“A Stranger Whose Name is Unknown”

While searching the wonderful fultonhistory.com, I came across this obituary:

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We all know our ancestors can be elusive…that obituaries weren’t always printed and documents didn’t always exist. And even when records exist, they can be extremely hard to find, to confirm, to cross-reference…it can take years of research and many of us will be unsuccessful in ever finding the right connections.

So this newspaper clipping gives me mixed feelings. This stranger whose name is unknown is likely forever lost to history, but someone found the man’s death—or at least his anonymity—worthy of coverage.

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5 thoughts on ““A Stranger Whose Name is Unknown”

  1. I’m tempted to estimate his year of birth and do a search on FamilySearch.org for someone with those initials. Does it say he appears to be a “DANCER” or a “TANCER”? And, did they “DECEPTLY” inter him?

    • He was ‘decently’ buried…Here is the full transcription:

      Suddenly at the house of Davis Beaumont in the borough of West Chester, on the morning of the 19th inst. a stranger whose name is unknown. His remains were decently interred in the Chapel burying ground in said place. There was nothing found about him by which his name could be ascertained; his hair and complexion sandy, his stature about five feet eight inches, and apparently from 35 to 40 years old; on his right arm is imprinted the image of our Saviour on the cross. He had with him a bundle of coarse clothes, a small pocket book, an atlas, Walker Dictionary, Flint Surveying (Hartford edition) Pike Arithmetic, and a small sum of money. He appears to have been a tanner – on the outer edge of the dictionary the letters D.W. were printed.

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