Monday, May 19, 2014

Another Child Lost, 1859

This photo gives a view of the old part of the Beechworth Cemetery in about 1875.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection.  H2005.34/515; H2005.34/515A.
George and Susan lost their little fellow George at the age of 7 months and 1 week, on 2 October 1859.  The certificate states that the death occurred at Silver Creek, and he was buried on the same day at Beechworth.  There are no extant burial records for the Beechworth Cemetery in this period, so it is impossible to say whether he was buried with his older brother Edward George, or popped into the grave of an adult being buried that day. 

The doctor John C Dempster gave the cause of death as acute hydrocephalus, from which the children had suffered for one week.  The symptoms would be headaches, vomiting, sleepiness and seizures.  In infants the head could swell because of the buildup of fluid.  The cause may have been congenital, or acquired by disease or injury.  The available records don't allow us to know the cause.  Dr Dempster had last seen the child the day before its death.  Dempster was based in Beechworth, and it is possible that the child was brought from Chiltern to see him, which would explain why the death occurred at Silver Creek.  They would probably have had friends there.

The witnesses were W R or W K Lyon, and C Bennett, and the service Church of England.

Susan and George returned to Chiltern with their little girl, now aged just over two years.

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