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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Dropped Dead

Here is the obituary for Anna (Schmidt) Kramer, b. 25 February 1861 and d. May 1906, Caseyville, Madison County, Illinois.  She was my husband's great-great-grandmother.  The Kramer's were part of a German farming community in Madison County, Illinois.  Obituary is from the May 19, 1906 issue of the Belleville Daily Advocate.

"Mrs. Anna Kramer, aged 45, dropped dead Saturday afternoon at her home on the Caseyville road, five miles northwest of Belleville, while attending to some household duties.  Deceased was a powerful woman and weighed over 300 pounds.  She had been a sufferer from heart trouble for a number of years and over exertion is supposed to have hastened her death.  Coroner Irwin of Belleville held an inquest and a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.  Mrs. Kramer is survived by her husband and several children.  The funeral was held Monday afternoon to the Caseyville cemetery."

The obituary was written at a time when yellow journalism was used in the area.  We now call it the tabloid press.  Adding that she dropped dead and her weight certainly was a sensational read!  The other obituaries on the page fared a little better.  Glad that practice is no longer common in the press.


  1. I found it surprising that they would put the poor womans weight in the obit. The link for "yellow journalism" was interesting. I had never heard of that term before.

  2. Claudia, thanks for reading! Am trying to get to all the Geneabloggers blogging prompts this week.

    Just glad they no longer add a lady's weight in obituaries. Joseph Pulitzer was in charge of the St. Louis Post Dispatch for a while which had some loose ties to the early Belleville newspapers as Belleville is right across the Mississippi River. I have a few more obituaries that are just as sensational from the time period over the next few Sundays.


  3. Interesting post! Wow! Poor woman! To have her weight included in her obituary was definitely not necessary. Instead, maybe they could have included more important information, like say, the names of her husband and children.

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