01 October 2014

Wednesday's Child: the Welsh Children

Poor Patrick Welsh. In 1918 Chester County was hit hard by pneumonia and influenza. Patrick's young family saw more death than any family should. He buried his wife and two young children.

Poor little Catherine was the first to succumb. She was just seven months old. It appears she died at home (235 Hall Street). Her listed Cause of Death is whooping cough. She died 31 August 1918 and was buried two days later at St. Mary's in Phoenixville. St. Mary's of the Assumption is a Roman Catholic parish under the Philadelphia Archdiocese.


Not all the dates match up quite right so I can only surmised that Patrick, who was the informant on all three certificates, was simply and understandably devastated. Catherine's certificate above shows her birthdate as 29 January 1918. That seems plausible ... except her brother William was supposedly born 17 June 1918. That's less than five months. Too long to be twins. Too close to be a second pregnancy.

William J. Welsh died of pneumonia at the Phoenixville Hospital on 31 October 1918. According to his death certificate, he was just three months and 14 days old. He had been sick, or at least seen by the attending physician, since the 21st.

The children's mother, Mary, died on 27 October 1918. She too was young - just 29 years of age. Her listed cause, like William, is also pneumonia. Like Catherine, she died at home. Either her illness came on suddenly or she simply was too busy taking care of her children, but Catherine was seen by a physician only the day prior. Her death certificate confirms Patrick as her husband and her parents as Stephen O'Toole and Bridget Roache.

While all three do lists St. Mary's of the Assumption as their final burial place, a quick search on Find A Grave revealed none of them. In fact, the only Welshes listed are my great grandparents, Martin and Catherine.

Patrick is not a direct relative, at least not one I know of yet. I do recall my grandmother saying there was another family with the same name. I had actually started out today looking for my grandmother's siblings who did not make it out of infancy. One may have actually been stillborn. I have no clue if Patrick fits in to the family or not but as I searched the death certificates for Welshes in Phoenixville, his tragic story moved me to remember them.

Wednesday's Child is a daily genealogy prompt prompted by GeneaBloggers. Basically the prompt encourages posts about relatives as children.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.