The greatest age

  • Thread starter Colin W. Montgomery
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Brandon McKinney

Brandon McKinney

Member
There's also another thing to say about the cemetary in your area, Colin. There was a shorter lifespan at the time, but there probably were certain areas geographically lucky that were in the right areas to avoid some diseases that are geographically limited to certain environments (Florida, as I said, probably had malaria, and also cholera as something common.) Your area may have been in the right zone to have relatively fewer diseases than say, a town in Florida in 1880.

This theory of mine though, is based on guesswork unfortunately, but considering that a lot of diseases then originated from insects or dirty water, I guess it can work.
 
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Colin W. Montgomery

Member
The whole point of my cemetary post was to show that People could live just as long as today and that it was more common than you think. As for the cemetary being an inaccurate judge I disagree. The historians who gave tours of it said cemetaries are among the best tools for gauging the past. The graves are in excellent condition, and are clearly legible. Here is one from the Rev, John C. Boyd:

"J.C. Boyd
1833-1903
Pastor of
ST. Clair Church"

and another for Charles Abbott:

"Carl Abbott
1823-1911"
And yet another:

"James T. Couch
Gone Home!
1839-1930"

I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the industrial capital of the world then.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>The whole point of my cemetary post was to show that People could live just as long as today and that it was more common than you think.<<

And the point of the responses to this claim is "It ain't necesserily so." Remember, that for every grave that's marked, there are literally dozens which are not. I don't think you'll see that anyone doubts that people could live as long if not longer then some today, but it doesn't follow from this that everybody did.

>>The historians who gave tours of it said cemetaries are among the best tools for gauging the past.<<

They are? I wouldn't be so sure of that. While some may be tops in their fields, you might want to check out their credentials, published works, and how those works stood up to the inevitable rebuttals and criticisms that follow. Above all, be wary of the logical fallacy of Arguement from/Appeal to Authority.

If you want useful tools for gauging the past, you'll have to do much better then checking out the local cemetaries and some of the tourguides. You also need to check out the statistics which can be obtained at local, state, and national records archives, being mindful of the fact that the lower overall life expectancy then was determined from the average ages of death for the population as a whole. There are reasons for the lower overall life expectancy.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
I don't think that anyone is disputing that people could live as long as today. However, you have to look at those lifespans in the context of over-all life expectation. As can be readily demonstrated, the average life expectancy was considerably lower.

Cemeteries do tell us a lot about past ages, just as most burial sites do. I've visited cemetaries all over the world as part of my research...from the wonderful Highgate Cemetery in North London (just down the road from where I lived) to finding the Moody headstone in Scarborough. I've spent hours wandering around one of York's largest, most historically signifigant cemeteries with two friends with Doctorates in history, one of whom gave formal tours of the cemetery as well. My fascination with burial grounds goes back to childhood - a friend's partner thought it tremendously amusing, and if he thought I was grumbling too much on road trips would point out the cemeteries to cheer me up. No trip to Dublin is complete with out a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery...I don't think there's any place on earth that holds a greater concentration of fascianting figures. But it is important to remember that cemeteries don't necessarily give us the complete picture - not even about longevity or prosperity. When other records exist - and for the period you're talking about, they do - we have to take them into account as well. The record left by tombstones is only one part of the picture.
 
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Christa Erin Pereira

Member
Heya all.

This is kinda on the subject you began with but maybe not so with all of the cemetery talk.

We often talk about the inventions and illnesses and things like that but I was wondering about the 'isms' of a society. Things like racism, classism, gender issues. I was wondering if you can give me some idea of the kind of thoughts an Edwardian person might have.

In my lecture yesterday my tutor was saying how there never used to be the word homosexual. That kinda spun me out because how would you describe something without a word for it? It seems that a person wasn't 'a homosexual' as such but was a 'normal' person who indulged in such acts. And an added note is that the word heterosexual came after homosexual - doesn't this make you think?

Anyway, the point for my questioning is because we're working on character development at uni and my characters set in other times seem to have a very modern perspective of their time. I need to know a little of their vices in order to make them well rounded people. And who better to ask than you guys?
 
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