Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sympathy Saturday - Passing of Ida B. Slesser, 1935, Memphis, Shelby Co., TN

A death certificate[1] reported the passing of Ida B. Slesser in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee on 5 January 1935. Information on the certificate was supplied by Mrs. J. L. Robertson, Ida's daughter, and Shields Abernathy, the attending physician. An image of the certificate and commentary follow:


In the year prior to her death, Ida was listed in the Memphis city directory living at 1980 Young Ave.[2] with her daughter Hallie Robertson.[3] Hallie (Mrs. J. L. Robertson) supplied the death certificate's personal information about Ida:
  • Residence: 1980 Young Ave.
  • Marital Status: Widowed
  • Wife of: [blank]
  • Birth date: 26 February 1862
  • Occupation: At home
  • Birthplace: Illinois
  • Father's name: William Sharp
  • Father's birthplace: Penna.
  • Mother's name: Delilah Neal
  • Mother's birthplace: Kentucky
Hallie would have had first hand knowledge about Ida's occupation, residence, and marital status, so those would be primary information items but the rest would be secondary. At the time of Ida's death, Hallie states that her address was also 1980 Young Ave.
This information about Ida's parents, birthplace and birth date, provides additional support for identifying Ida of Memphis, TN and Ida of Carrsville, KY[4], as the same person.
The attending physician, Shields Abernathy, M.D., had diagnosed Ida's illness as "acute intestinal obstruction" about 5 days before her death. He performed a colostomy which confirmed his diagnosis and also considered "general intra abdominal carcinosis" a contributory cause of her condition.

1. "Shelby County Death Records, 1848-1963," digital images, Shelby County Register of Deeds ( : accessed 15 December 2014); death certificate file no. 319, registration no. 245, Ida B. Slesser, 5 January 1935, Tennessee, State Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Nashville.
2. R. L. Polk & Co.'s Memphis City Directory (Memphis, Tenn.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1934), 880, entry for "Slesser, Ida B, Mrs"; digital images, "Archives: Shelby County Records, Memphis City Directories, 1849-1943," Shelby County Register of Deeds ( : accessed 11 Dec 2014).
3. Ibid., 820, entry for "Robertson, Hallie D".
4. 1920 U.S. census, Livingston County, Kentucky, population schedule, Magisterial District No. 5, town of Carrsville, enumeration district (ED) 119, sheet 1-B, dwelling 13, family 16, Ida Slesser; digital images, Internet Archive ( : accessed 16 Nov 2014), image 682; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 587. [See blog post: Census Sunday - Albert Slesser household, 1920 U.S. Census, Livingston Co., KY]