Obituary of the Misunderstood

The obituary for my great-great-grandfather, James B. Garrison, ends on a sort of backhanded compliment, which makes me more curious about him actually. That and the report on his pension file that said he had a scar on his back from getting hit with an axe when young. Was it an accident? Did someone whack him on purpose? How serious was the cut from that axe blade? I haven’t found that in the paper yet, but here is his obituary:

After an illness covering nearly six years, James B. Garrison died at his home on Fayette street on Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock, aged 72 years. The end came peacefully and relieved the patient from the suffering of his long illness. Mr. Garrison was a veteran of the Civil War 1, having served with honor. He was the oldest employee of the Bridgeton Gas Light Company, having worked in the retort house 2 at their plant for over thirty years. For a number of years he had the record of never losing an hour of his working time. Nearly six years ago he gave up his position on account of an illness that seemed to baffle physicians. By many he was misunderstood, but beneath the exterior there beat a heart that contained warmth and affection, and he will be missed by all who knew him in his daily living. He leaves a wife 3 and several children all of whom are grown.

Bridgeton Evening News, April 13, 1908, page 3.

1. Private, Co. H, 3rd Regiment, NJ Volunteers Cavalry.
2. Retort house is the building where coal was heated to manufacture gas. (
3. His wife, Emma M. Garrison, daughter of Ansel Irelan and Elizabeth Ayars, passed away in 1922.

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