After Heart

Building on last week’s postThe Edgefield Advertiser records many moments in the life of my Medlock-Carmichael ancestors. My search has, so far, been limited to Martha Carmichael and Henry Townes Medlock and mostly just for the span of Martha’s life, 1889-1915.

According to the articles over the years, Martha, known to many as Heart, was well-loved by her family and community and Henry seems to have been liked. (You can read more about Martha and Henry in other posts.) For this post, I will be looking at the articles following Martha’s death.

Martha and family

James, Elizabeth, and Martha Carmichael

Martha died suddenly on Sunday, 21 February 1915, following childbirth. Her death was announced on the front page of the Wednesday edition of the paper. She was declared a blessing to Edgefield.

At the time of Martha’s death, Martha and Henry lived with Martha’s mother, Elizabeth Seabrook (Lake) Carmichael, who had been widowed the previous year. Martha also left behind a brand new son, Henry Hammond.

In the following week’s paper, we learn that Elizabeth, or Bessie as she is called in the article, will go live with her sister and then will probably move to Beaufort, South Carolina to live with her son, Hammond.

HenryTMedlockLeavesEdgefield1915The same edition reports that Henry Townes has quit his job in Edgefield and will return to his home in the “southern part of the county” [probably Meriwether, SC]. The newspaper says that his friends “regret to give him up.” Henry’s parents were living in Meriwether in both the 1910 and 1920 censuses, so he probably went to be near or with them.

Martha was the link between Bessie and Henry. With her gone, it seems they were quick to find comfort with closer family members.

In September of the same year, in a section of the paper devoted to news from the southern part of the county, it’s noted that Henry and baby Henry have recently returned from a visit to Edgefield.

A few weeks later, in the same section of the paper, we learn that baby Henry is sick.

On 6 July 1918, Henry Townes married his second wife, Julia (King) Prescott, a widow from the same county with three daughters. The Advertiser announces their marriage and that they honeymooned in the mountains. Here is where my research in the Advertiser has paused for the time.

ElizabethSLakeObitIt’s unclear how much contact Bessie had with Henry Townes and Henry Hammond after Martha’s death. Bessie died 2 December 1921 (Henry was almost 6 years old). The Advertiser reports that she had been sick for at least 10 years, long before the death of her husband and daughter. Perhaps she was not well enough to be around baby Henry very much. The article tells the reader that soon after Martha’s death, Bessie had gone to live with her son at Kathwood Plantation in Aiken County, South Carolina (about 40 miles from Edgefield and Meriwether). Bessie died following a surgery at Margaret Wright Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.

The paper doesn’t fill in all the gaps and raises even more questions including:

  • What caused Bessie to be sick for so long and did it prevent her from being involved in baby Henry’s life?
  • Why was baby Henry not listed as a survivor in Bessie’s obituary?
  • How did Henry and Julia meet and how did the integration of their children go?

But the articles do give a glimpse of the choices that Bessie and Henry made after loosing their beloved Martha.

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