Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Look what I found out about the Whetstones, but it makes me sad

Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland), August 9, 1906.
1906 was a bad year for the Joseph Hampton Whetstone family in the little mountain town of Frostburg Maryland. Little Peter, born in 1895, died in March of '06 and then a fire took the family home in August. My grandmother, Emma born in 1897 and just nine years old, remembered the fire clearly. It was a scary formative event in her life and from the article I can see why. The house was destroyed as well as the contents. Grandma remembered standing out in front of the house with her entire family watching it burn with nothing left but the nightclothes on their backs. That was the sum total of their worldly possessions.
I see from the article, and Mom didn't remember this, that the family was at breakfast when they discovered the house was on fire and the flames had already reached the roof. Kate Whetstone, grandma's mother, ran to the bedrooms to rescue the two youngest boys, Tuck and Joe. One of them, I know not which, had to jump to safety.
The article states that the value of the house was covered to just one-fourth by insurance. I'm glad of that. At least it was something. And glad too that the two youngest children were saved.
November saw another child gone and that was little Viola. She was born September 21 and had died by November 17. Poor Kate was pregnant with Viola when the house burned down. None of us living know if Viola was full term or if the trauma of the fire and running upstairs to rescue her small children somehow caused an early labor for Kate. Either way, Viola was gone before November ended.
Poor Joe and Kate. So much loss in such a short amount of time.

Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland), November 20, 1906.

Joseph H. Whetstone on the right in his Frostburg Fire Department uniform.

Kate and Joe sitting in front of their house about 1920, with some of their grandchildren.
Mom is the one with the big hair bow.

Kate and Joe in later life.

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