A Death in 1909

Do a search in this blog for “Emma Borreson” and you’ll read news of our grandfather Emil’s sister who married Carl Olson in 1907, moved to South Dakota with her husband, and then died by drowning in 1909.

When I was searching historic newspapers on the Chronicling America website, quite unexpectedly I discovered news of her death in three South Dakota town newspapers (Pierre, Watertown, Mitchell) and one of these I am posting here.

mitchell-capital-25-mar-1901-image-1This item is from The Mitchell Capital, Mitchell, South Dakota, March 25, 1909. One of the other newspapers indicated her home was seven miles north of De Smet and that she was twenty-nine years old.

The article raises at least one question with me – the reference to a brother being in the house. According to both Clara’s account in Homestead and a news item from that time in the Whitehall paper, Emma’s brothers Emil and Charlie traveled to South Dakota to bring the body back to Pigeon Falls for burial. The above article makes it appear that a brother was already there. Could it be that Emil or Charlie was visiting when this tragedy took place? My own guess is that there is an error, that the news item should refer to Emma’s husband instead of a brother. Whoever it was surely must have dealt with a burden of guilt and “what if’s.”

It’s a sad story, another example of the hardships our pioneering ancestors endured.

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