. Van Every died on yesterday morning. He was a kind hearted, honest man, worthy of better fortune.

(a week later, the news of his death reached an Austin newspaper...)

Austin Weekly Statesman, April 26, 1888, p. 7.

Letter From San Marcos
Special Correspondence


S. Van Every, an old citizen of San Marcos, died here the other day. He had been suffering for some time with erysipelas.


1) Even without the Austin Weekly Statesman providing the first initial, I already knew that my great great grandfather died on April 18, 1888. I previously transcribed his memorial card.

2) Erysipelas, also known as "holy fire" and "St. Anthony's Fire," is an acute bacterial skin infection.

I'll share some more of the entries next week.

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