Jan January
Feb February
Mar March
Apr April
May May
Jun June
Jul July
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December

In Their Own Words

March 23, 1852

Infant Death Recorded in Journal

The death of a mother or infant during childbirth was a common occurrence. On this day, such a tragedy struck Gertrude Clanton in Richmond County, when a new-born brother died during delivery. It was a painful experience that she herself would later face – four of the ten children she bore did not survive infancy:

“… I was interrupted last evening while writing … when I returned I found Ma quite sick. She had been taken while we were at church. We sent for Dr. Joe Eve. He came and remained until three o’clock. I was up until five the next morning when I lay down on the sofa in the sitting room and slept till after seven. Ma being so ill Sister and I remained in the nursery. About three Ma gave birth to an infant boy but mortality ne’re gained immortality for he never breathed. Early yesterday morning I arose for the purpose of seeing to breakfast as I now occupy the responsible situation of housekeeper in lieu of Ma. After giving out dinner I was engaged in conversation till near dinner when I dressed for the day… . Although death is at seasons and places solemn yet never having known and loved this child I could not lament as I would otherwise have done. After returning I took my writing desk and seating myself upon a footstool in the small balcony wrote for some time in my Journal. After tea I intended writing but Mr. Thomas called. He remained until after ten oclock. Thinks of leaving off the practice or rather the study of medicine for another year… .” [Editor’s note: Mr. Thomas would eventually become her husband. He never returned to the study of medicine, a decision they both regretted deeply as financial problems beset them throughout their marriage.]

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 102.