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In search of a death date for Hiram VV (b. 1807), died at Norwich village, Oxford Co. before 1881.


The Woodstock Sentinel-Review newspaper reports on his failing health after an 1878 fall from an apple tree, but no obituary found, and no Ontario death record.


IN SEARCH OF A DEATH DATE for Hiram VV (b. 1807)

 

Hiram's death date has been placed in family trees, unsourced, as 1 July 1877 or alternatively, same date in 1880, at Norwich, North Norwich Twp., Oxford Co.

Hiram's wife Almira's burial details are inscribed on Hiram's mother's obelisk at the Norwich Village cemetery, and it is assumed that Hiram himself is interred in the family plot, as 1930's researcher Wm. Perkins Bull has noted for this cemetery.

The provincial death record sets seem complete for Norwich Twp. in the years 1877-1881 and it is possible to find death records of neighbours of the VV's with no apparent gaps.  However, stepping through death records, Hiram's has not been found.

In this time period, Hiram VV Sr. was known as "Squire" or "Esq." (had he been a Justice of the Peace?) and his son Hiram Hopkins VV did not have that designation.  Hiram Sr. is found most recently on the 1871 census for North Norwich Twp.  Hiram Hopkins VV went then by Hopkins VV.  The Vanvalkenburgs were known in "society circles", and reported on fairly regularly in local news.

In the late 1870's, two newspapers reported on Norwich:  The Woodstock Sentinel-Review and the Norwich Gazette (perhaps also a Brantford newspaper). Right at Feb 1879 the Sentinel-Review expanded and was openly competing with (and trying to shut down) the local small papers.  At the same time, Norwich Village was modernizing with new commercial blocks built, a new town bell, new industry attracted, and even proper sidewalks (promoted by William Merrill, Esq., father-in-law of Hiram Hopkins VV).  The Norwich goings-on were authored by the Sentinel's secret local reporter under the pen name "Nemo" who very much prided himself on having the first dibs on all society news (and pointing out the failures of the Gazette).  Therefore, it is a mystery as to why Hiram VV's death did not result in a notice or proper obituary in the three year time period, despite other VV news being covered.

What has been found is as follows: (and it is believed that these reports pertain to Hiram VV Senior as opposed to his son)

With Hiram reportedly in failing health coming on July of 1879, and family lore which places his death at the first of July of 1877 or 1880, all news reports were checked carefully, and re-checked around the Jun/Jul time periods throughout these years.  Other deaths were reported and confirmed by official death records, but not Hiram VV's.  The Norwich Gazette can be checked for these dates, but if not reported there, then perhaps Hiram had left the area to convalesce, perhaps he had gone to his wealthy sister in Chicago to avail of the best doctors?  (His brothers and own son Thaddeus had been living and working with this family on and off for years).

One article that was found in the spring of 1879 stated that Hiram VV was on the Norwich Village cemetery board, just a carry-over from past years.  It seems strange that the death of this prominent citizen of Norwich is so unaccounted for.

Again, perhaps the Norwich Gazette will have an obituary... this may serve to narrow down the dates.


Linked toHopkins, Almira; Merrill, William; VanValkenburg, Hiram; VanValkenburg, Hiram Hopkins

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