Consumption

In reading causes of death in the death records of Gloucester, it is not unusual to see Consumption as the cause of death. It is also called Tuberculosis, Phthisis, Scrofula, Pott’s Disease, and the White Plague. It has plagued our fellow humans for thousands of years. The incidence is thought to have peaked between the end of the 18th century and the end of the 19th century. It was determined to be contagious in 1880, but a cure was not to be found for another 50 years.
It is not surprising that this disease ravaged entire families. One of these families is buried in Clark’s Cemetery. William Tompkins who was born in Boston in 1800 married a Gloucester girl named Lucy Gilbert on Nov. 16, 1828. She was born on July 18, 1801. Their daughters were Lucy who was born in 1829, Eliza who was born in 1831, and Sarah who was born in 1834.
They evidently lived in Boston since the girls died and were buried there, but later removed to Clark’s Cemetery to be buried with their parents.
William died in Gloucester on Jan. 5, 1862.
Lucy died of Consumption in Gloucester on Apr. 3, 1885.

Lucy A. died of Consumption on Dec. 3, 1856.

Eliza died of Consumption on Aug. 2, 1853.
Sarah died of Consumption on Dec. 10, 1860.

I am rather proud of my detective work on this family. All I had to go on were the three first names of the girls. A map of the plots for Clark’s shows a Lucy A. Tompkins as the only name in that plot. I looked her up in Ancestry and found her death record with the names of William and Lucy. I then did a search for Tompkins surname records with William and Lucy as parents and found the other two girls. I then used Ancestry to find the mother’s maiden name and date of marriage, as well as the death records for William and Lucy.
I have added the family to Find a Grave and am cleaning the three little headstones with the girls’ names. I am hoping to find their parents nearby.

About Kathy Clark

Retired school teacher, avid gardener and genealogist
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