Looking for tax-related documents for an upcoming exhibit today, I found death instead (or perhaps it found me?), in a small, but heart-breaking moment from the past.
On October 29, 1870, Bradford Adams died of typhoid fever aged 15 years, 11 months and 3 days. Father and Mother are George T. and Lydia T. Adams; Horatio is our old friend the capitalist.
In this group portrait, Bradford sits at right and his older brother Wendell — more formally George Wendell — stands at center. Sadly, Wendell had died just weeks before Bradford of the same disease.
A third Kingston teenager, 17 year old Clara Winsor, had also died of typhoid fever that fall, but beyond these deaths, Kingston was spared an epidemic. Through the 1860s and 1870s, outbreaks of typhoid fever struck around the world, particularly in densely populated and rapidly industrializing areas. By 1884, the bacteria that caused the disease was identified and over the next two decades, effective vaccines were developed.
But in the spring of 1871, George T. Adams added a new stone to the family plot in Evergreen Cemetery, most likely for his two boys.
Sources: MC-21 Hathaway Collection; MC-23 Helen Adams Collection; Town Clerk’s Report, 1870; Wikipedia article on typhoid.