Saturday, May 28, 2005

When an Axe Blow To the Head Seems Better

I was reading through a family book telling the story of the Thomas branch of my ancestors last night and came across an interesting story. Evidently, my great great great grandfather died due to an axe blow to the head. It was self-inflicted so it was murder and it certainly wasn't a suicide but it was one heck of an accident. Now as Paul Harvey would say, "Here is the rest of the story."

My great great great grandfather Albert Buchholz was out chopping wood in preparation for a family move to another home and wanted to get it cut up to make it easier to move. On the downward swing of the axe, it somehow hit the neighboring clothes line causing it to jerk out of his hands, fly up, and fall back down on top of his head, splitting it open. Although it didn't kill him immediately, it was the beginning of a death process that would take four more days to complete.

Paralysis started to set in and a surgery was done to remove a blood clot in the brain and a piece of bone thought to be causing the paralysis. Still in a coma after the surgery, his family laid him in bed and wrapped him in blankets with irons that had been heated up to keep him warm. Still unconscious, Albert kept trying to push the iron near one of his legs away it and after awhile, it was discovered that the iron had been heated too hot and had severely burned his leg. Probably mercifully, he never recovered and slipped away at the age of 54.

Life was tougher in those days and accidents seem frequent and deadly among the ranks of my ancestors. Albers brother-in-law, Hugh Nelson Thomas, lost his life due to a horse kick to the head. Two others would be brothers-in-law died in their early childhood. In fact, it seems quite common that out of a dozen children, maybe half reached an adult age. I guess that is why my ancestors were such prodigious child bearers in those days. One half-sister to my great great grandmother had seventeen children! I think I would rather suffer an axe blow to the head!

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