Friday, December 24, 2010

A sad end to a colorful life

As I was browsing around for something to add to the Henderson Reunion website yesterday, I came across the newspaper obituary of my Great-Great-Grandfather Soren Peter Guhl. I've written about him before (click here), noting his ... um, eccentricities. But for some reason I was not quite prepared for the story of his death, told by a newspaper writer in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where Soren had returned after his divorce from our Great-Great-Grandmother Mariane Madsen Christensen Guhl and his association with the Morrisite sect in Utah (and, perhaps, Soda Springs, Idaho).

Soren, of course, was the father of Nancy Lena Guhl, who was the mother of Mary Anne McIntosh, who married David Monroe Henderson.

I've added the text of the obituary to the Soren page on the family website, but will reprint it here. In order to place it into context, though, it would do you well to read the story from start to finish on the Soren page.

Death of Dr. Guhl

Dr. S.P. Guhl, an eclectic physician who had been living in Council Bluffs for some years past, died at his room, in the house at the corner of Broadway and Sixth Street, about 12 o’clock on Thursday night. The deceased, who had been a hard drinker for years, was taken quite sick a few days ago, and repaired to his room where he died, as stated, on Thursday night, friendless and alone.

Dr. Guhl came to Council Bluffs from Utah, where his wife and two daughters still reside. Not living happily with his wife he separated from her several years ago and came to Council Bluffs, residing with his aged mother until her death a year or two ago. During his residence here, the doctor was more or less interested in the labor movement, and in his sober moments was a man of considerable ability and force, but he was the victim of man’s greatest enemy, and during the last few years was bordering on imbecility. He was a man of about 50 years of age at the time of his death.

Among his effects was found a letter from his two daughters, which was dated at Clover Creek, Utah, January 16, 1881. This joint letter was well written and contained many terms of endearment. The photographs of the daughters, Mary and Lena, were enclosed in the letter. They are the pictures of two quite prepossessing young women, of intelligent countenances, and evidently bright girls.

The remains were taken charge of by Undertaker Morgan and were yesterday afternoon buried in the pottersfield by the county.

This may be a bit of a downer for Christmas Eve -- not "may be," it "is most definitely" -- but I wanted to share it anyway. And I will try to track down some more information on Mariane, as well, for a future posting and a page dedicated to her.