Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Susan A. French

Alexandria Gazette
August 14, 1846


At the residence of Mrs. French, in Prince William County, Va., on the 6th inst., her daughter Susan A. French, in the 23d year of her age.  For the last six months she was the subject of disease, an incurable consumption, and for the last two months confined to her bed.  Her sufferings during the greater part of her illness were very great, but she bore them with true Christian patience and resignation, and died in the full triumph of the faith of the Gospel, leaving to surviving relations and friends, the most satisfactory evidence, that in her death, she exchanged the sufferings and sorrows of earth for the rest and bliss of Heaven.

Richmond Enquirer
September 1, 1846


Died, at Green Level, the residence of her mother, in Prince William county, on Thursday, 6th August of Pulmonary Consumption, Susan, daughter of the late William French, Esq., in the 23d year of her age, after an illness of several months, which she bore with the post patient resignation.  This is the second interesting daughter which, within the short space of nine months, has been removed by the hand of Death, from a devoted mother, and a large circle of relatives and friends.  When she became conscious of her approaching end, she appeared to look with horror upon the last struggle; but with the most intense suffering for a short time and she appeared to have sunk from exhaustion, her countenance suddenly brightened with a heavenly smile, when she expressed her perfect readiness to do part whenever her Heavenly Father might cal her -- declaring to her sorrowing friends around her bed, that the happiness she then enjoyed, more than compensated for all her sufferings -- called upon them to thank God, who had thus revealed himself to her, and caused her to rejoice in the prospect of a blissful immortality -- and when her voice failed her, with a countenance still beaming with smiles, she continued to wave her hand in triumph, until she fell asleep to wake no more.  Although she made no profession of religion previous to her illness, she had always treated the subject with the greatest respect, and the circumstances of her death afford her afflicted mother and friends the strongest reason to believe that she has exchanged a state of suffering for one of eternal felicity.  



  1. Hi Carolyn,

    I was wondering if you would share how/where you find these informative obituaries. I have been trying to find an obituary for my great great grandfather Isham John Hedges (or some places he shows up as John Isham, or "J.I. Hedges"). He is alive in the 1900 PW Co census, but in the 1910 census his wife shows up as a widow living with her son, so I only know that he died between 1900-1910. I'm not sure where he's buried, but there are a few old fieldstones in the Hedges Cemetery on Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge, one of which may be his grave. He was a Civil War vet with the 49th VA Infantry Co B so I thought there was a good chance he would have at least a small obituary in one of the local papers. I can't seem to find an index anywhere for the Manassas Journal or the Alexandria Gazette, but maybe they are not on-line. Thanks! Rhonda Atkinson

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      I'm using a combination of the Manassas Journal archives online at the RELIC website, (subscription), (subscription) (which is partnered with, and Chronicling America. There are still many many newspapers that are not digitized and online or with issues missing. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that there was never an obituary at all. If the death wasn't "newsworthy" (i.e., through some tragedy or the decedent was well known) or the family couldn't pay for the newspaper obit, one simply may not exist.

  2. Carolyn, thanks so much for the info. I will definitely check out these sources! Rhonda