Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Didja know?

Mrs. Lee, General Robert E. Lee's mother who lived in Stratford, Virginia, had been in poor health so long that a doctor was in almost constant attendance. She suffered from catalepsy, a trance-like affliction. During a long trance when she was pronounced dead, the lady was prepared for burial and on the third day, after the funeral, was placed in the family vault at the cemetery. The sexton, while cleaning up and placing some flowers on the casket, heard a faint noise. He listened intently and detected a faint call for help. He opened the casket and found Mrs. Lee Alive!
Mrs. Lee slowly regained her health. Her son, born for fame, came into this world more than a year and a half after she was placed in her tomb.

At least some of the emigrants who died en route to Oregon were probably buried alive because the survivors were in a hurry.

For many years, cholera ravaged emigrants along the Oregon Trail. Whoever caught it was dead--no cure or treatment existed. Usually, the infected emigrant died in 24 hours or less, so if an entire wagon train stopped for an elaborate funeral, it would slow their progress. It was urgent they travel quickly. Too many delays meant the pioneers might not get to Oregon before winter--and then everyone might perish.
So on most wagon trains, the burials got shorter and shorter as more and more people died. Some even abandoned the terminally sick by the side of the Trail, where they would eventually die alone. The more humane wagon companies elected a "watcher" to wait with the dying person while the wagons forged ahead. It wouldn't take long for the watcher to catch up; a quick death, after all, was imminent.


Leslie said...

Reminds me of the recent story of the climber on Mt. Everest left to die alone as 30 some odd climbers trailed past him. Fortunately for him, a kindly soul gave up his own reach for the summit and helped save his life.

Waking up in a tomb is about as bad a nightmare as it gets. That's just a little too much peace 'n' quiet, eh?

Sally said...

Poor ol Mrs. Lee! Thank goodness someone could hear her.

I had an uncle who once told me that if I was around when he died, to make sure they didn't bury him for three days, you know, to be sure. Yep, and then he told me that in the real olden days, they laid the corpse out on what they called a cooling board. Yikes, Brenda look what you started!!! :)

Special K said...

Well, sheesh, where did you think the term 'wake' came from?

KB said...

Man I'm glad we live in this day and age when it comes to medicine and all that stuff. Geez, can you imagine laying by the side of the trail waiting to die, alone....

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