Photo by Crystal Vannest Danko
Asbury Bateman Webster was born on October 20, 1840 in Racine, Meigs, Ohio. He was the son of my maternal 3rd Great-Grandparents, Moses Augustine Webster and Amanda Melvina Carlisle. Asbury was the second of eight children born to Moses and Amanda. He passed away on December 2, 1849 at only nine years of age. According to the United States Census (Mortality Schedule) for 1850, Asbury's cause of death was "Inflammation of the Lungs" with the duration of the illness being 60 days.1
I wondered what "Inflammation of the Lungs" meant in today's medical terminology. I also wondered if this term meant Asbury could have had Asthma. My understanding is that the tendency to have Asthma can run in families. Asbury's older brother, Ebenezer (my 2nd Great-Grandfather), suffered from Asthma. How did I find out my 2nd Great-Grandfather had Asthma? It was documented in his Civil War Pension File.
In today's medical terms, Inflammatory Lung Disease includes Asthma, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, etc. But, what did "Inflammation of the Lungs" mean in the 1800s?
I checked the website Nineteenth Century Diseases, and it stated the following:
"In the last century, cause of death often was listed as inflammation of a body organ; such as, brain or lung, but this was purely a descriptive term and is not helpful in identifying the actual underlying disease."I did a bit more sleuthing and found different information in the website eHistory's Common Civil War Medical Terms. According to this website, "Inflammation of the Lungs" was the equivalent to pneumonia today.
So, with conflicting information, I guess it's really not clear what the underlying cause of death was for poor little Asbury.
Unfortunately, Asbury wasn't the only child of Moses and Amanda's children who died before reaching adulthood. They lost three more children: two under the age of five, and one when he was fourteen years old.
If you'd like to check out Asbury's FindaGrave memorial page, just click the following link: Asbury's FindaGrave.com Memorial Page
Thanks for reading!
© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last
1 "United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M36N-P4J : accessed 30 Jan 2013), A B Webster, Meigs county, Meigs, Ohio, United States; citing NARA microfilm publication M432↩