11 March 2010

Fearless Females: Day 11

Today's prompt for the Fearless Female Women's History blog challenge is:

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

Nearly all of my female ancestors have lived into their 80's--early deaths are rare. I do have one whose place of death was a surprise, though. According to the on-line Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre–1916, here is the entry for Katherine (TOEMMES) HUIGENS WEND:

Name of Deceased: WEND, CATHERINE
Date: 1899-02-22
Age: 72 YR
Sex: F
Vol.: 2
Page: 228
Certificate No.: 6215
County: MORGAN

The Illinois Hospital for the Insane was not where I expected to find her in 1899. In 1895, she and her husband Nicholas WEND were living in Franklin Twp., Cass Co., Iowa with their daughter's family. Four years later she died in the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane back in Jacksonville, Morgan Co., IL. Check here for background and history on this hospital.

I have no idea how she got there from Iowa. She had another daughter who lived in Peoria, IL about 100 miles northeast of the hospital. Why she was there is another mystery. My guess is that is was probably senility or Alzheimer's. The records for the hospital are in the Illinois State Archives in Springfield. Access to them is limited, but I'm going to have to see sometime what I can learn from them.

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