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.

James B. Garrison Death

State of New Jersey – Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate and Record of Death

Full Name of Deceased: James B. Garrison
Age: 72 Years
Color: white
Occupation: Laborer
Birthplace: N.J.
Last Place of Residence: 163 Fayette St Bridgeton
How long resident in this State: Always
Place of Death: 163 Fayette St Bridgeton
[Father and Mother’s names & birthplaces left blank]
I hereby certify that I attended the deceased during the last illness and that he died on the 11 day of April 1908…
[Doctor’s name indecipherable]
Name of Undertaker: Harry Garrison
Residence of Undertaker: Bridgeton
Place of Burial: Broad St Cemetery

Emma M. Garrison Death

Department of Health of the State of New Jersey
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate and Record of Death

1. Place of Death
County: Cumberland
City: Bridgeton
2. Full name: Emma M. Garrison
(a) Residence: No. 163 Fayette St 3 Ward
3. Sex: female
4. Color or Race: white
5. widowed
5a. Husband: James B. Garrison
6. Date of Birth: Jan 21 1839
7. Age: 83 Years 7 Months 18 Days
8. Occupation: Housewife / home
9. Birthplace: N. Jersey
10. Name of Father: Anson Ireland
11. Birthplace of Father: N.J.
12. Maiden name of Mother: Elizabeth Ayars
13. Birthplace of Mother: N.J.
14. Informant: George Garrison, Bridgeton, NJ
15. Filed Sept 11, 1922
16. Date of Death: 9/8 1922

19. Place of Burial: Broad St Cemetery, Sept 11 1922
20. Undertaker: Harry J. Garrison, Bridgeton