Great-Grandma Bertha’s death and newly confirmed facts

My grandma Ariel often talked of her mother, Bertha, and her death at age 30. Her mother had suffered through several pregnancies and early deaths of her children. I know there were at least 10 pregnancies, and seven live births in a 12 year period.

Grandma was never quite sure what caused her mother’s death. She knows there was another pregnancy, and an abusive husband may have been involved.

Today, my husband and I were driving home from snowy upper Michigan, we were discussing how late it could possibly snow in this state. I remembered that it snowed once on my son’s birthday, the year I gave him a sandbox. He was born on April 29th and I have pictures of him at age 3 or 4 playing in his new gift in the snow.

watsons_1912_aI remembered the story of my great grandmother Bertha’s death. She was in bed, close to death and her mother arrived from Canada to be with her at the end. At one point, my grandma (who was 12 at the time) remembers that the doctor looked out the window and told Bertha that it was snowing. Bertha didn’t believe him, so he went and scooped some snow off the windowsill and took it to her to show her as she lay her bed.

Bertha Estelle Watson, nee Rushton, died on May 15, 1912.

As I told my husband the story, I realized that the internet holds many records that would never have been easily accessed in an earlier era. Tonight, I googled, “Detroit weather history May” and this is what I found in seconds:

Weather History for SE Michigan

On May 13, 1912, Detroit reported a record for the latest snow accumulating an inch or more. The snow was measured at 1.5 inches.

Wow! Isn’t exciting to find corroboration for a family story?


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