Monday, April 28, 2014

In memory of Charles Caspar Nunn

Death Certificate Caspar Nunn

In the Nunn family saga, one member hasn’t been much more than a footnote.  Charles Caspar was born in May 1900 to Joseph and Catherine Kurtz Nunn.  It was their 9th child.  I suspect Joseph wasn’t in the best of health as he died early in June 1900; Catherine was not much better. Worn out from childbirth and the struggles of life, she also carried a mental illness gene to which she soon succumbed.

Previous blogs have outlined the series of events this family endured in the early days of June 1900.

Nothing has been said about Caspar. What can one say about an infant who died just four months after birth?  In my family tree he has no information between the dash.  That bothered me.

Several weeks ago I ordered the Family History Center microfilm of his death certificate.  I viewed that last Thursday. It made my heart hurt.  I shared this certificate with my new found second cousins in Florida and New Jersey. We all had the same comment – so sad.

It has been a while since I have been asked to write an obit; I have never written one for someone who died 114 years ago. But I feel Caspar deserves as much.  His valiant effort for survival, fighting abscesses, infection and malnutrition needs to be known. 

This obit is in your honor Baby Caspar. May you rest in peace.

Charles Caspar Nunn
Charles Caspar Nunn, four months, infant son of Joseph and Catherine Kurtz Nunn, died of septicemia and malnutrition on September 8, 1900 at Infants Hospital in New York City.

Caspar is survived by his mother, Catherine Kurtz Nunn of Randall’s Island; brothers Harry, George, and Joseph Nunn all of Peekskill, NY; sisters Elizabeth of Manhattan, NY, Kate, Emilie, and Emma of Peekskill, NY.  He was predeceased by his father, Joseph Caspar Nunn, and sister, Kathie Nunn.

A private service was held at Randall’s Island Hospital. Burial in Randall’s Island Cemetery.

The Rest of the Story
I couldn’t read the first word on the “Residence” line, but with the assistance of Google, I quickly found that it was Randall’s Island Hospital.  Randall’s and Wards Islands in the 19th through early 20th centuries was the location of an orphanage, poorhouse, burial grounds, and the Manhattan State Hospital. That hospital was the large psychiatric institution where Catherine was sent for her mental illness. These islands were also the burial grounds for many of the poor. I am now sure that Catherine and Caspar are buried there.

This information gave me some comfort since I didn’t know where Caspar was from June through September. I now feel he was allowed to stay with his mother, though obviously the care he received from her and the state hospital was inadequate.

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