Hidden Heroes. Today’s challenge from @64millionartists and @adamsincerely at @contactmcr is to take notice of the hidden histories and heroes around you. Choose someone from your community, your family or from history…and then celebrate them! Tell their story …
Joseph Ritchie, my Victorian 2nd great-grandfather (1837-1901), married Elizabeth in 1858. John was born in 1859. Followed by Helen 1861. Then Mary in 1964. But in 1866, they had two un-named twin boys who were born prematurely, 1 survived for an hour, and 1 for a day.
They had been born on the 29 Apr and on 8 May Elizabeth died of Puerperal Fever. Known as Childbed Fever, an infection of the reproductive organs.
With 3 children to take care of it’s no surprise that Joseph married again. He wed his second wife, Sarah, in 1868 and that same year their daughter Martha was born.
Then in 1869, Helen died age 8. And the following year Mary died age 6.
Their son Joseph was born in 1871 (my great-grandfather).
But that same year John died age 12, and in 1875, Martha died age 7.
Betsy was born in 1879, John in 1882, Hugh in 1884 and Alexander in 1886. Finally, his youngest, George was born in 1891.
Then in 1897 Betsy died, age 18, followed by her little brother George in 1900, age 8.
Joseph himself died in 1901 age 64.
In his lifetime he lost his first wife and 8 of his children – all of the children from his first marriage, and 3 from his second.
I have no idea what kind of man Joseph was. I don’t know if he had to drown his sorrows in drink. I don’t know whether he closed off his heart to stop it hurting. I don’t know if he was a hero, but I do think he has a story worth sharing.
When I think about his suffering, I am grateful to our NHS for helping me give birth safely (both of my deliveries needed medical intervention) and I’m grateful that I’ve never been tested in life the way that Joseph was.
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