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Rasselas Fairchild
  12 October 1822
21 October 1850

 David Fairchild
Deborah Palmer


The Ovid Bee – Wednesday, October 30, 1850

OBITUARY - We received the mornful intelligence, this morning, of the sudden death of a much beloved brother, RASSELAS FAIRCHILD, at New Albany, Indiana, where (and at Louisville, Ky.) he has been engaged for the last two years as Journeyman Printer. He was found dead, in the office, on the hands returning from dinner one day, about the middle of the present month. He was in the enjoyment of his usual health, previous to his sudden demise.

Coroner’s verdict: - “Came to his death from unknown causes.” Our informant, Mr. Wm. F. Claybourne, of Louisville, writes, “Mr. F. and myself were very intimate friends, and it is with feeling of pride I call him thus. I know and have known him as a young man of fine and honorable principles, and it is with feelings of great grief I have to announce his sudden death. I attended to his funeral obsequies, saw he was decently buried, the performance of which duties afforded me much pleasure, though mingled with grief.” Mr. C. will please accept in behalf of all the family and friends, the heartfelt thanks he is so justly entitled to, for his kind attentions to the last remains of our deceased Brother, “A stranger in a strange land,’ until our grief at this sudden and unexpected bereavement, subsides a little, and we have time to collect our thoughts and present him with a more substantial token of our gratitude. Our hear is indeed sorrowful; he was our much loved brother; yet we bow humbly to the will of Him who is “Too wise to err - and too good to be unkind.”

A cotemporary speaking of the character of the deceased, very truthfully remarks: “There was no kinder or more generous heart than his, and non which sympathized more deeply in the sorrows of others. but so rapid was the tear with him succeeded by the smile, that he seemed to live in perpetual sunshine, whose genial influence he was for every imparting to those around him.” But a few days since, he was in the bloom of health and the vigor of manhood. The shock produced by the announcement among a large number of friends and relative, of his sudden death, by whom he was universally beloved, is very great.

The Daily Ledger - New Albany Indiana
Tuesday, October 22, 1850

Sudden Death

It is with pain that we are compelled to announce the sudden, we may say almost instantaneous death of Mr. R. Fairchild, a printer who has worked in this city off and on for the last two years. Mr. F. had been at work in this office for some two or three weeks, when, about a week ago, being addicted to the habit of indulging in intoxicating liquors, he quit work, which was continued up to yesterday. He came into our office a little before noon, and, after talking for a short time with the hands in the office in his usual manner when in this condition, he asked permission to lay down on a table in our composing room, as he wished to sleep. This was readily granted, and he was lying down, apparently asleep, when the hands quit work for dinner. When they came back from dinner, probably not more than half an hour having elapsed, they were astounded to find him, to all appearances, dead. Physicians were immediately sent for, but the vital spark had fled. A coroner's jury was summoned, who returned a verdict of "died from unknown causes." It was shown to the jury that the deceased had purchased three grains of morphine yesterday morning, but the physicians were of the opinion that this could not have produced death in so short a time.

The deceased was a young man, aged about 28 years, and from the State of New York, of good intelligence and fine appearance, his only and fatal failing was that of being addicted to the intoxicating bowl. What a lesson does the sad termination of his career teach!

In 1850, New Albany was the largest city in Indiana. The Ohio River and the steamboat industry were the foundations of the city’s economy during the mid-19th century. At least a half-dozen shipbuilders turned out scores of packet boats as well as famous steamboats such as the Eclipse, A.A. Shotwell, and Robert E. Lee. Shipbuilding also was accompanied by a wide range of complementary concerns, including machine shops, foundries, cabinet and furniture factories, and silversmith shops.

Ovid Bee
The Daily Ledger

Updated March 2012