Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vaughan Family History - Immigrant Tragedy

I've been obsessively compiling a Family History Chronology for my family surname origins in Wales to our arrival in the United States. I've even decided to post it here on a special page to maybe pick up any connections through the internet with those distant cousins out there who may be interested or even able to help us.

The frustration with family history is that the more you know, the more you want to know. At least that's how it works with me. We have lots of unanswered questions. And there is much already apparent that moves me with the amazing challenges and difficulties these ancestors faced. They become real to me as I feel the triumphs and tragedies of their lives.

After putting this together, I followed up with what happened to those who first arrived in the late 1880s. Sure, I have their vitals on family group sheets, new.familysearch and PAF, but what are their stories? Tragedy still tempered the few triumphs. From the Salt Lake Herald of December 6, 1894:
Thomas Vaughn, an employee in the Union Pacific transfer department, was taken suddenly ill while at work on Tuesday afternoon, was taken home and died at 6:20 the same evening. Heart disease was the cause of his death. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. today. The deceased leaves a widow and eight children. Considering the destitute circumstances of the family a subscription was commenced by W.A. McGraw in the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific freight departments yesterday and in a short time over $100 was subscribed.
Thomas was 44 years old. My Great-Grandfather, one of those fatherless children, was eight. Born in England, he came to the United States as a babe in arms. Our stories just don't end. Blessedly, they do get happier.

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