Deathbed Care in 1869

This image comes from part of an expense submission by John Herbert to the estate of Michael Trautvetter, probated in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1869. Herbert’s wife was actually Michael’s niece.

Herbert was allowed $4.50 per day for taking care of Trautvetter in his final illness. I’m not certain if there was a table of rates the court used or not. Interestingly enough, just for comparison, the refreshments at the wake were $4.75–just about the same as the per day allowance for care.

So to put that in modern terms, the refreshments at the funeral cost about as much as a one-day stay in the nursing home (smirk).

When someone getting paid for “end of life care” in the days before nursing homes, I always try and determine who that person actually was. In some cases, there’s a connection between the two either by birth, marriage, or common heritage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.