Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestor's week 3 - Martha Elizabeth King

I wasn't going to post week 3 so quickly after I posted week 2, but then I got to Martha Elizabeth King and knew I wanted to post about her next.  Martha is my 2nd great grandmother on my father's side.  On my father's side I'm very fortunate as the family line travels far back in the United States and some of my family were the first settlers in Austin!  More about them in another post.

Martha Elizabeth King was born on March 24th 1876 in Austin, Texas to James Lowery King and Mary Jane Gillman.  Martha married George Washington Williams in 1895 at the age of 19.  George was considerably older than her and was 35 when they married.  Together they had 5 children.  George passed away in 1921.  Martha passed away in 1935, at the age of 58, but the cause of her death is what prompted me to find out more information and thus write about her.  The death certificate stated that she died due to drinking carbolic acid (suicide).  This news really devastated me.  I first went to the internet to see what carbolic acid is and found that apparently it's used in making plastics.  This lead to two questions, one where on earth does one get carbolic acid, was it sold at the corner drug store in 1935?  The second, why would she want to kill herself.  The latter question I am having a hard time coming up with answers.  I can't find any type of documentation to suggest that perhaps she was ill and wanted to decide when she would die or perhaps she was depressed or perhaps it was an accident.  I just can't figure it out.  I hope that someone out there has more information on Martha Elizabeth King and would be able to help me solve the mystery.

I did find out what carbolic acid would have been used for in the 1930s.  It would have been used for swollen throat glands.  So perhaps Martha accidentally took to much and it killed her?  This is the first mystery I have encountered in really researching my family tree.

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