Charles Reed Barker was an amateur historian and member of the Historical Society of Montgomery County for many decades. He was a tireless researcher and donated a large collection of scrapbooks to the Historical Society. A set of four scrapbooks contains records of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ardmore, Pa., including baptisms, marriages, and deaths.
The death records include the cause the death. Consumption and old age are the most common, but typhoid fever, pneumonia, and cancer also appear. One teenager named Hannah Roberts died by drowning at Atlantic City. One infant is listed as dying from “teething,” and there is one unnamed suicide.
The church also recorded the faith of the deceased, and interestingly, during this period (the 1870’s) most were not members of St. Paul’s or any other church. A few are listed as Baptists or Methodists, but most are listed as having no professed faith. There are a few deathbed conversions listed.
Then there are those who never became Christians, and one pastor in particular, H. J. Watkins, pulled no punches on them in the comments section.
The most emotional comment is listed for the infant who died of teething, Louisa Askin Watkins, aged 9 months, 11 days. Her church relationship is listed as “An angel with God,” and the comment appears to have been originally by one of her parents.