Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Death of Frank Cram and more news of Sarah's Mother

Aunt Sarah Cram finally dates a letter!  This letter is dated 11 July 1880.

Sarah Cram has very sad news to convey to her niece Sarah Cummings.  Sarah Cram's son Frank has died in Colorado.  Aunt Sarah tells our Sarah that Frank was taken to a hospital and remained unconscious until his death.  He suffered from congestion of the brain.  She tells Sarah that the Governor's Guards, of which her son was a member, took charge of the body.  He was buried with military honors.  Sarah then goes on to say, "He was 43 years old, the day he was buried.  In the prime of life.  Poor fellow is now at rest."  Think of the anguish that must have been in her heart as she penned these words.

1870 Federal Census, Denver, Colorado
I tried to find out a little more about the Governor's Guards, but was unable to discover anything.  I am not sure if she meant the Governor's Guards of Colorado, or the Governor's Guards of Massachusetts, or somewhere else.  I did find Frank Cram in the 1870 Federal Census living in Denver, Colorado.  I clipped a small portion of the page for you to see.  This is also a great example of using indexes.  Frank is not listed with the surname of Cram in the index.  If I had searched for Frank Cram, I would not have found our young couple.  Instead I used the soundex search for Frank Cram, and found him listed as Frank Crom.  The soundex search places similar sounding names together, just in case they may have been spelled incorrectly.

Aunt Sarah then answers her niece's question:  "You wished to know something about yourself."  I find this question by Sarah Cummings so revealing.  I am beginning to think that Sarah's quest for family history may have had something to do with trying to discover parents she did not know.  Her mother died shortly after Sarah was born.  It seems her father was unable to take care of such a small child and so gave her up to his brother-in-law.  Think of the young family torn apart by death.  Forty years later, a daughter tries to reclaim parents she never knew.

Sarah Cram's narrative continues,
"The day your mother died, you was carried to a wet nurse who lived in the neighborhood.  She had a very young child.  She was a good woman.  I don't recollect just how long she kept you, but I think you was a little over a year old when my good brother Adams went to Salem and brought you home with him.  He always loved you as an own child.  We bless his memory."
The more I think about it, this letter must have been very hard for Sarah Cram to write.  She starts with the death of her son, Frank.  She then recollects the death of her sister, Mary.  From there she remembers her deceased brother Adams Holden.  My heart goes out to this Sarah Cram.  I never met her, didn't know anything about her, but here she is.  A women with a heavy heart on this July afternoon in 1880.  However, life does go on.

Sarah ends her letter with a little note, "Excuse this won't you - my eyes are bad" in regards to her penmanship.  I wonder if her eyes were bad because they had been swollen with tears...  

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