Blair Family Fiction

In the span of a heartbeat…

Dear Rosa,

How close I came to never being born, how stunning that in the span of a heartbeat, one life ended and sent another onto a different journey.

Genealogy can be very dry, very boring stuff. I’ve watched my children’s eyes glass over when I make a new discovery. It’s only when I put that discovery in perspective that they understand.

This is important, what I’m doing. It means something, if only to me.

So, in typical Sue-fashion, I’ll share that little discovery in the form of a story.

A preface; I’m sorry for the sadness, and I don’t mean to be morose, truly, it’s just so damned rotten that this had to happen…


Henry Lucius Ferry rubbed his face, trying to restore calm when all he really wanted to do was scream. To say it’d been a long, dreadful three days would be such an understatement as to cause a man to lose control. And control was all he had left.

Calamity had struck his new family. He watched his wife of one year, a lovely woman of but twenty-six, Blanche Adams struggle through every breath. He listened to each one and prayed it would be followed by another. Come morning of the third day, Henry sensed a shift in her spirit and had sent for the doctor once again.

Damn it, isn’t one death enough? He thought and stifled that scream. Lawrence, his child, had died in his arms. The infant would never grow up, never know his father or mother, never know how much he was loved. And Blanche, his Blanche, now lay struggling from exhaustion. The birth, it seemed, would cost another…

Henry turned at the sound of the door opening, grateful to see it was the doctor, hopeful the man would find a way to restore his wife, or at least bring comfort as she died.

This was Henry’s time of trial and one so many others had faced. So why did he feel so numb? And how would he carry on, alone, with promises unkept and memories not created?

She left him then, he sensed it. Heard that last breath and knew another would not follow.  Perhaps losing Lawrence had been too large a shock.

Henry looked at his wife’s face, suddenly peaceful and sent a prayer windward:

May you hold our son,

know love and joy instead of this brutal heartache;

May the two of you suffer no more.


Here are just the facts as I learned only today:

Henry Lucius Ferry married Blanche D. Adams on June 1, 1909

Lawrence Ferry was born on December 14, 1910 and died December 14, 1910

Blanche Adams died on December 17, 1910 due to “exhaustion from prolonged labor”

After Blanche died, Henry married Mary Julia Blair, my grandmother and they bore eight children. One of them, the youngest, was my father, Henry Ferry.


16 thoughts on “In the span of a heartbeat…

  1. Sue I am so far behind on my reading.Haven’t had the computer on and now I have today off and am trying to catch up.This story is so heartbreaking.I guess it was meant to be of we wouldn’t have had you and I am sure glad we do.I just love reading your stuff.And by the way I love the new look of the blog too.

    1. Hi Liz- I certainly understand about life getting in the way! For shame on us! Still, it is lovely to hear from you and thank you for the sweet comment.
      Hope you are well-

  2. sometimes just the fact that we exsist at all is amazing. As always you have taken a few simple facts and turned them into a touching truely relatable story. Bravo I can’t wait to read the next

  3. What starts out as so sad and morose ends with beauty and love. Women (and men) had such difficulties then with childbirth..
    How wonderful Henry found love and life once more..
    very haunting write, Sue!!

    1. my youngest is encouraging me to shift gears – but finding this and Rosa’s marker last week has just blown me away.
      She’s right though – it is getting time to find the joy, too.
      Nice to hear from you Lynne, I can only imagine how busy you are!

      1. Yesterday I did find time, I finally made it back to a watercolor class, where I promptly felt like I forgot what to do. haha
        But the time just spent there soaking up the creative juices of the others and just picking up the brush and doing something helped!

      2. Those are precious moments in the midst of the chaos of moving. I’m so glad you found one – and hope for many more once you get settled! Can’t wait to see some other paintings? Maybe you could post a few sometime? No pressure…

      1. Why thank you! I’ll take that complement and return it. I like your writing because your stories flow so smoothly. You make it look easy (though we all know it takes tremendous effort.)

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