Ruth is not exactly an ancestor of mine, but I have heard about Ruth since I was a little girl. Ruth was my grandfather’s first wife. He was married to her a little over a year when she died.
Ruth was born Ruth Muzzey on September 5, 1898 in DeKalb, DeKalb, Illinois. She married Fred Kaiser on October 28, 1920 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. She died November 8, 1921. According to her death certificate she died of Eclampsia (seizures and coma that happen during pregnancy but are not due to pre-existing or organic brain disorders), pregnancy and uremic coma. Secondary condition was Pyebitis Pyonephrosis.
I had to look these medical terms up to understand what exactly happened. From what I can deduce is that she had a pre-existing kidney condition before becoming pregnant. According to her death certificate the doctor treated her for Pyebitis Pyonephrosis (a kidney condition) for 11 months and 20 days. I remember my grandmother saying that Ruth was told that she should not get pregnant, but she did and it caused her death. The death certificate also states that the doctor treated her for the Eclampsia and pregnancy from September 1 though November 8, 1921. A Cesarean Section was preformed prior to death. It does not say how far along she was in her pregnancy.
Once again, I felt for my grandfather. In April of 1919 he lost his brother to Influenza, then 2 ½ years later he loses his wife and child. It seems like more than one could bear.
Then I wondered about Ruth’s family, her parents, brothers and sisters. I never heard anything about Ruth’s family of origin. What I did hear about Ruth came from my grandmother, not my grandfather. I never heard my grandfather talk about Ruth. My grandmother was a Ruth’s friend so she is the one that kept Ruth’s memory alive. But I could not remember Grandma saying anything about Ruth’s family. Maybe she did, but back then it really didn’t mean anything to me. Even after starting genealogy, I just ignored her until recently because she was not a blood relative.
I had to find her on the censuses to get a glimpse into her life. I also found her family tree on Ancestry. It looks like she was the youngest of seven children. She was 10 years younger than her next closest sibling. Her father and one brother preceded Ruth in death. Ruth’s mother and other siblings died after Ruth. The last of her siblings died in 1966. I wonder if they were close to her and what their thoughts were when she died. Apparently, they did not keep in touch with my grandfather. I think I would have heard if he were in touch with Ruth’s family. Too bad I was too young at the time to ask the right questions.
Another thing that struck me in researching her life was that there was a cesarean section done. What happened to the baby? There was never any mention of the baby. I assumed it died too. That started me thinking that there should be a birth and/or death record. I was able to find a death record on Familysearch. It was just an index entry, they did not have a picture of the original. However, I did get some information from the index. Here is the information from the index.
Name: Kaiser; Death Date: 8 November 1921; Gender: Male; Birth Date: 8 November 1921; Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Father: Fred Kaiser; Father’s Birth Place: Chicago, IL; Mother: Ruth Muzzey; Mother’s Birth Place: IL.
I wonder if the baby was near full-term or born premature. If premature, how premature was it? Apparently, the baby was never given a first name. What happened to the baby? Was he buried? Cremated? I know he is not buried near his mother because I have been to Ruth’s grave. She is buried on one side of my grandfather, and my grandmother is buried on the other side of my grandfather. Also buried there are my grandfather’s parents, his brother, and my mother and father.
Did Grandpa think of Ruth on their wedding anniversary (October 28) or on the anniversary of her death (November 8) and the birth & death of his son? I will never know, but I would hope that he did think of them on those days. How sad to think not only of Ruth’s early death, but the death of her baby too. Two lives that ended too soon. So in honoring Ruth’s life, I am also honoring that of her baby boy too.