For today's Tombstone Tuesday post, I have chosen to tell the story of John Aring, my husband's great grandfather.
When my husband and I were first married, he told me that his grandmother had been adopted when she was a baby and the story was very confusing. It was something that wasn't discussed among the family members, and as a matter of fact, until I did some research, the story wasn't completely known. John and Lillian Aring adopted a little girl, the daughter of one of John's coworkers. Her birth name was Dorothea Marie, but they changed her name to Ruth. They were a happy family until the 22 day of December, 1916. For whatever reason, John had placed his .32 caliber revolver on a table in the family's living room. Little Ruth was curious as to how the gun worked. Lillian, thinking the gun was not loaded, picked up the revolver, put Ruth's hands on the gun and placed her hands on top of Ruth's. The gun went off and the bullet hit John in the stomach. Critically injured, he was taken to the hospital and emergency surgery was performed. His spleen was removed and he was expected to survive for at least a year. (At the time, it was thought that someone could not live without their spleen, according to the newspaper article about the shooting) On January 4, 1917, John took a turn for the worse and slipped into unconsciousness. He died at 3:47 pm. His death certificate states that the cause of death was acute dialation of the heart with contributory peritonitis caused by a penetrating bullet wound to the spleen. The certificate incorrectly states that he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, but he was instead laid to rest at Zion Cemetery in Kettering. Sadly, Lillian suffered a nervous breakdown after John's death and Ruth was placed in the Children's home off and on for several years. Ruth was somehow able to rise above all the pain of her childhood and she became a very strong woman and Lillian helped her raise her three children. They are both buried next to John at Zion Cemetery.