There are no photos that I’m aware, of the life of wee John Scott. Perhaps there is an as yet unidentified baby photo in the collection of old family photos.
I was not aware that my grandfather Hugh Scott had an older brother. It was only some years ago, when I discovered the 1911 census that I realized there must have been another sibling. As I scanned across the columns on the census form, there was the numeral 3 in the column marked “Total Children Born Alive,” and the numeral 2 in the column marked “Children Still Living” for Sarah McDowell’s name. At the time, I didn’t know if this was an error, or that a sibling to my grandfather had been born and passed away before 1911.
Last week, while researching something else, I decide to see if I could find any other records for children born to John Scott/Sarah McDowell, and I did.
In 1895, John and Sarah were living at 32 Harrybrook Street, Belfast. They had been married on the 29th of July, 1896 at Berry Street Presbyterian Church, in Belfast.
On the 28th of March, 1897, Sarah would give birth to a boy at home. He was named John.
Sadly, 15 weeks later, baby John would pass away on the 10th of July, 1897:
It must have been heartbreaking for both parents, to watch their eldest and newborn child suffer with bronchitis and then succumb, 5 days later. At the same time, it was not uncommon for children to die of illnesses that today, are easily treated and prospects for recovery are usually very bright.
It often amazes and saddens me, when researching death records to see the numbers of children on the same pages as adults. It’s something I plan to write more about, in general – about life for children in general in regard to medical treatment for illnesses up to the early 20th century. As an aside, I once asked my family doctor about what medicine would be like today, if we stopped using petrochemical products. His response was pretty simple: “Dark ages medicine.”
For many of us, its difficult to imagine losing your child to bronchitis after 5 days – of course, there may have been other complications, but medicine had simply not evolved to anywhere near what we have available and enjoy today.
Family Of John Scott, B. 1897
1. Scott, John b: 22 JUN 1872 in 47 Princes Street, Dundee, Scotland, d: 10 July 1963 in Hillsborough, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
+McDOWELL, Sarah b. 04 AUG 1871 in Vere Street, Belfast, Ireland, m: 29 JUL 1896 in Berry Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Ireland, d: 08 Dec 1914.
….2 SCOTT, John b: 28 March 1897 in 32 Harrybrook Street, Belfast. d: 10 July in 32 Harrybrook Street, Belfast.
….2 SCOTT, Hugh McDowell b: 24 Sep 1899 in 24 Hillman Street, Belfast. d: 13 Jun 1984 in Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
….2 SCOTT, Sarah Millicent McDowell b:31 Oct 1905 at 24 Hillman Street, Belfast. d: Jan 1990 in Northern Ireland.
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