One of the things I find so touching about going through the old obituaries is the way tragedy can hit some families so hard. Case in point is the Balcom family from Detroit. The sad deaths of father and then the only daughter are recorded in the local paper only because the father was born on a local farm and is a brother of a local resident. Because of that, the obituaries of both are of notice here.
First, from the 12 April 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:
Mrs. E. P. Lore received the sad intelligence that her brother Harry Balcom, of Detroit, had died in that city and that his body would be brought to Hesperia for burial. The funeral was held at the residents of Mrs. and Mrs. E. P. Lore in Dayton Thursday afternoon at two o'clock, Rev. Wylie officiating, and interment took place in the East cemetery. Those from a distance who attended the funeral besides the widow were Mr. and Mrs. Asa Lennen and Harry Lennen, of Remus, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ray, of Portland, and Mrs. Addie Walkenhuit of Chelsea.
Harry Balcom was born on a farm in Denver township thirty-five years ago. His early life was spent on the farm and attending school until he grew to man's estate, when he left home as most boys do to try is fortune amid new scenes.
He lived a few years in Ypsilanti, marrying in the meantime, finally going to Detroit to work in the Ford manufactory, where he was taken ill with pneumonia and died in a short time. He leaves a wife and four little children. He was a young man of sterling worth and to be cut down in early manhood when all of life was before him is sad to contemplate. We often wonder why these things come so unexpectedly into our lives, but some day we are told we shall know.
Besides the widow and four children Mr. Balcom leaves an aged father and blind mother, one brother, Burr of Negaunee, and three sisters, Mrs, Walkenhuit, of Chelsea, Mrs. Laura Webster, of Hillsdale, and Mrs. Blanche Lore, of Dayton, who all mourn the loss of a loving husband and father, son and brother and the sympathy of all go out to them in this, their sad hour.
Now this particular obituary does not have a byline, but I would be willing to bet that this was one of Mrs. Robertson's obituary. My favorite obituary writer covered the Hesperia area and particulary Denver township, and this tone of this is totally in her flowery style. And the same style is evident in the following notice that came less than a month later.
From the 10 May 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:
Mr and Mrs. E. P. Lore received the sad news that their little niece, Addie Leraine Balcom, the only daughter of Mrs. harry Balcom, died last Friday in the hospital at Ann Arbor with a complication of diseases after an attack of the measles. Mr. and Mrs. Lore attended the funeral at Remus last Sunday. It is just a short time since the little girl's father, Harry Balcom, died and his remains brought here for burial. The mother is now left with three boys, this being the only little girl. Truly the shafts fall thick and fast around some families and the Balcom's have had their share.
Yes, that sounds like Mrs. Robertson all right. For a sample of other of her offerings, check out the link for her on the side bar. I am sure you will agree that this is her style.
Another thought that comes to mind as I re-read these obituaries. Being early in 1917, it was before the main time thought of as the big "Spanish Flu" epidemic, but Harry died of pneumonia, which was often the diagnosis given to influenza victims. And little Addie had a complication of diseases, after her measles. Given her probably weakened state, it is easy to speculate she may also have caught the same illness that took her father just a few short weeks later.
And as a genealogist, this thought comes to me as well. No where is Mrs. Balcom's name given. But in light of the fact that Addie is taken to Remus for burial, even though her father was buried in Hesperia, if I were researching this family, I would investigate the Lennen family from Remus who came to Harry's funeral. I have a hunch that that is Mrs. Balcom's maiden name.