Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fearless Females: March 19th

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

I think one of the most surprising things that I have uncovered so far is the story of my great grandfather's sister, Julia Haskins.
Julia was born on August 3, 1891 in Waterbury, CT.  We are not completely sure of the birth location but that is what is believed at this time.  She was the daughter of George Haskins and Sarah Drake.  Around 1893 Julia moved with her family to Rochester, NY where she lived until her mom and siblings moved to Sodus, NY.  Once in Sodus they lived with Sarah's parents; Charles Drake and Augusta West.
During May of 1898 Julia was out playing with her brother, which we believe to be my great grandfather.  They made a bon-fire and their play went terribly wrong.  Here is a transcription of an article that appeared in The Record, Sodus, NY Friday May 20, 1898.

Fatally Burned!  Little Julia Haskins Loses Her Life By Fire.  Lived Thirty-Three Hours After the Accident.

Last Saturday morning one of the most distressing accidents that ever occurred in Sodus resulted in the death of Julia Haskins, the little six years old daughter of Mrs Sarah Haskins of Rochester.  About eight o'clock that morning Julia and her four years old brother made a bon fire, as they had frequently done before.  They were having a jolly time at their play when the little fellow playfully threw a piece of burning paper at his sister.  It caught on her dress, which was cotton, and in an instant she was enveloped in flames.  Her cries attracted the neighbors.  George Brown was the first one to reach the child.  He picked her up and carried her into the house, where a quilt was thrown around her and the flames were smothered.  Some one sent for the physicians and doctors Myers and Richardson were soon by her side.  They made an examination and found that her abdomen, chest, face, right arm, right side and thigh were horrible burned.  Her hair was also badly scorched as were her lips.  The physicians announced that her condition was most serious and that she was injured internally as a result of inhaling the intense heat from the flames.  They did all they could to relieve her terrible sufferings, but about half past six o'clock the following day she passed away.  During the hours of suffering she bore the great pain with fortitude and seemed to appreciate all that was done for her.  The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at the residence of Mrs. Charles Drake, Rev. Smith Ordway officiating.  It was deemed best to inter the remains at the Rural cemetery in the village.  The pupils of the public school marched to cemetery in a body, where they deposited a bouquet of flowers in the grave.  Julia came to Sodus last December with her mother, who  is a daughter of Mrs. Charles Drake and they have been with Mrs. Drake since that time.  Julia became a pupil at the public school and her bright face was frequently seen with the other children as they passed through the streets for school.  Her long golden curls and rosy complexion made her an exceptionally attractive little girl, and her cheery disposition made her a favorite with all who knew her.  The sympathy of the entire town goes out to the mother and sorrowing relatives.

I found out this information about 8 years ago when I first started digging into my family tree.  There always seemed to be many secrets surrounding the Haskins side of my family.  No one talked about anything, especially my great grandfather.  I have a feeling he held a great deal of guilt about what happened to Julia, as he was the four year old little brother that was playing with her.  I was saddened by the story, but I think the worst part is the fact that she was buried in the rural cemetery or potter's field.  Her grave was never marked and we don't really know where she was buried for sure.  Her mom, brother and grand parents all were buried in their family plots in Marion.  Julia died a horrible death and was basically forgotten.  I am happy to honor her for at least one small moment in time.

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