Mistaken death notification: 1894
Posted By: Volunteer: Sherri
Date: 8/6/2020 at 17:48:11
Milton Hearld Newspaper
April 5, 1894
Last Friday evening Mrs. George Brooks sent a telegram to her brother-in-law H.D. Wallace at Keokuk announcing the death of her husband. The telegram stated "George is dead." No street number being given the operator at Keokuk consulted the city directory and sent the telegram to Mrs. Lizzie Wallace a colored lady who it seems has a brother George, who she has not seen (wording slurred) for several years and whose whereabouts are not known. Mrs. Wallace naturally supposed it was her brother whose death was announce, but in order to be sure about it sent a telegram asking "what George!" and received the reply "Your, brother George." This was enough. Her brother who she had not see of heard from for five years was dead. Taking the first train she arrived at Milton at 11 o'clock and at the depot told agent Davis her strange story. She had come to claim the body of her brother George. When told that George Brooks, whose death was announced, was an old and well known citizen here; and there must be some mistake, she refused to be comforted and repeated that she had come to claim the remains, black or white. It required no little explanation and persuasion to convince Mrs. Wallace that she was the unfortunate victim of a singular series of mistakes, very annoying and expensive to her, yet for which it was a difficult matter to blame anyone in particular. Mrs. Wallace returned home on the evening train with the consoling thought that her own brother George was perhaps yet alive and that she would yet see him again. As a result of the mistake, H.D. Wallace, whose wife is a brother of the deceased or none of the family were at the funeral.
Source: "The Hazel Stafford Obituary Collection", Pg. 26, Keosauqua Public Library, Keosauqua, IA
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