Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tragic Death of Susan Sanders

Last month I took a trip to Cincinnati to visit my family, do some shopping and go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I also was able to convince my husband to take a detour to Rising Sun so that I could do a little bit of research.

We spent some time copying family files at the Ohio County Museum. I was able to find a few obituaries that I didn't have before. We also stopped at the Ohio County Public Library so that I could search for the obituary of my brick wall ancestor, Joseph Hillis. Unfortunately, there was only a death notice and I still have no clue who his parents were or where he was born.

One of the obituaries I found at the museum was for my second great grandmother, Susan "Susie" Sanders. My grandma had told me the story of how her grandmother had died after her apron caught on fire when they were living in Hamilton, Ohio. I had found her death certificate that stated her cause of death as "shock following extensive burns over body and head from gas stove."

What I never realized was how horrifying the story actually was. Below is a transcription of the newspaper clipping found in the Bascom family file at the Ohio County Museum:

Susie Sanders Bascom Meets Tragic Death at Hamilton, O. 

Death Caused by Burns Sustained In Her Home - Funeral at Mt. Carmel.

Mrs. Susie Sanders Bascom, wife of W. T. ("Dora") Bascom, died in Mercy hospital at Hamilton, O., Sunday morning from the effects of burns sustained at her home in that city on Saturday afternoon. The Bascoms formerly lived in this county.

Mrs. Bascom was alone when the accident took place. She was burning some light fruit containers in a coal stove in her living room, and her apron caught fire from the stove's open door. Her son George occupied an apartment on the second floor and Mrs. Bascom ran up the stairway, screaming for help. Her daughter-in-law (Mary Starkey) and the latter's two-year-old daughter were alone in the apartment.

The daughter-in-law states that the flames were surging about Mrs. Bascom's head when she reached the second floor. The younger woman had all she could do to keep her babe from danger, as it made every effort to go to its grandmother.

The women made their way to the first floor and a man who heard their screams rushed into the house. He seized a rug and wrapped it around Mrs. Bascom, whose clothing was then almost entirely burned from her body.

Patrolmen who rushed to the scene called an ambulance and Mrs. Bascom was wrapped in a blanket and taken to the hospital, her daughter-in-law remaining at her side.

Mr. Bascom was at his grocery store a few blocks from his home at the time. Word came to him that his home was on fire. Upon his arrival home he was well nigh crazed from the shock when he learned the facts.
When she arrived at the hospital Mrs. Bascom was able to explain just how her clothing caught fire. With her charactistic [sic] thoughtfulness for others, she explained to attendants where her husband would find what she had prepared for the evening meal. Soon she sank into a stupor and was not conscious again.

A funeral service was held at the home on Monday and in Mt. Carmel church on Tuesday, the Rev. John Dennis being in charge of both. The body was brought from Hamilton to Mt. Carmel on Tuesday. Burial was made in the Bovard cemetery.

Mrs. Bascom was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Sanders, deceased, who lived near Aberdeen. She leaves her husband and two sons, all of Hamilton, and two sisters, Mrs. Harry M. Stow and Mrs. Elmer Ford, of near Enterprise and also a brother, Walter Sanders, of near Aberdeen. Mrs. Bascom was fifty-six years old.

Mrs. Bascom was well known throughout this section. Her girlhood years were spend near Aberdeen. It was in the school in that village that she received her eduction under the guidance of Eugene LaSeur, deceased, and other capable instructors.

Since her marriage she had lived in this county, at Dillsboro and at Aurora, later removing to Ohio. Some few years since Mr. and Mrs. Bascom lived on the Sparks farm, just north of this city, on the Aurora road.
Wherever she lived, Mrs. Bascom was highly esteemed by her neighbors because of her many good qualities.

Her record as a wife, a mother and a friend was one which is well worthy of emulation.


I told my grandma about this find and for the first time she was interested in a part of my genealogy research. She was  under 3 years old when her grandmother died and doesn't remember the details. (It was her aunt and uncle that lived with her grandparents.) I look forward to sharing this find with her. 

1 comment:

  1. What a sad story, Tina. Horrifying for all involved, I'm sure. It'll be interesting to see if hearing this triggers any memories for your grandmother.