My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Sunday, August 28, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Martin Horst (1830-1878)

Martin Horst
 My 3rd great-Grandfather Martin Horst died at his home in Mobile, Alabama, on October 7, 1878. He had suffered from Bright's disease, and this was listed as the cause of his death. He was only 48 years old at the time of his death.

Bright's Disease was described in the 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911):
"BRIGHT'S DISEASE, a term in medicine applied to a class of diseases of the kidneys (acute and chronic nephritis) which have as their most prominent symptom the presence of albumin in the urine, and frequently the coexistence of dropsy [edema or fluid retention].
These associated symptoms in connection to kidney disease were first described in 1827 by Dr. Richard Bright (1789-1858)....
The symptoms are usually of a severe character. Pain in the back, vomiting and febrile disturbance commonly usher in the attack. Dropsy, varying in degree from slight puffiness of the face to an accumulation of fluid sufficient to distend the whole body, and to occasion serious embarrassment to respiration, is a very common accompaniment. The urine is reduced in quantity, is of dark, smoky or bloody colour, and exhibits to chemical reaction the presence of a large amount of albumen, while, under the microscope, blood corpuscles and casts, as mentioned, are in abundance.
This state of acute inflammation may by its severity destroy life, or, short of this, may by continuance result in the establishment of one of the chronic forms of Bright's Disease. On the other hand an arrest of the inflammatory action frequently occurs, and this is marked by the increased amount of the urine, and the gradual disappearance of the albumen and other abnormal constituents; as also by the subsidence of the dropsy and the rapid recovery of strength.
In the treatment of acute Bright's disease, good results are often obtained from local depletion [bleeding or blood-letting to reduce pressure], warm baths and from the careful employment of diuretics and purgatives [laxatives]. Chronic Bright's disease is much less amenable to treatment, but by efforts to maintain the strength and improve the quality of the blood by strong nourishment, and at the same time guarding against the risk of complications, life may be prolonged in comparative comfort, and even a certain measure of improvement be experienced."

Some notable sufferers of Bright's Disease include Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States; Alexander Romanov III, Tsar of Russia; Emily Dickinson, 19th century U.S. poet; Ty Cobb, hall of fame baseball player; Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; H.P. Lovecraft, science fiction writer; and Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate.

On October 8, 1878, his funeral began at 3 PM from his home and moved to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a block away, at 4 PM. Members of the Board of Aldermen, the Common Council of the city, the Mayor, the Board of County Commissioners, the Turn Verein (German Club), Neptune Fire Company Number 2 and members representing the other volunteer fire companies, other city officials, members of the police department, and the Sisters of Charity attended, each group joining before the service in order to attend as a group. All classes of citizens came and the Cathedral was filled. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery.

His obituary in the Mobile Daily Register praised him highly as did an editorial in the same newspaper printed October 9, 1878.

Death of Martin Horst
"About half past 1 o'clock yesterday evening the spirit of Martin Horst winged its flight from earth, and Mobile now mourns the loss of one of her best citizens. For some time past Mr. Horst had been in ill health, caused by Bright's disease which yesterday ended in his death. He came to Mobile in 1855 (sic) and was first engaged as a barkeeper in a saloon in the vicinity of the river front. He afterward obtained employment as a barkeeper in a bar at the corner of Conti and St. Emanuel at that time owned by Mrs. Berg, whom he afterward married. By energy, industry and integrity Mr. Horst became one of our leading business men and was noted for liberality, energy and perseverance. In December 1870 he was elected to the Mayoralty and served in that capacity during the year 1871-1872. At the time of his death he was about 49 years of age, although from ill health, he appeared to be a much older man. He leaves a wife and eight children to mourn him, and in his death the community has lost a good citizen, and his family a loving husband and kind father.
To the youth Mr. Horst's career furnishes an example of what may be accomplished by close attention to business, integrity and perseverance. He leaves a large circle of friends who mourn his loss and to his afflicted family we extend our heartfelt sympathy. His funeral will take place from his late residence at 3 o'clock and the Cathedral at 4 o'clock." (from Daily Register, Mobile, Alabama, October 7, 1878)

Funeral of Martin Horst
"Rarely has a citizen of our community passed away from the scenes of life, whose loss has been more truly regretted by our people than has been the case in the death of Martin Horst. A merchant of uprightness and integrity, a Chief Executive who had the interests of our city ever in view, and a citizen who was ever devoted to the prosperity of our community, the memory of Martin Horst will not soon be forgotten by those who have admired his public spirit, his generosity and his liberality. It was not surprising, therefore, that his funeral was so largely attended yesterday evening by all classes of our citizens, and that the tribute and respect was heartfelt and spontaneous. The Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council, with the city officials, and police force attended his funeral in a body, to do honor to the memory of a Chief Magistrate of the City. The Board of County Commissioners was also present, of which body Mr. Horst was a member at the time of his death. In addition to these were the Sisters of Charity, Neptune Fire Department Company No. 2, delegations from the different companies of the Mobile Fire Department and the Mobile Turn Verein. The religious service took place in the Cathedral, which was densely packed by a large concourse of our citizens and was conducted by the Rev. Father J. J. Browne. At the conclusion of these services the casket was borne to the hearse of Messrs. C.J. Leonard, Jno. Vinas, J.K. Renaud, C. Weinaker, B.R. Studevant, E.D. Ricker, Jno. Norville and C.J. Burns and conveyed in sad and solemn procession to the Catholic Cemetery where all that is earthly of our lamented townsman was committed to dust." (The Daily Register, Mobile, Alabama - Wednesday morning, October 9, 1878 - Editorial page)
Gravestone of Martin Horst
Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama

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