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Middletown Ledger, March 4, 1926. Grant Heatherwick, Editor and Proprietor
Courtesy of Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society

Apoplexy Causes Death of Henry Gambrell

Henry Gambrell died of apoplexy sometime during the night of Wednesday, Feb. 24, 1926 while at his home alone, according to the verdict of the coroner's jury.

All day on Thursday neighbors noted that there was no stir about his home on North Madison street, and that the curtains remained down. At about dusk in the evening Chas. Rogers at the urging of his mother, went to see if all was well. He entered the back door which was unlocked and in the gathering gloom perceived the still form of Mr. Gambrell lying across the bed with his feet resting on the floor. Brief examination disclosed that life was extinct.

The body was clothed but had on an overcoat instead of the undercoat. His hands were resting across his chest. He had evidently laid down on the bed and passed away without a struggle. The lamp on the table was burned dry of oil and a glass in which soda had been mixed was on the table and near him on the bed was his flashlight.

Mr. Rogers notified Dr. MacPherson who called the undertaker E.C. Goff and notified the coroner Dr. C.B. Taylor. Neighbors and relatives went to the home and took care of the body as the roads were too bad for the undertaker to get here from Lincoln.

The sons and daughters came on Friday and made arrangements for the funeral. Dr. Taylor, the coroner came over from Lincoln on the train Friday afternoon and held the inquest at the home that evening with the following men on the jury; Frank Warren, foreman; Garrett Rayburn, Ed. Rayburn, Floyd Rayburn, L.K. Goff and Aaron Montgomery. The testimony of Chas. Rogers, Frank Lloyd, John Watkins and Mrs. Maude Shipley was taken and the verdict ascribing the cause of death to apoplexy was agreed upon.

The funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at two o'clock at the Presbyterian church with Rev. Eugene Palmer officiating, assisted by Rev. F.A. Buchholz. The church was filled with the congregation attending.

The pall bearers were; John Watkins, James Snyder, Fred Sturgis, Chas. Whiteman, Frank Lloyd and Fred Boyer. Several selections were rendered by a quartet comprising; Misses Etta Reka Killion, Madge Neumann, Lee Hines and Helen Boyer. Miss Mildred Newton was at the piano.

Internment was made in Irish Grove cemetery. On account of the roads all the conveyances were horse drawn.

Henry C. Gambrell was born in Mt. Pulaski, Ill., Dec. 8, 1857. He was 68 years, 2 months and 16 days old at death. His youth was spent in Springfield where he attended high school. In July 1881 he was married to Frances Ford Harris and to the union eight children were born of whom five are living.

Mr. Gambrell and family resided in Irish Grove for a number of years but since the death of Mrs. Gambrell and the dispersion of the children he had made his home in Middletown. For many years he had held the office of constable.

Surviving are the following children; Robert of Chicago, Henry of Muskogee, Okla., Raymond of Oakley, Mrs. Irene Murton of Pittsburg, Pa., and Mrs. Maude Shipley of Springfield. One sister, Mrs. Mary Rogers of Middletown is also living, besides many more distant relatives.

Note from Don: Note the variation of the Gambrel(l) name - my father and his father as well have used both spellings at various times in their life. In the obit, Mr. Heatherwick mentioned Frances Ford Harris as the late Mrs. Gambrel. I have a copy of the original Marriage certificate and application and it states her name is Frances Ford Davies. I am not sure where Harris fits in at this time. Also, I have reason to suspect that Frances Ford Davies was the granddaughter of Gov. Thomas Ford (her mother was Anna Ford Davies, daughter of Frances Hambaugh, wife of Gov. Ford) according to the census of 1850. Although I cannot make a direct link as of yet, I am working on it.

Submitted by: Jason Gambrel

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