Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Which Ancestor Lived the Shortest Life?

October is rolling along and it’s time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

This week’s challenge is an interesting one:

1)  Which of your known ancestors lived the shortest life?  Consider only the last eight generations and those ancestors with a known birth and death date.  Do you know the cause of death?  Was there an obituary?  How many children did s/he have?  How did you figure this out?
I actually knew this off the top of my head.
My ancestors who lived the shortest lives were Oliver Shepley and wife Mary Lakin. I’m including them both because, although there death records say they died from fever, there is no specific type of illness mentioned. Many years ago, back in 2014, I researched this and wrote about a pestilence that swept through Pepperell in the summer of 1757.
Given that they were both in their young 20s and they died within five days of each other, I believe they died from this pestilence.
Oliver Shepley was born 18 January 1735 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts and died 11 August 1757 in Pepperell, Middlesex, Massachusetts, aged 22 years, 6 months and 23 days.
His wife, Mary Lakin, was born 26 April 1734, also in Groton and predeceased Oliver by five days, dying on 6 August 1757, aged 23 years, 3 months and ten days.
They were the parents of one toddler, my ancestress, Sibbel Shepley, born 19 September 1755 in Groton.
Given the typical birth pattern of a child every two years, I believe that it is very likely that Mary was well along in her second pregnancy when she died and the baby died with her.
Technically, Oliver is my shortest lived ancestor, but Mary is in second place, not places I imagine either one of them wanted to be!
Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge. I’m glad I knew the answer without looking it up because I didn’t fancy reading through page by page as you did.

One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Which Ancestor Lived the Shortest Life?”

  1. Reading your post, I learned a new word that I had to look up. Pestilence still doesn’t say what the illness was, though. Seems like it’s a typical epidemic. How sad.

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