Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Shot by a woman"

I volunteer at the Utah State Archives, and lately I've been working with old death registers. I read the various causes of death as I go along in my work, and I've found some entries worth sharing. Here, from the Record of Dead book, are some of the more interesting causes of death:
  • "Shot by a woman"
    This is funny because there are other instances of death by shooting, but they mostly just say "gun wound" or "accidentally shot" or something like that. But being shot by a woman, now that's something worth noting! ;o)
  • "Information of bowels"
    Of course they meant "inflammation of bowels," but "information of bowels" makes me chuckle.
  • "Sufferation"
    It's not in today's dictionary, but this word is pretty descriptive, don't you think?
  • "Drank lye"
    This one is sad. It was a 19-month-old baby.
  • "Fell from high chair"
    Another sad one. The kid was 14 months old. It seems such a dumb way to die, from such a small thing as falling off your (high)chair.
  • "Shot by Jack Cole"
    I don't know who Jack Cole was, but apparently he was worth mentioning. He wasn't even a woman, either. Or maybe he was; it didn't state specifically...
  • "Shot in Indian War"
    For real!
  • "Shot by RR officer"
    RR means railroad. I saw a handful of these actually, people who were shot by railroad officers. I want to know what the heck the railroad officer was doing shooting people, and what these people did to provoke the officers.
  • "Improper food"
    This was a 4-year-old. I wonder what he ate, if it was food poisoning or something.
  • "Basil skull fracture"
    I had no idea cooking could be so dangerous...
And my all-time favorite:
  • "Femal [sic] weakness"
    The woman was aged 49, so was it menopause? Was it related to "woman troubles"? Or was the recorder indicating that the woman could have survived, had she been a man? Makes me curious.
There were also a couple of factually questionable entries, such as the person whose recorded date of death was 31 June 1889, or the record for the person who was born in September 1887, but died 26 August 1887*.

Most of the entries were more ordinary: dysentery, stillborn, natural causes, diphtheria, bronchitis, accidental death, lingering illness, pneumonia, childbirth, etc. Thank heavens most of these things are treatable now, and not an automatic bill of death.

*Actually, I can see how this would be possible if the baby died in the womb and the doctor discovered the death using a stethoscope... so I guess that's not as odd as I thought. But the cause of death was pneumonia (with "sick from birth" crossed off), so it's more likely there was just an error somewhere in the record-keeping.

1 comment:

elegyrl said...

Makes me think of some of the funny things I see on T/C (traffice collision) reports 7/or on supplemental reports. (Supplemental reports are basically if someone disagrees with what the officer wrote in the TC report they can attest it and it goes back to the officer for review. Then the officer decides whether or not to make an ammendment to the original report)

THe other day I received a supplemental for a collision. The basis of the original report is the guy made a left turn in front of the lady to go into a parking lot or whereever. She ended up t-boning him when he turned in front of her. He was put at fault for not yielding and turning in front of the lady.

He submitted a supplemental to try and get a few things changed (primarily to be not listed at fault) He also submitted photos of the roadway where he was. In his supplemental his reasoning why she should be at fault was this:
he stated "it appears she moved her vehicle where she was looking instead of around me" (or something along those lines) .... his reasoning was that even though he cut her off and turned in front of her...She is at fault for driving properly and not swerving around him!