I have been working on my family history a little today, and made some interesting, albeit accidental, discoveries. First of all, I noticed a young man living with my 3rd G-Grandparents, Hirium M. and Sarah Freeman, in the 1860 US Census of Franklin County, Tennessee. His name was Joseph Graham, and he was 22 years old. What caught my attention was the last name of Graham, because I knew that was my Mrs. Sarah Freeman’s maiden name.

So, based on the limited information of this Census, I looked back to the 1850 Census records, and sure enough, I found Sarah with her brother Joseph, living in Tennessee (although in Jefferson County this time), and lo and behold: her parents names were Joseph and Sarah Graham! Now, that’s exciting, because Joseph and Sarah were born in 1795 and 1794, respectively. I always get excited when I go back another century! ๐Ÿ˜€ I also discovered that they had at least one other brother and sister: Maria and William. Good, solid, Colonial names.

I thought it would be nice to dig a bit deeper, and see if I could find Joseph and Sarah Graham in the 1860 US Census. Instead I found an interesting little index (and eventually a digital image of the original document itself) called the “US Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880”. I was shocked and saddened to find that the elder Sarah Graham had died in August of 1860. Of Paralysis. And that she had been paralyzed, apparently, for four years! How tragic! How in the world does somebody die of paralysis?? Was she bitten by a snake? Did she fall off of a ladder or something? Or was it caused by some terrible disease? Wow. The possibilities are staggering.

I have found some really interesting wording for causes of death in my many genealogical meanderings. (My favorite is still ‘a bullet wound to the head by his own hand’. Sad, but creative!) but I’ve never heard of anyone dying from paralysis! Poor Sarah Graham! Fortunately for me, Jefferson County, Tennessee is only a couple of hours away from where I live, so I plan to drive over there and see if I can get more information. Yeah, I know, I’m macabre, but I really want to know! And this is why genealogy is so addictive for me. I get totally into their lives, and I want to know more. Sort of like my own version of “Fried Green Tomatoes”! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you are related to me, and wondering who in the world is Sarah Graham (or Hirium Freeman, for that matter) read on. If not, this will probably bore you to tears. (I am hoping you’re not to that point already!)

My grandmother, Edna (Hamilton) Westbrook’s mother was Sarah Laura (Adams) Hamilton. She went by Laura. Her mother’s name was Icy Dora (Freeman) Adams. (Isn’t that the coolest name ever??) Icy Dora’s mother was Sarah (Freeman) Graham, and it was Sarah’s mother, also named Sarah, who died of paralysis. I do not know the elder Sarah’s maiden name, but I have vague reason to believe it may have been Hill. I intend to do further research on that! At any rate, if anybody really wants all the details, facts and statistics, just email me, and I will be thrilled to send it to you!

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