Friday, 20 February 2015

Janet McKenzie Sparling (1892-1922)

This blog post tells the sad and gruesome details of the deaths of Janet and Hubert Sparling.  Janet was the sixth child of Janet Henry and William McKenzie and the granddaughter of our mutual ancestor, Mary Tait Henry.  The daughter Janet was born on her parents' farm north of Oak River and went on to marry a neighbour, Hubert Sparling in 1914. The Rootsweb site was the source for the following newspaper articles: 

>From the Oak River Post, Oak River, MB OBITUARY MRS. HUBERT A. SPARLING 
Early on Monday morning, August 7th, Mrs. Hubert A. SPARLING passed away a few hours after giving birth to a little daughter. The late Mrs. SPARLING was the daughter (Janet) of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. R. MC KENZIE of this district, having been born here on October 2nd, 1892. She was married on July 22nd, 1914, and in addition to her husband and the daughter born on the day of her death, is survived by a little daughter, Leila, seven years old, her parents, four brothers, John, William Eddie and Russell, all of Oak River, and three sisters, Mrs. T. DAVIES of Brandon, and Mrs. T. HAYHURST and Miss Bessie, of Oak River. The funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon to the White Bank Lea cemetery, following a service at the house at one o'clock. Rev. D. B. KENNEDY officiated. The pall-bearers were W. K. DELAMATER, Robt. DELAMATER, F. D. MC DONALD, Frank MILLER, T. PAXTON and W. F. SHORT. A large number of friends and neighbors were in attendance, and many beautiful floral offerings adorned the casket. The late Mrs. SPARLING will be sadly missed by her husband and relatives, and the memory of one who in bringing a new life into the world sacrificed her own will long be cherished by her many friends. The sympathy of the community is extended to the stricken family in their sad bereavement.

This was not the end of grief and sadness that year for the McKenzie and Sparling families.

>From the Oak River Post, Oak River, MB HUBERT A. SPARLING TAKES OWN LIFE 
Unable to Live Without Deceased Wife, Respected young Man Ends Life with Shotgun TRAGEDY SHOCKS COMMUNITY The community was shocked beyond expression on Sunday evening last to learn of the self-inflicted death of Hubert A. SPARLING, a well known and highly respected young widower, living three miles northeast of Oak River. The late Mr. SPARLING married Miss Janet MC KENZIE on July 22nd, 1914. She predeceased him on August 7th of this year, following the birth of their second child. They had always been particularly fond of each other and spent all the time possible in each other's company, nightfall rarely finding them apart. When his wife died, Mr. SPARLING was broken-hearted and he never became fully reconcilled to his fate.
Particularly graphic details (by our present day standards)  of Hubert's suicide were printed in the Oak River Post and can be found online here, should you wish to read them.   

 He left a message addressed to relatives directing the disposal of his estate and stating that he could not stand the strain of being separated from his wife. Dr. J. S. STEWART, coroner, viewed the remains shortly after the discovery. He pronounced the cause of death as suicide, and decided no inquest necessary, the posture of the body, the position of the weapon and other circumstances, precluding any other theory. In his opinion the fatality occurred at about 5 p.m. The funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon to the White Bank Lea cemetery, where deceased was laid beside his wife. Rev. D. B. KENNEDY conducted services at the house and the grave. The Oak River Odd Fellow Lodge, of which deceased was a member, attended in a body, and read their burial service at the grave. The bearers were R. DELAMATER, W. K. DELAMATER, Frank MC DONALD, W. F. SHORT, F. MILLER and T. PAXTON. A large number of people were present. The late Mr. SPARLING was born at Austin, Man., on November 19, 1888. He leaves to mourn him two little daughters, an aged mother, and several brothers and sisters including Mrs. W. K. DELAMATER and C. G. SPARLING of Oak River.

Janet was only 30 years old and Hubert was 33 when they died.  A sad story indeed to go with their elegant white gravestone at Whitebank Lea Cemetery .

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I found your blog during a search for my mother Elizabeth Jane Sparling, orphaned daughter of Janet and Hubert. Thank you for the photograph of the gravestone.