Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mary and Albert Webster ~ Why did they die only weeks apart?

While researching my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Ebenezer Perry Carlisle Webster, on, I found something that really struck me. I was looking at the LifeStory feature for Ebenezer, and found the following entries. (LifeStory is basically a narrative of an ancestor's life in a timeline format.)

Within about 2 weeks time, Ebenezer lost both his daughter, Mary Alice, and his younger brother, Albert.

Mary Alice passed away when she was only 2-1/2 years of age on 8 March 1862. Albert passed away when he was only 3 years of age on 22 February 1862.

Albert Gallitan Byers Webster was the son of my 3rd great-grandparents, Moses Augustine Webster and Amanda Melvina Carlisle.

Mary Alice the eldest child born to Ebenezer Perry Carlisle Webster and Cynthia Maria Waterman. Cynthia was expecting their second child when Mary passed away. In October of that same year, she gave birth to their second child, a little girl they named Lura Elizabeth.

Albert was the seventh of eight children born to Moses and Amanda. Unfortunately, Albert was not their only child who passed away at young ages. Only four of their eight children reached adulthood. I've written about two of these children in previous posts: Wednesday's Child ~ Remembering Asbury and Wednesday's Child ~ Remembering Fred Lincoln Webster, Asbury's Brother. I still need to write about Mary Irene Webster, who passed away when she was almost three years old.

Albert and Mary passed away only two weeks and one day apart. They both lived with their families in Winnebago, Illinois. I wonder what happened. Why did each of them die? Was there an outbreak of some kind of illness in the community or was there an illness isolated to these two families? Hopefully I will be able to find out the causes of death for Mary and Albert in the future.

It's so beneficial to use timelines when researching ancestors. These tools can provide a more complete and richer context about their lives. Thank you for your LifeStory feature on your website!

Note: A comment brought to my attention that the timeline may be a bit confusing. Under both dates in the round circles on the left side it says "AGE 23" which refers to Ebenezer's age at the time his daughter and brother passed away.

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved


  1. "Albert passed away when he was only 3 years of age on 22 February 1862."

    Your time line says he was 23.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, the timeline may be a bit confusing. I've added a note at the bottom of the post to clarify that "AGE 23" refers to Ebenezer's age at the time his daughter and brother passed away.

  2. Try googling the history of the towns where they lived. I had the same situation with ancestors in Groton, MA in the 1700s and found they had several summers of epidemics.

  3. That poor family had two tragedies to deal with in a short period of time. Were there local newspapers that might help? If there was an epidemic of some kind it might be reported there.

    1. I'm not sure at the moment about local newspapers, but those are worth a try. Thank you Colleen!




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