After reading about the four grown grandchildren having died in a period less than eight months in Sarah Amanda Woods' obituary last time, my interest was piqued. The obituary states that each of the four brothers lost one child. Let's see if we can dig into this misfortune of the Wood family.
The children of Nathan and Sarah Amanda were:
- Charles Edgar Wood (1859-1929)
- William Estil Wood (1867-1950)
- Dora Belle Wood (1864-1948)
- Ezra Emmett Wood (1867-1952)
- Louella Wood (1873-1960)
- Otis Thomas Wood (1876-1969)
- Mary Florence Wood (1890-1947)
I have bolded the males in the list to help us focus on them. Sarah Amanda's obituary also stated there was an eighth child that died when they were four years old. I haven't found any details for that child yet in anything I have found to date, so I put Unknown at the bottom of the list.
The year is 1919 and World War I had just ended. Also in 1919, Woodrow Wilson is the President, Prohibition goes into effect in the United States, dial telephones are introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and four Wood family grandchildren died this year.
The first grandchild who passed away in 1919 was Ruby Frances Wood. She was the daughter of Estil and Martha Franklin Wood. Ruby died on Feb 3, 1919 of tuberculosis. She was only 18 years old, and the family was living in Bloomington, Indiana. Looking at her death certificate, she must have suffered for a few months with the illness before she passed.
Tuberculosis was common in this time period. It was a contagious disease that was referred to as a "death sentence" if contracted. According to this website, "During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death in the United States, and one of the most feared diseases in the world. Formerly called “consumption,” tuberculosis is characterized externally by fatigue, night sweats, and a general “wasting away” of the victim. Typically but not exclusively a disease of the lungs, TB is also marked by a persistent coughing-up of thick white phlegm, sometimes blood."
Ruby was so young, and it must have been devastating for the family. Her parents were later buried beside her at Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana.
Ruby Wood, Obituary, Bloomington Evening World, 4 Feb 1919
|Ruby Wood, Death Certificate, Monroe County, Indiana|
|Ruby Wood, Headstone, Rose Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana|
On the second anniversary of her death, this was published in the Bloomington Evening World Newspaper on Feb 3, 1921.
|Ruby Wood, Obituary, Bloomington Evening World, 3 Feb 1921|
The next grandchild to pass away was Effie Wood Porter who died on April 29, 1919. She was the daughter of Charles and Gabra Ella Wood. She married John Porter on July 16, 1904 when she was 18 years old and he was 42. Married for 12 years, she and John has seven children. Her husband John passed away on February 14, 1917 with heart issues, at the age of 54. Also, very sadly, Effie died only two years later of tuberculosis. Leaving all those children must have been so hard on all the family!
|Effie Wood Porter, Obituary, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 8 May 1919|
|John and Effie Porter, Heddings Road Chapel Cemetery, Owen County, Indiana|
The fist male grandchild to pass away in 1919 was Raymond Wood, and he was the son of Ezra Emmett and Malinda (Coffer) Wood. Raymond was 17, and he tragically passed away in an automobile accident on July 20, 1919 in Redfield, Iwoa. There was a lengthy newspaper article which explained what happened in the Owen County Democrat. Raymond had gone out on a drive with his younger brother, Woodrow, who was only six years old. His car stalled while going up a large hill and rolled backwards off of a cliff landing in water. Raymond was thrown from the car as it flipped, and his little brother miraculously survived. Raymond worked with his father and older brothers in the family's garage called, Redfield Garage. In the Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990, his occupation was listed as Machinist Automobile. This just makes me very sad. So young and to die in a car accident must have been devastating for the family.
|Raymond Wood Tragic Death, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 31 Jul 1919|
His father later sued Dallas County for damages of $27,700 because of the dangerous area of the road not having a guard rail. In today's money, it would equate to over $400K. The case was moved to Warren County and was retried at least two times. I searched but could not find out the outcome of the trials.
|E.E. Wood Law Suite, Washington Evening Journal, 27 Sept 1919|
|E.E. Wood Law Suit Continued, Perry Daily Chief, 22 Jul 1921|
The last child I found information about was Harry Ephraius Wood, son of Thomas Otis and Mary Etta (Tipton) Wood. The obituary found in the Owen County Democrat on November 20, 1919 states that he died of diphtheria on October 26, 1919 and was 19 years old. He died in Owen County and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, Indiana. Another death by a disease that is almost nonexistent in the United States today thanks to vaccines.
|Harry Wood Death, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 20 Nov 1919|
|Harry Wood, Death Certificate, Owen County, Indiana|
Obituary/Death Announcement, Bloomington Evening World, Bloomington, Indiana, United States, 4 Feb 1919, Page 4, Column 4. Death Announcement for Ruby Frances Wood.
Death Anniversary Announcement, Bloomington Evening World, Bloomington, Indiana, United States, 21 Feb 1921, Page 4, Column 2. Death Anniversary Announcement for Ruby Frances Wood.
Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Obituary/Death Announcement, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 8 May 1919, Death Announcement for Effie Wood Porter.
Raymond Wood Accident, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 31 Jul 1919, Raymond Wood.
Ancestry.com. Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
Court Announcement, The Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa, United States, 27 Sept 1919, Page 4, Column 2. Begin New Suit for $27,700..
Court Announcement, Perry Daily Chief, Perry, Iowa, United States, 22 Jul 1921, Page 1, Column 2. Hays Sets Aside Wood Verdict.
Obituary/Death Announcement, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 20 Nov 1919, Death Announcement for Harry Wood.