Friday, July 15, 2016

FRIDAY FINDS ~ Gordon W. Flower, dead, only 3 days after his marriage to Lovina McNinch–What was the cause of death?

This is a follow up post from yesterday.  I wrote a post about finding potential problems in my Legacy 8 database.  This problems list helps identify various issues in your family tree, that may have gone unnoticed. You can read that post here.

There were two problems on my list.  I’ve cleared up the first one.  The second one had to do with Gordon W. Flower.  His marriage date is listed as being after his death date.  Yup!  I’d say that’s a problem. 
  • Do I have the correct dates for the date of death and the marriage?
  • If so, where did I get these dates?
  • What other records might I locate that would give me more information?
Legacy problems Flower_annotated

First I went to the sources I have listed for the death of Gordon W. Flower.  It seems I have only one.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897 showing his death date as 4 Oct 1896
TIP:  I have a one page death record for Gordon, which I located on  In the several years since I researched this individual, I have learned an excellent lesson.  ALWAYS look at the page before and after any record.  Had I done that at the time, I wouldn’t have been so surprised by his cause of death in my findings today.  I went back and found the 2nd page of the death record, today.

Now let’s see sources I show for his marriage to Lovina McNinch?
  • Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925, showing they were married on 5 Oct 1896 in Hastings, Barry, Michigan.  His parents names are correct on the marriage record, as is his age & place of birth.
Here are the images of those records:

The death record below clearly indicates date of death as October 4th

FLOWER_Gordon_death record_1896_PrairievilleMich_annotated FLOWER_Gordon_death record_1896_PrairievilleMich_page 2 annotated

The marriage record below also clearly gives the same date for the license and the date of the marriage, October 5th.

FLOWER_Gordon marriage to Lovina McNINCH_5 Oct 1896_annotated

So, what I entered in my Legacy database wasn’t wrong, then, based on these records.  I may have located the records at different times, not noting the discrepancy it created.  OR, was Gordon married posthumously?  That’s always a possiblity.  However, what I found today, will refute that theory.

I also had located a FindAGrave memorial for Gordon W. Flower with his year of birth and death clearly visible on the headstone.  You can visit that memorial here.
The next step I took was to go to the online newspapers and try to locate an obituary, funeral notice or some other article that would give me further information about Gordon W. Flower.  I was not disappointed.

Here are the articles I located:

FLOWER_Gordon W_obit_KalamazooGazette_11 Oct 1896_Pg 4_KalamazooMichigan

So, Gordon died by an overdose of morphine.  Only the one article mentions him being kicked by a horse.  Was that true?  Or was it said to protect the family?  Why was his father against his marriage to Lovina McNinch? (her name is spelled various ways) Lovina was only 16 yrs. old at the time of the marriage. I have not been able to follow her forward to see what became of her.  I’ve not located any children born to Gordon and Lovina.

Sadly, Gordon was the only son born to David Preston Flower and his wife Mary “Polly” J. Thorp, who are my 2nd great grandaunt & uncle.  Making Gordon W. Flower, my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  Gordon had four sisters.  How sad they must have been at the news of his death.

I have changed Gordon’s death date in my database, to October 8, 1896 based on the newspaper articles.  This is consistent with him dying 3 days after his marriage.  One article names the 8th specifically and the other states “thursday” which based on the date of the newspaper article, would have been Oct. 8th.
I’ve certainly cleared up the “problem” in my database.  In doing so I learned a very sad fact about this particular ancestor.
Is using the Potential Problems report a good idea?  I would certainly say YES.  It’s allowed me to complete Gordon’s story, as difficult as it is to find such stories about our family.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall


  1. That's a very nice feature. I hope Legacy does actually make a Mac version one of these days, I read such good things about it.

    1. Anna - I think a Mac version is getting closer and closer to release. I sure hope so, as I have several friends that would like to use Legacy without having to use a Windows program on their Mac.
      Thanks for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.