Robert Lee Terrell, Sr.

In the midst of my Second Look project, I realized that my maternal grandfather’s history has been totally ignored.  So, I took a pause from my intensive Askew research to focus on the lineage of my maternal grandfather, David Terrell, Sr.

The name of my great-grandfather, Robert Terrell was proven with the 1930 and 1940 United States Federal Census.  His full name, Robert Lee Terrell, Sr. was found in the U.S Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection.  Great for a start, but I still needed to find the names of his parents.

Death certificates have always been my first go-to for the names of parents.  Unfortunately, in this case, just before the car got in motion, it hit a brick wall.

The names of his parents, my 2nd-great-grandparents, are unknown.  Was it that the informant, James Thompson, did not know the names of Robert Terrell’s mother and father?  Who was James Thompson, anyway?  Why was he the informant and not Robert’s wife, Sarah, or one of their children?  It pains me to think that his parents’ names were never known, but the possibility that this could be the case does exist.  

To add to my disappointment, even though his status is documented as married, the name of his spouse is missing.  I really should be used to the negligible record-keeping of state records for Black people, but I’m not, and I don’t think I’ll ever be.

The primary cause of death appears to read as Broncho Pneumonia.  Apparently, this was due to him having had several teeth extracted a few days before.  I’m no medical expert, but my best guess is that the teeth that were extracted were probably abscessed.  Upon removal, bacteria was likely deposited into his airway causing pneumonia, and four days later, the end of his life.  My heart breaks as my mind wanders.  Was he in pain?  Was he able to eat?  How long did he save money for the teeth extractions, only to die a few days later?

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