I don’t know why, but I get emotionally attached to the people I research. As their story unfolds, I feel like I’m getting to know them.
I continued researching John C. Jones (now known as John Charles Jones). Something intrigued me on his mortuary record. It stated that he died of gas asphyxiation. My first thought was that it was a suicide. Though, I would imagine since this was 1905 that the chance of gas asphyxiation was probably pretty high.
If their was a story to be told, I would find it in the San Francisco Call Newspaper. If this was an accident like a gas explosion, it probably would have been reported. If their was foul play, that would have been a local tidbit to cover.
Since I had his death date, I began searching the newspapers for the next day. It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for. The day after his death this was reported in the San Francisco Call Newspaper:
John C. Jones Dies, Suffocated by Gas
His Dead Body Found by His Physician When Making His Regular Morning Call
John C. Jones, a carriage blacksmith, who lived at 203 Twelfth Street, was found dead in bed this morning. He had been sick for some time and under the care of Dr. Soboslaw. His wife, worn out with watching, occupied a couch in the adjoining room and was asleep when the physician called upon his patient yesterday morning at 9:30 o’clock.
Dr. Soboslaw found the patient dead and the room full of gas, which had escaped from a partly opened burner.
Mrs. Jones informed the physician that her husband retired at 9 o’clock last Friday night and that at 4 o’clock yesterday morning she went to his room to give him his medicine. He had been in ill-health for some time and his wife knew of no other reason why he should take his life. He was a native of Australia, 61 years old.
Mrs. Jones was very much under the influence of liquor and was placed under arrest pending an investigation of the affair.
San Francisco Call Newspaper, Sunday, February 26, 1905, page 26
From this one article I have learned a few things:
1. John had been ill for a long time. Since John had been working as a gardener in 1900, it’s possible he was no longer able to work in his chosen profession. Maybe he became depressed about his poor health and not being able to provide for his household.
2. Margaret was under suspicion of murder. If John had been ill a long time, she may have become overwhelmed by it all.
That’s all speculation, for sure! I tried to go further to see if their was a story about Margaret’s released from jail or the investigation, but haven’t found anything yet. It would be interesting to see what the police concluded.
Regardless of the outcome, Margaret’s mortuary record says she died 3 years later in 1908. Cause of death was senility at the age of 61. She no longer lived on Fulton Street. I can only surmise that the events surrounding her husband’s death may have been too much for her. Though it’s possible that senility had already been setting in. 61 is young by todays standards, but back in the early 1900s, that was considered old age.
I’ve learned alot in just 24 hours of research. I’m amazed at how some people leave a fresh trail to follow and others shredded every once of their past. I’d like to continue this research to see what details I can find on John C. Jones prior to 1900. Maybe I can find him with his parents and Thomas. I’d also like to follow the children. Their are some unknown names in Thomas Augustine Jones’ will. Perhaps they will turn out to be John C. Jones’ descendants.
(One final note, I looked up John Charles Jones obituary in the newspaper. By the time it got to publication, his brother was listed as T.A. Jones not T.H. Jones. This gives me hope that this really is the brother of Thomas Augustine Jones.)
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com