According to the Dickinson Family Bible, my great-grandfather's mother, Annie Dickinson, died on May 1, 1913. She was only 42 years old, leaving her husband and six of her children behind. She was buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey. A few years ago, I visited Fairmount Cemetery to see if I could locate her grave. Unfortunately, I found no headstone or marker for her in the plot where it was supposed to be. There is another marker for her in the family burial plot in Blairstown, but her remains still rest at Fairmount. I did find Annie's entry in Fairmount Cemetery's burial register, however. You can see photos of that visit here.
I was curious to know how Annie died so young, suspecting it was childbirth related, but considering my grandmother (Annie's granddaughter) died from cancer at age 24, I wondered if cancer was the cause. Finally, I ordered a copy of her death certificate to find the answer and received the copy, shown here:
The cause of death written on her death certificate was "puerperal eclampsia", which is defined as follows:
Convulsions and coma that are associated with hypertension, edema, or proteinuria, occurring in a woman immediately following childbirth. (Dictionary.com)
How tragic to learn that she died after giving birth to her 9th child, having lost two young ones already. There is no record of the child, so it appears the baby was stillborn. Imagining the pain and grief in the Dickinson family during that time and in the years that followed, my heart goes out to each of them, although they are all long gone.
For more information about puerperal eclampsia, watch this video I found on YouTube:
One of Annie's daughters, Emma Dickinson, devoted herself to the care of her widowed father and siblings after Annie died. Emma kept a diary in 1919, when they still lived in Newark, New Jersey. You can read it here.
Stay tuned for more family history!