Monday, August 31, 2009

William Toner's Death Certificate, January 31, 1899

When I ordered William Toner's death certificate, I hoped that there would be some indication on it of what his life had looked like since we'd last seen him on the 1870 census. Did he ever marry and have children, or was the Toner name not continued when he and Samuel both died childless? I've encountered a handful of relatives who don't bear the Toner name - will we ever meet one who does?

It looks like we will not. William is listed as "Single." But there are any number of interesting facts - or potential facts - on here, beyond his lack of progeny.

A lot of the certificate is very faded and difficult to read, but we'll do our best.

William Toner was sick for about a month, attended by his doctor from January 5-30, 1899, and he died at about 6am on January 31. He was buried on February 3 at Holy Cross. His doctor's name is nearly illegible (could it be "Archibald Murray"?), but his undertaker's name is (almost) not.

Undertaker: [illegible] Thos. Murphy

It almost looks like it read "Mrs. Thomas Murphy, but I find that highly unlikely. Maybe "Chas. Thos. Murphy"?

Regardless - Thomas Murphy? Doesn't William Toner have a probable brother-in-law - his sister Mary Ann's probable husband - named Thomas Murphy? Could John and Thomas Murphy's father have been an undertaker? Maybe?

Besides that - William is listed as 34 years old, which can't be correct - I believe he was about a year old in 1860, which makes him closer to 40 than 34, but that's not too far off. He's white, he's single, he was born in the US, his parents are, of course, Richard Toner and Mary Cullen Toner.

William's occupation is given as "stableman." That gives me an idea - just a suggestion - that this article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, listing William Toner as the driver of a coach involved in an accident really did refer to our William Toner. Of course, that article, too, referenced a Mr. Murphy. Maybe William just really liked guys named Murphy. I have my doubts about whether the undertaker was also the guy who owned the cab company was also the brother-in-law, but you never know.

William died at St. Peter's Hospital, of Phthisis Pulmonalis, aka Tuberculosis, with "Exhaustion" listed as an indirect cause of death.

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