GenealogyBank has really been great for finding the personal stories of each family member.
I have been systematically going through the old newspapers looking for my Revolutionary War ancestors, and the other day I decided to look for my more recent ancestors and cousins.
A quick search found this article.
The historical newspaper article reports:
A young man named Kemp, employed at St. John, Hoyt & Co.’s planing mill, got his right arm badly injured by an accident on Tuesday last [9 November 1886]. It got caught in a dove-tailing machine, which lacerated the flesh and broke the bone. It is said the arm will be saved, though perhaps in a more or less disabled condition.
I recognized that this was my cousin George Andrew Kemp (1864-1935) even though the article did not give his full name.
Digging deeper I found this follow-up newspaper article.
According to the 1800s news article:
George A. Kemp, who about three months ago had his arm badly lacerated, has through the surgical treatment of Drs. Hungerford and A. M. Hurlbutt, and under the skillful care of Dr. Geib, come out with a magnificent arm, with a new joint which will answer for an elbow. He is now able to resume his work at the same place—the St. John Wood-Working Co.
Great—it was George Andrew Kemp, and the second article gave information about the surgical procedure and the physicians who performed it.
We have a family story that George had hurt his arm and was handicapped for the rest of his life.
Thanks to these articles in old newspapers, we have confirmation and more of the details of his personal story. We did not know that he was only 22 years old at the time of the accident, or that this handicap would last for the rest of his adult life.
Family history also tells us that while he was no longer able to work in the wood shop, the accident didn’t slow him down. He opened his own business and sold goods as a traveling salesman, delivering kerosene and doughnuts with his horse and wagon for the next 49 years. He died in 1935 at age 71 years of age.