George W. Grotton, my second cousin twice removed, is buried with his wife Lilly in Sand Hill Cemetery in Somerville, Maine. Sharing the plot and the gravestone are Frank W. Grotton – George and Lilly's son – and Frank's wife Clara (Dyer). The two-generation burials are not at all unusual, but Frank and Clara both died in 1915, and they were only 22 and 19. I went looking for their death records, fully expecting to find that they had both died in an epidemic of some sort – influenza, perhaps, or diphtheria.
|George Grotton family marker, Sand Hill Cemetery, Somerville, Maine|
I found Frank's death record first. He had died on December 16, 1915, apparently only the second death recorded in the town of Etna that year. Far from an epidemic, the cause of death was "Suicide by shooting."2
With a sense of dread I pulled up Clara's death record. Hers was the third death recorded in Etna, also on December 16. And her cause of death: "Killed by gunshot wound. Shot by husband – jealousy."3
|Death records of Frank Grotton and Clara (Dyer) Grotton|
|"Arthur Symonds Dead," Lewiston Daily Sun, 18 Dec 1915|
|"Killed Wife, Shot Simonds Boys," Lewiston Evening Journal, 16 Dec 1915|
I still have some unanswered questions, such as why Frank was using an alias. Also, the Simonds boys' mother's maiden name was Kenney – was there a connection to the Joseph Kenney who is also buried in the Grotton plot, and who was a boarder in George Grotton's home in 1910? These questions will have to wait for a later time.
(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)
- Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 3 Apr 2013), memorial #70038262 for George W. Grotton, with photo of family marker, memorial and digital photo by “West207” (18 May 2011); citing Sand Hill Cemetery (Somerville, Lincoln County, Maine).
- "Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922," database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Apr 2013), Frank Grotton entry, 1915; citing Maine Death Records, 1617-1922, Augusta, Maine: Maine State Archives.
- "Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922," Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Apr 2013), Clara Grotton entry, 1915.
- “Arthur Symonds Dead,” Lewiston (Maine) Daily Sun, 18 Dec 1915, p. 14, col. 3; digital images, Google News Archive (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=IT5EXw6i2GUC : accessed 8 Apr 2013).
- “Killed Wife, Shot Simonds Boys,” Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal, 16 Dec 1915, p. 7, col. 4-5; digital images, Google News Archive (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=oQQVFBP0nzwC : accessed 8 Apr 2013).
- "Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922," Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Apr 2013), Arthur M. Simonds entry, 1915.
- "Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922," Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Apr 2013), Leslie N. Simonds entry, 1916.