|(by Student #7 AMH 2010 1115)|
As suggested by Dr. Soldani, I started my research looking through the 1910 Census of the United States. Since I have family from the southern part of Georgia, I focused on the county that my grandparents live in thinking I might see if my family was being honest when it came to where our family originated from. After not finding any trace of my family tree in Wayne County I kept looking through the census and noticed that some of the women that were documented had 15 to 16 children in their lifetime but had very few that survived. This caught my attention and one that stood out to me was a woman by the name of Annie E Hill.
Once logged into Ancestry, I started scouring data concerning Mrs. Hill and why she had only half of her children survive. According to the record, only 6 out of the 12 children that Mrs. Hill had survived to be surveyed. I cannot imagine losing half of the children you have and living a normal everyday life. Her spouse, John R Hill, was a grocer and a survivor of the American Civil War. He is recorded as being blind, deaf, and mentally impaired, probably due to his service during the war. Of the 6 remaining children the oldest goes by the name of Fannie (Age 16) and the youngest Johny (Age 2). All of the remaining children besides Johny have attended school are able to read and write. There is not any extra information that can be found on the Hill family. After looking through death records of Wayne county, I could not locate any of the files on any of the deceased children and how they died. My guess is that their deaths was probably a mixture of miscarriages, disease, or work-related incidents such as fatalities in the workplace. Many people during this time had to scrape by in order to live out in the country. Unlike families living in the cities where there might be multiple grocery stores that would have a little bit of everything, the grocery store that Mr. Hill worked in might have been the only store in town. Getting back to the research, after coming up short on the death certificates for the deceased children, I tried to look up to see if maybe the Hill family moved to another area that would have been missed in the 1920 census only 10 years after. Unluckily, there was no information regarding the relocation of the Hill family. After hitting a dead end, I started looking at other families that were similar to the Hills in Wayne County, Georgia. Even though most of the families only had a few deceased children there were four other mothers that had lost around half of their children. But strange enough Mrs. Hill was the only White woman to have multiple deceased children. Out of the 5 that I found with multiple deceased children, 2 of them were black women in their upper 60’s while the other 2 where Mulattos according to the Census and where in their mid-to-late 50’s. Compared to the 60 to 70 homes that were surveyed, only having 5 homes that had major loss of life of their children is pretty impressive in the early 20th century. Not saying that the deaths of the children is ok, but just the fact that back then they did not have the luxuries that we are afforded today like emergency response, available healthcare, etc. After looking through more census data I did stumble across some information that I thought was pretty interesting. On the farthest columns to the right, the surveyor designates whether the person was a veteran of the Confederate or Union Armies or Navy’s. What was cool to look for was that the surveyor did not write down yes or no for this question but instead wrote down different numbers. I do not know if this is just him marking down which side they fought on or which branch, but as I dug deeper I could not find any extra information regarding this topic.
In conclusion, even though not much information was found about the Hill family, People today could never cope with losing 1 especially not 6 of your children. Also, the idea that many people today are not having as many children to begin with shows how our viewpoint on the family and home life should be has changed over the years. I hope that one day we are at a point in history where we do not have to experience any child loss and can keep all families happy and safe.