A Tragedy: An Accident – Baby George Dies!

For many years I did not know how little baby George died.  I had been to the cemetery and viewed his tombstone next to his father but I didn’t understand why he had died so young?

On my last trip to Minnesota in 2007, I found a brief article in the Brainerd newspaper that described the whole ordeal.

George Alexander was only 18 months old.  He died on the 19th of June 1881 on the way to Brainerd from Pine River.  Apparently he drank  some German Cough balsam that was filled with probably codeine and his little body could not handle the amount of narcotic and he died en route probably in his mother’s arms as George tried desperately to get them to Brainerd and get help.  They were too late.

There is no mention of the death of the baby in the Whipple papers at the Minnesota Historical Society (Methodist Episcopal).  The papers are very difficult to read and I have actually looked at them twice to see if I could make out anything else. 

The article appears in the Brainerd Tribune, Saturday, June 25, 1881 under Local News – Death of Baby George A. Barclay.

1) Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Barclay desire to express their heartfelt thanks to the citizens of this place for their kind sympathy and attentions manifested during their recent bereavement, and for the assistance rendered during the last solemn rites at the funeral of their lamented child.

2) A sad occurrence transpired in the family of Mr. George Barclay, postmaster at Pine River, last Saturday.  Their infant child, about seventeen months old, had in some manner got hold of a bottle of German cough balsam , and drank the whole of it.  No physician being nearer Pine River than Brainerd, Mr. and Mrs. Barclay immediately started with the child for this place. But the effects of the potion were to speedy, as just upon arriving in town the child expired.  This is a very severe blow to the bereaved parents, and the sympathies of the community are heartily enlisted in their behalf.  The remains were interred in the Brainerd cemetery on Monday.

George Alexander is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd, MN location:  Center N 1/2 Lot 17 Block 7.  He is next to his father and mother, George and Amarilla Barclay.

George Alexander Barclay

Written on the tombstone for baby George is the following: 

Sacred to the memory George A. infant son of G.A. & A. Barclay died June 19, 1881 1 yr. 5 mo. 9 days.  Underneath this stone do lie as much virtue as could die which when alive did vigor give to us much beauty as could live. 

There is a little lamb on the top of the tombstone.  This tombstone is to the right of the father, George A. Barclay in Evergreen Cemetery in Brainered, MN.

5 thoughts on “A Tragedy: An Accident – Baby George Dies!

  1. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/
    Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
    and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”
    http://www.examiner.com/x-53135-Springfield-Genealogy-Examiner
    http://www.examiner.com/x-58285-Ozarks-Cultural-Heritage-Examiner

    • Heather: That is so true. I am just so grateful I pursued the answer in the newspapers. Unfortunately more tragedy will happen to the Barclays but it will be another 20 years or so before that happens. Sigh! Thanks for stopping by.

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