Sunday, May 22, 2011

Six Philip Abe Children 11-010

     Beginning in early 1889 and continuing for the next dozen years or so, Philip and Annie Elizabeth (Largent) Abe went through a sad period when they lost six of their next nine children. Four of the deaths occurred within the first five years of this period. Very few records are available for these children and some are only known by their cemetery headstones. Records that are available have conflicting information so none are completely reliable.
      The first, Alfred A. Abe, has a (148)Mineral County Birth Record listing his birth as November 20, 1889. His headstone lists the birth as February 8, 1889. The Mineral County Birth Record could be a recording error as two other children, one a child of Jacob and Mary Abe, are listed right before Alfred and born the same day. Records seem to confirm that the November 20 birth is correct for the child, Ira Abe. Most records from this era were recorded as the information was received and not as it happened. As a result, recording errors such as this could easily occur. The recorder could easily have gotten carried away after two births the same day and accidentally wrote the same date again for Alfred, the third. I tend to believe this is what happened since there is more then nine months difference between the birth record and the headstone record.
     Alfred (149)died at the age of one month (according to his headstone) on March 14, 1889 of (149)whooping cough. His death record for Mineral County, West Virginia is in very poor condition and the year 1889 is the only part readable. His headstone in the Philip Abe Family Cemetery is still readable. This record and the headstone record seem to show the birth record to be wrong.
     Walter T. Abe was born (150)March 31, 1890 according to the Mineral County, West Virginia Birth Records. His headstone has a defect that makes the first number of the birth day unreadable. Two different death records are available for Walter. They and his headstone have conflicts on the date. (151)The first record lists his death as September 15, 1892. (151)The second lists the day as the 16th. His headstone seems to read September 6, but the defect in the stone and wear may be obscuring the first number of the day. September 6, may be the correct death date because one of the death records lists his burial date as September 7. His cause of death in the first record is listed as "Brain Fever" and in the second record as "Meningitis". During this time the two diagnoses were one and the same. He was about two and a half years of age.

     Note: Walter and Maurice died within days or weeks of each other so the stones were most likely ordered at the same time. The defect in the two above stones being in the same place and nearly identical is most likely because both monuments were cut from the same block of stone at the same time. This defect was probably an almost unnoticeable hairline crack in the grain of the larger stone. After cutting and crafting the monuments (pieces were side by side in the larger slab of stone) that defect opened up and was worn away by years of exposure to the weather (rain, snow, freezing and thawing). If you visit the Philip Abe Family Cemetery page, click on the photos of the two stones to enlarge them and you will see the defect I am talking about.

     The third child is Maurice (or Morris) Abe. No birth records have been found, except for his cemetery headstone, which seems to read either August 8 or 18, 1891. A defect in the stone is in almost exactly the same place as Walter's and makes the first number of the day uncertain. (151)His death records create the same uncertainty. The first lists his death as September 8 and the second as September 18. The headstone seems to read September 8, 1892, from the inscription spacing, but cannot be certain because of the stone defect. His cause of death is listed as "Brain Fever" and Meningitis" the same as Walter.
     The fourth child is Gertrude Abe. Her (152)birth record says she was born on April 4, 1893 but her headstone reads April 29. The birth record only lists her last name. No death records have been found. The headstone says she died on May 14, 1893.
     For the last two children, Florence I. and Bessie M. Abe, no records have been found other then their headstones. The information on the headstones is considerably worn due to being on the top of the small square stone. The only readable information is the death date for Florence which is September 6, 1901.
     All are buried in the Philip Abe Family Cemetery in Mineral County, West Virginia.

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