A Hand-drawn Birth Record


This hand-drawn birth record is an example of fraktur,1 a Pensylvania German folk art tradition. In addition to recording that Ahab Christopher Trumbo was born March 13th, 1836, it adds words of advice to a young man in selecting a wife.

Ahab Christopher was the son of Jacob Trumbo III and his wife, Elizabeth Snyder. He was born in Brock’s Gap, Rockingham county, Virginia, and came to Illinois with his family in 1853. The family settled in Dayton township, on Buck Creek. Christopher married Fidelia Kagy January 28, 1869 in Ottawa. They had one child, who died in infancy. Christopher died of consumption in October, 1869, at the age of 33, and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois. Note that his obituary says that he died on October 22nd. However, his mother’s family Bible gives the date of his death as October 10


Christopher Trumbo

In the village of Dayton, October 22d, 1869, A. C. TRUMBO, age 33 years.

The subject of this notice was a native of Rockingham county, Virginia, but for several years a resident of the town of Dayton. He was one of our most exemplary young men, and his loss will long be felt by a large circle of relatives and friends. Behind his modest bearing he concealed sterling qualities of mind and heart, – accurate judgment, inflexible devotion to principle, warm, affectionate, exceeding purity of heart and character. He was at an early age marked by the fell destroyer consumption. He leaves a young wife and an aged mother, who but a few days since was notified of the death of her son W. B. T., who had recently returned to Virginia to recruit his failing health. The funeral services of both of her sons will take place at her house on Sunday, the 24th inst, at 10 o’clock a. m., by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, of Putnam county. Thus, in the short space of five weeks, has this aged mother been bereft of two noble, high minded young men, just in the prime of life. She has a hope both sure and steadfast, that what is her apparent loss is their gain.2

  1. For more information on fraktur, see http://frakturweb.org/
  2. Ottawa Free Trader, October 23, 1869, p. 5, col. 3.

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