The Death and Funeral of Charles Senecal - Amanuensis Monday

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at
Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

I learned of the circumstances of Charles Senecal's death as I was doing some research for a genealogy friend of mine. Charles Senecal was my friend's great-uncle and his wife Josephine was my grandfather Frank Shenette's sister. My friend's understanding was that Charles was a fireman and had died in a fire. Interestingly, both things were true, however he was not a fireman as we might think of a fireman today. He was a fireman who worked with boilers. This discovery was a surprise to both of us, and taught me valuable lesson. Job descriptions have changed over the years. What you think might be someone's occupation according to today's standards might actually be something very different given the standards of the day. A side note, Charles sister, the Mrs. Thomas Shenett mentioned, was my grandfather Frank Shenette's sister-in-law. She was married to Frank's brother Thomas.

St. Albans Daily Messenger. Tuesday, April 18, 1905, p 7.



Details of Accident Which Resulted in His Death.

The body of Charles Senecal, who died Sunday in the city hospital in Worcester, Mass., arrived in this city on the 4:55 o'clock train this morning and was taken to the residence of his sister, Mrs. Thomas Shenett, of Elm st. The body was accompanied by Mr. Senecal's brother, Michael Senecal of Worcester. Mr. Senecal is survived by his wife, a year-old-son, his mother, Mrs. Lucy Senecal, of this city, and one sister, Mrs. Thomas Shenett, of this city. The f[u]neral will be held at 9 o'clock to-morrow morning at the Holy Angels church. The burial will be in the Mount Calvary cemetery.

Following is an account of the accident to Charles Senecal, of Worcester, Mass., which caused his death. Mr. Senecal as noted in last night's Messenger died Saturday at the City hospital in Worcester, Mass., and the account of the accident is taken from a Worcester paper:

"Charles Senecal, thirty-one years old, engineer at the Baker Lumber Co., 26 North Foster st., was severely burned on both legs and around his waist, while at work cleaning a boiler. He was taken to City hospital in a police ambulance.

"His wife is at the hospital, recovering from an operation which was performed last week. It is thought that she is now out of danger.

"Senecal had taken out the grate and lining of the boiler, and the fire had been dumped, when, according to his story to the police, he ordered his helper to fill the ash pit with water. He donned a pair of old shoes and trousers and went to the boiler to get into the ash pit and clean out the bottom of the boiler.

"He said he thought the pit had been filled with water, and that the ashes were cold. He jumped into the pit into hot water and hot ashes up to his waist. He was hauled out by his helper, suffering severely from burns which covered his waist and legs to his feet.

"A police ambulance was called, and officer Oliver Blake and driver Edward Wilson covered the man's burns with carron oil, which relieved the pain, and hurried him to City hospital.

"Senecal said that not as much water had been turned into the pit as he had thought, and that the ashes were not cooled as much as he believed they would be.

"When he got to the hospital, his first questions were for the condition of his wife, and this appeared to trouble him more than his own injuries. He felt better when he found his wife was in a comfortable condition. They live at 16 Bancroft st.."

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1 comment:

Barbara Poole said...

How tragic. What a nice person to inquire about his wife, when he was in such pain, the pain is something I can't even imagine. Sad for the wife too.