Historical Junk returns

Hi friends! The “little break” lasted longer than anticipated. My husband just found out a week ago that he is getting transferred to Oklahoma City, so we’re busy preparing for that. Our house went on the market yesterday, so let the packing frenzy begin!

I’ve developed an interesting new hobby: reading death records. You can scroll death records from Tennessee (and probably other states, but I haven’t checked) from the early to mid 1900s, and I’ve been doing just that. Most people died of “boring” things like tuberculosis and pneumonia, but I’ve come across some interesting ones that I’d like to share. So a few times a week, until I get on track with regular, longer posts, I’ll be showing you some interesting death records. Thrilling, I know.

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This is Rollie Cook Williamson. His cause of death is “Don’t know cause, was insane and went into stupor for almost 1 week.” He was 48 years old. I have no idea what his official diagnosis was. But obviously, since I don’t know how to not be nosy, I did some digging. His first wife’s name was Nancy Katherine “Kate” Rexer. HER first husband’s name was Arthur Moyers. Arthur died in 1894 after they had three children, and Kate married Rollie, with whom she had three more kids. They apparently divorced, though I can find no official record of this. But they each remarried, so I have to assume they divorced. Kate married Arthur’s father John, her former father-in-law. This made Arthur and Kate’s children John’s grandchildren as well as his stepchildren. Kind of odd. Sometimes mental illness runs in families, but I can’t find anything to show that here, although obviously written records don’t always indicate things like that. Anyway, it’s always interesting to see how mental illness was regarded back then. Basically according to the record, he was just crazy and died of being crazy. Hopefully if he were alive now, he would get better mental care and perhaps not fall into whatever “stupor” he fell into.


Thanks for reading today’s random interesting death record! Historical Junk will be back in full force soon.


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