Thursday, August 15, 2013

Died of Cholera

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Tennessee.  One of my stops in Nashville was the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  The Library has onsite access to a historic Nashville Newspaper database:  The Nashville Tennessean (1812-1922).

I searched "Nashville Tennessean" newspaper database using only the "Medlin" family surname, which resulted in 7 or so pages with 20 hits on each page.  After going through a couple of pages, I was beginning to think that I would not find anything of great value.  Then I clicked open an 1854 article titled, "Health of Lebanon."  Lebanon is the county seat for Wilson County, Tennessee.  In 1850, our Samuel Medlin family lived in Wilson County.  The article was about an outbreak of cholera and listed some of the residents who had died of the disease.  One of the persons mentioned who had died of the disease was my 3rd great-grandmother, "Mrs. Sam'l Medlin" (Rebecca Morgan Medlin.)  Rebecca was the mother of my 2nd great-grandmother, Bettie Medlin Stewart.  Grandma Bettie had always referred to herself as an orphan, because her mother, Rebecca, had died when she was an infant.  Since Bettie did not even know her own date of birth, I had to guess at Bettie's birth date from the few times she gave her age to the census taker.  So, that meant I also had to guess at an "about death date" of 1852-1855 for her mother, Rebecca, who supposedly died when Bettie was an infant.  Rebecca's widowed husband, Samuel Medlin, remarried on 26 Dec 1855, so I knew that Rebecca had died before that date.

Below is a copy of the newspaper article reporting the death of Rebecca Morgan Medlin:

After reading the newspaper article, I just sat there a little stunned and a lot sad.  Poor Rebecca.  Did others in her family also suffer from the disease and recover?  Perhaps Rebecca wore herself out caring for others in the family and then succumbed to the disease herself?  We will probably never know the complete story. Several of the older daughters in the family - Caroline, Nancy, Eliza - also disappear from records after the 1850 census.  Did they also get the disease during this 1854 cholera outbreak in Wilson County, Tennessee?  Or, did they die from another disease?

In Memory of Our 3rd Great-Grandmother
May you never be forgotten

Rebecca Morgan Medlin
Born about 1817 in Tennessee
Died July 1854 in Wilson County, Tennessee

Other posts mentioning Rebecca:
Maiden name of Rebecca, wife of Samuel Medlin
Meet for Lunch?
Bettie Medlin - Little Orphan Girl


Anonymous said...

Awesome find!! Another piece of the puzzle found.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finding this information about Rebecca Medlin, my 4Xgreat-grandma. I wonder where they buried her. If we knew, we could put up a headstone.