Saturday, October 11, 2008

101 Ways, Part 55: Drowned

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.

There are many places to drown in New England. Today, people drown in the ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, pools, and bathtubs. In the eighteenth century, there were not so many pools and bathtubs, but people drowned in other places: rainwater hogsheads, troughs, and occasionally, buckets. In addition to drowning, many young children died after being scalded when hot kettles overturned. Here's a quick sample of death notices:

Boston Evening Post, November 26, 1753:

The Boston News-Letter and New-England Chronicle, May 21, 1767:

Boston Weekly News-Letter, July 11, 1741:

As sometimes happened when death was violent or unexpected, the epitaphs of drowning victims often go beyond the quotidian "died" and "departed this life" to include a specific cause of death. Here are a few examples:

Jacob Stone, Charlestown, MA (1746):

Comfort Eddy, Providence, RI (1785):

William Mills, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston, MA (179-):

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

Very interesting. Any idea who the carver is on the Copp's Hill stone?

(It's also linguistically interesting to see that in those days, people didn't drown, they were drowned.)