Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Obituary Opinions

Much of the time, early New England death records (at least in their printed form) are little more than names and dates. Sometimes, we get a bit more information about the circumstances of death, as in the case of the Pepperell Tragedies.

And sometimes, we get Obituary Opinions. Whoever was recording deaths in Roxbury in the 1640s added a whole lot more to his entries. Doubtless, these commentaries are meant to preserve evidence of the deceased person's situation re: salvation, but some of them come off a bit saucy:
1642: There were 2 infants dyed in the birth, it was conceived to be through the unskillfullnesse of the midwife, none of the parents were of our church

1643: Mary Onion the wife of Rob. Onion died of a cold and [sweat?] taken in childbed her child also dyed, because she was stubborne, and would not submitt to the paines, bit she was after filled with dredful horror of conscience and dyed under them, but I hope under some tokens of mercy

1643: Goodman Stone, an old Kentish man dyed, he was not of the Church, yet on his sick bed some had some hopes of him.

1646: Bro. Griggs who lay in a long affliction of sicknesse & shined like gold in it, greatly glorifying God and magnifying his grace in Christ.

1646: Ezbon, an Indian, hopefully godly, haveing lived 10 yeare among the English, could read, desired to serve God &c. dyed

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