Tuesday, March 31, 2009


When I was a child my grandmother told me about her sister Loretta and how she died at an early age. The neighbor "scared her to death with a Halloween mask." Or so my grandmother Gertrude O'Rourke had told me.

Last Saturday I was at the Carnegie Library and perusing the deaths from 1885 to 1096. In the O section I came across a death for Loreto O'Rourke in 1894. I sent for the copy and sure enough it was the often spoken of Loretta. She died November 24, 1894 after an illness of fever for a duration of two weeks. She was buried November 25, 1894 in the Monongahela Cemetery, which is now All Saints Catholic Cemetery in North Braddock PA. I wonder if their other three children are buried there too?

My grandmother said Loretta was the youngest which would make her birth in 1892. My grandmother said her birthday was 1892, that makes me question did Gertrude remember her sister or was it something she was told? The records from the Diocese of Pittsburgh did not indicate a Loretta O'Rourke birth/Baptism. Also, another child my grandmother spoke of was Dennis, who had drowned in the river.

Will the cemetery have those records??? I have to see.

On another listing I had requested with the Bartel name was a death of a six day old infant names Henry Bartel. I do not know if he is a relative but the cause of death was lock jaw. Lock Jaw is the old name for blood poisoning or tetanus. People now are vaccinated for that and when we get an injury outside we can get a booster.

How would an infant get this infection?? The answer is easy, the umbilical cord was cut with a knife or scissors that were infected. Poor baby Henry he did not have a chance from the start. Lots of woman and children died from infection associated with childbirth. Things have changed since then.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a small child I used to visit a grave of friends of my mother's, a married couple. She told me they died "together" in a car crash. When I got a bit older I noticed their death dates were a few months apart...hmmm. Once my mother had passed & I inherited her diaries I found out one had passed in the crash & the other had killed himself months later.....yes, hint of truth. This entry brought a lot of memories back for me.

    So many things have changed since then, I almost feel it was so much easier to die then rather than to live.~Mary