Here is a closer look at the death certificate for my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah F. Graham, née Scott.

Death Certificate of Sarah F. Graham, 1928.

1. Place of Death: “Watts, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.” The 1920 census had Sarah residing with her daughter Eliza Ann Watts in Shady Grove Township. Sarah must have been living with another relative at the time of her death.

Sarah’s “full” name, misspelled.

2. Full Name: “Sarrah Graham.” Not really her full name, and also misspelled. We know from many census records that Sarah’s middle initial was F, but I’ve seen no document that reveals her middle name. I believe it was Frances.

3. Sex: “Female.”

4. Color or Race: “White.”

5. Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced: “Widowed.” Sarah’s husband died in 1900. Also, I noticed that the certificate used the Oxford comma.

Jesse Graham, misspelled “Judsie.”

5a. Husband of (or) Wife of: “Judsie Graham.” I’m confident that’s supposed to be Jesse Graham.

6. Date of Birth: “5 June 1836.” The year seems to be a mistake. The 1850 census, which is the available record created closest to Sarah’s birth, placed it in 1844. The 1900 census further placed it in June 1844, which corroborates at least the birth month here. Sarah’s grave marker reads 5 June 1844, so somebody somewhere eventually got it right.

7. Age: “89 years, 4 months, 9 days.” That’s calculated from the erroneous 1836 birth year, and itself is wrong. It should be five months, not four. Using 1844 instead makes Sarah’s age 84 years, 5 months, 9 days.

8. Occupation of Deceased: “None.”

9. Birthplace: “Unknown.” Most census records indicate that Sarah was born in Alabama, but when we look at the history of her Scott family, the evidence strongly indicates she was born in Carroll County, Georgia. The 1850 and 1860 censuses of her parents support a Georgia birth.

Sarah’s parents.

10. Name of Father: “Unknown.” Her father was Jesse M. Scott.

11. Birthplace of Father: “Unknown.” Jesse was born someplace in North Carolina.

12. Maiden Name of Mother: “Unknown.” Her mother was Senia P. Malone.

13. Birthplace of Mother: “Unknown.” Senia was born someplace in North Carolina.

14. Informant: “Lester Bahannan.” That’s Lester Bohannon, Sarah’s grandson. Apparently, Lester wasn’t well versed in the family’s history, since as the informant, he would’ve been the one responsible for misspelling Sarah’s name, giving the wrong birth year, and all the unknowns about her parents. Also, per the 1930 census, Lester was still living with his parents Patrick Bohannon and Mary Graham in Red River Township. It’s likely that Sarah was also residing with the Bohannons at the time of her death. She’d been recorded with them before on the 1910 census.

15. Filed: “L. N. Smith, Registrar.”

16. Date of Death: “14 November 1928.”

17. Cause of Death: “No attending physician. Old feeble age.”

18. Where was Disease Contracted…? Blank.

19. Place of Burial, Cremation, or Removal: “Shady Grove.” That’s Shady Grove Cemetery.

Date of Burial: “16 November 1928.”

20. Undertaker: “Relatives + friends.”

Burial information.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com, Arkansas, Death Certificates, 1914-1969 (Lehi, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2019), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Arkansas Department of Vital Records; Little Rock, Arkansas; Death Certificates; Year: 1928; Roll: 5. Record for Sarrah Graham. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=61777&h=244693&indiv=try.

Graham, Byron W. “Jesse & Sarah Graham.” Graham Ancestry, 7 November 2010, https://grahamancestry.com/2010/11/07/jesse-sarah-graham/

Graham, Byron W. “The Many Wives of Patrick, Part Three.” Graham Ancestry, 10 May 2011, https://grahamancestry.com/2011/05/10/the-many-wives-of-patrick-part-3-mary-frances-graham/

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