An Unfortunate Accident

One of the data-bases in the Ancestry.com collection is “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011.” Naturally, I have used this collection to try to find the death certificates for my many Indiana ancestors. The certificates can help fill in some of the connections—such as parent’s names, spouse’s name, occupation, dates of birth and death. Obviously, the death certificate also includes the cause of death. Most of the time, I’ve found the cause to be pretty standard—cardio vascular problems, respiratory problems, cancer, etc. Occasionally, I find a more intriguing cause of death…

Burton Minton was the son of Thomas Minton (1844-1916) and Eliza Ann Cummings (1845-1927). He was born in the community of Wilbur, IN December 6, 1870. He was a nephew of my GG Grandmother, Mariah (Minton) Portis (1848-1923). He was a farmer & trader. He was a member of the Poplar Grove M.E. Church. Burton married Vesta Fowler December 24, 1890. He and Vesta had 9 children and lived in the Wilbur community together for 57 years.

Burton’s Death Certificate from Ancestry.com indicates that he didn’t die of “natural causes.”

BertMintonDC1

BertMintonDC2

Incidentally, his name is spelled “Berton” on the death certificate. I found his obituary in the Morgan County, IN Library. It was not sourced so I’m not sure what newspaper it came from. It stated that “his buggy overturned about 10:30 Monday night on the Baltimore Road.” He was found Tuesday morning. He died “at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon in the Robert Long Hospital in Indianapolis.” He had never regained consciousness. The obit. also stated that searchers had looked “through the night” for Burton. “The parties had passed along the county road beside which Mr. Minton lay after his buggy had slipped off a culvert, but the buggy had turned over in such a deep spot that it was not seen at night…” It also reported that Burton “had evidently crawled about 30 feet along the gully.” He was found about 3 miles north of Wilbur and had reportedly been traveling home from Monrovia, IN.

The first time I read his obituary several years ago, I really had no idea who he was. I skimmed it and didn’t think much more about it. Because he died in a horse and buggy accident, I figured he died in the early 1900’s. Obviously, I didn’t look at the date written on the obit. Burton died May 3, 1949; well into the age of the automobile. Hard to imagine someone was still traveling by horse and buggy. I would guess he didn’t have much light on the roadway at that time of night as well. Anyway, the unfortunate accident claimed his life and added another sad story to the family history.

© MJM 2018

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