Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mabel Reid Bryan

I decided to stop at the Midhurst Pioneer Cemetery on a recent drive home from Midland to do a geocache and wander.  I found this stone.

I'm not really sure what drew my attention to it.  I think it was her age and the fact that she was referred to by her maiden name. I decided to do a little digging, well not literally ;)

The first record I uncovered was her marriage record. Mabel Reid, daughter of John Reid and Emma Coady married Michael John Bryan on 30 Jan 1906 in Toronto. She was 20 and Michael was 27.  Michael was a cook.
  I found her death record next.  Mabel died on 30 July 1911 in St Michael's Hospital in Toronto,  as a result of burning. Yikes!  I logged in to the Brampton Public Library website and accessed the Toronto Star's Pages of the Past.  I did a search for Mabel without luck.  I decided to turn the search to the historical newspapers for Barrie in the hopes that they wrote about her in her hometown paper. Unfortunately, she made front page news of the August 3 Northern Advance.
  At 9 am on Sunday July 30, Mabel went downstairs in her house at 309 Church Street to make her husband breakfast. Three minutes later, Michael raced downstairs when he heard his wife shrieking in the kitchen. What he found would have been terrifying.  Mabel was entirely engulfed in flames, and he used his bare hands to beat out the fire.  She went by police ambulance to St Michael's within 20 minutes and died an  agonizing 7.5 hours later, at 4 pm.  Apparently, Mabel had just sold her gas range and replaced it with a small plate burner.  When she went down to light the flame, the burner detached from the gas tubing and fell to the ground. A flame shot out of the tube and set fire to her night dress. When the ambulance arrived, she was conscious but was a "mass of burns from her feet up"
 Wow.  Totally not what I was expecting when I took the picture of the stone.  I figured she died in childbirth or from TB.
   Michael did go on the remarry.  On 11 April 11 1916 Michael married 22 year old Bessie Hossie at St. James Cathedral in Toronto.

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