Recently I decided to look for my 2nd great-uncle, Andrew Stark (1829-1883), who emigrated from Ireland to Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century.
I know from my FamilySearch notes that Andrew died 2 September 1883, so when I found this September 7th obituary in the Stamford Advocate, I knew I was on the right track.
The obituary reads:
“There is something after all, in character. Something, that in the long run, proves itself the most potent element of personal distinction. It levels, not down, but up. More than wealth, or genius, or exceptional skill, or knowledge, or high birth, it compels respect and recognition, and chiefly from those whose good opinion and regard are worth the most, because they themselves have character.
“Andrew Stark was not noted for great wealth or great learning, or professional knowledge or political success. His distinction was merely that of a faithful servant and an honest Christian man, yet few of the so-called great ones of the earth have won more sincere respect or have been laid in the grave with more genuine sorrow.”
Wow – what a beautiful tribute.
The writer of this obituary thought highly of Andrew.
Further down in the article, we learn a bit more about what happened to Andrew, who died at age 54.
The article continues:
“He had complained from time to time for some years of a pain across his chest which occasionally became severe. Some time ago Mr. Hoyt brought him to Dr. Parker in New Canaan who thought there was no serious organic trouble. On last Sunday, however, Andrew, after he had brought up the horse and carriage for Dr. and Mrs. Lathrop and was returning to the barn, was suddenly seized with a severe pain in the region of the heart. As he sank to the ground he cried out, ‘Tie the horses,’ as if even in that terrible moment his always characteristic sense of duty had not deserted him.”
It sounds like he had ongoing heart disease, perhaps unstable angina – and died of a heart attack.
I knew very little about my great-uncle, and without GenealogyBank, I never would have found what happened when he died and this testimonial of his life and character.
Andrew must have been an exceptionally good and honest man.
Genealogy Tip: Obituaries are the best source to learn more about who your ancestors were. Find each one and document their lives.