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New Jersey Obituaries - September 8, 1897 - Rachel A. (Gulick) and Stanley Gulick

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Mother And Child Dead

Mrs. Frank C. (Gulick) Watts And Her Infant Burned To Death

Mrs. Watts Was Filling the Tank in a Gasoline Stove and the Gasoline Caught Fire - She Had Her Infant in Her Arms at the Time

Mrs. Frank C. (Gulick) Watts of Monmouth street and her son Stanley, who is a little over a year old, were burned to death on Monday by the explosion of gasoline while Mrs. Watts was filling the tank of a gasoline stove. The stove was lighted at the time, but the gasoline tank was low, and Mrs. Watts did not think it was worth while to put the fire out while the tank was being refilled. About a year and a half ago a similar accident happened to Mrs. Watts, and that time she was quite severely burned on the back.

Monday's accident happened while Mrs. Watts was preparing breakfast. Mr. Watts had not yet got up. Mrs. Watts had gone downstairs and had taken the baby with her. She was expecting a party of eight persons from Asbury Park, and they and Mrs. Watts were to go out sailing. Mrs. Watts had prepared the lunch for the sailing party, and was completing the preparations for breakfast. The gasoline in the tank was low and Mrs. Watts, with the baby in her arms, set about refilling the tank. While she was doing this the gasoline caught fire. In a moment Mrs. Watts's clothing and that of the baby was in flames. Mrs. Watts ran into the room of Miss Mary Hance, who owns the house where the Watts family lived, and who occupied half the house. Mrs. Watts dropped the baby when she entered Mrs. Hance's rooms, and fell to the floor herself. Miss Hance screamed and Mr. Watts came hurrying downstairs. He rushed into the room and on catching sight of his wife, who was lying on the floor, he seized a pail of water and threw it over her. Then he rolled her in a carpet and this extinguished the flames.

When the carpet was unrolled large patches of flesh adhered to it. Almost all Mrs. Watts's clothing had been burned away, the only parts remaining on the body when the carpet was unrolled being a neckband, a corset and a band about the waist. Every part of her body was burned except a small place on the breast, where she had held the baby.

The baby's finger nails and toe nails were burned off, and a piece was burned out of its nose and face. Its legs were also burned, and it was considerably burned about the body. The carpet and floor in Miss Hance's room caught fire, but this was quickly put out.

Mrs. Watts's first thought, after the flames had been extinguished was for her baby. She knew that she had been fatally burned, and she gave directions for preparing the baby's food. She told her mother-in-law, Mrs. E. M. Watts, who had been summoned to her bedside, that she knew she would die, and when cautioned not to talk much, she said she wanted to tell them about the child, because in a short time she would not be able to do so. She said that she felt no pain, except a stiffness. She expressed a hope that the baby would die also, as soon as she learned the extent of its injuries, and knew that it would be maimed for life if it should recover.

Mrs. Watts lingered until half-past one o'clock, when she died. She was conscious almost up to the time of her death. Her last words were to take good care of the baby if he should live. The baby did not die until seven o'clock on Monday night.

Mrs. Watts was formerly Miss Rachel Gulick of Middletown. She was a daughter of J. D. Gulick and was for several years a teacher in the Red Bank public school. She was 32 years old.

The funeral will be held to-morrow afternoon at one o'clock.

Death Notice: At Red Bank, on Monday, September 5th, Rachel A., wife of Frank C. Watts, aged 32 years.

Death Notice: At Red Bank, on Monday, September 5th, Stanley Gulick, son of Frank C. Watts, aged 1 year and 4 months.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, September 8, 1897

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