27 February 2008

The Sad Mortality of the Ryan Family

This story appeared in the Somerville Union on February 13, 1873. Can you imagine anything sadder than this?

Four Children Die Within Two Days

A sad case of mortality occurred at East Millstone last week,the particulars of which are as follows: Mr. James Ryan had a family of five children, the oldest being a boy of eleven years of age. The next youngest, a boy of seven years was out playing with his sled on Wednesday afternoon, to all appearances as well as usual. He came into the house, lay down on a lounge, and complained of a pain in his head. This was about 7 o'clock in the evening. Soon after he began to vomit, and he continued to grow worse, vomiting occasionally, until 11 o'clock the same evening, when he died.

The second victim, an older brother, had the same symptoms the same night, and died at 7 o'clock the next morning. The father sent to New Brunswick for coffins for the dead, and before the coffins arrived two more of his children were attacked in the same manner as the above, and in a few hours they too were dead, both dying at about the same time.

The youngest of the four was seven, and the oldest eleven years. The fifth and only child left in the family seems to have escaped. Dr. W.B. Ribble informs us that the children died with cerebrospinal fever, or spotted fever.

The duration of their sickness was from six to twelve hours, and all four died within twenty-four hours.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    We bought our home from a Ryan family...I wonder if they are related?