Mildred Hilliard


Hello, readers! I have returned. I know you were all just waiting on the edges of your seats to read some more death records.

The sweet little baby in the above picture is Mildred Elizabeth (or Elizabeth Mildred; I’ve read and heard conflicting things) Hilliard, the older sister of my maternal grandmother (henceforth known as “Grandmama”). Mildred was born January 3, 1919 and passed away on August 25, 1923. Grandmama wasn’t born until 1926, meaning she never knew Mildred. I never heard about Mildred as a kid. I knew Grandmama had a younger brother named Sidney, who was killed when he was struck by a car at the age of 8 in 1946. But I’d never heard of Mildred.

When I started my Ancestry research, I was amazed when I found Sidney’s death record. Just as I had always been told, his cause of death was fractures from being struck by an automobile. But suggestions for another Hilliard child came up too: Mildred. Her parents were listed as Gould and Lacey Hilliard, my great-grandparents. I asked my mom about her, and she vaguely remembered Grandmama having another sister who died before she was born. Grandmama confirmed this, but she didn’t know how Mildred died. “A childhood illness” was as much as she knew.


So obviously, I went on a hunt for her death record and found it pretty quickly. Turns out Mildred died of malaria and appendicitis. What a horrendous combination. She was probably already worn down from the malaria, and her appendix rupturing was the last straw. They lived on a farm in very rural Carroll County, Tennessee, and doctors with actual medical knowledge were scarce. I doubt she ever had a chance. Heartbreaking.



About five years ago, my mom and I went to Carroll County and drove around to all of the cemeteries where we have relatives buried. We found Mildred’s headstone. There’s a verse or inscription at the bottom, but I can’t read it from the picture and I don’t remember what it said. I wish I knew.


Thanks for reading.



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