By Don Taylor
In the News” is my reporting of discovered newspaper articles and advertising regarding ancestors I am researching. Judith (Ligon) Pankey is the first wife of my wife’s third great uncle, Thomas Armstrong Pankey. She and Thomas were married on 27 January 1825, and Judith died on 14 January 1826, less than a year later. Her death was clearly a blow to the family.
This week from the Enquirer (Richmond, VA) dated Tuesday, 7 February 1826, (Vol: XXII, Issue: 88) Page 3, “Mortuary Notice.”
DIED] — on the 14th instant, in the 17th year of her age, Mrs. Judith S, wife of Thomas Pankey, jr. of Cumberland. In the death of Mrs. P. the heart of every friend must mourn the loss of one, in whom are united in no ordinary degree all those virtues which adorn the female character, which rendes her name to the memory of those whom she has left. There are indeed but few, who have carried with them through life and borne with them to the tomb, a greater share of those attractions which bind together human hearts, and lay the foundation of all that deserves the name of friendship. As a daughter, wife, and friend, she was all that is implied in those endearing relations. Deep and painful is that bereavement which is felt by all to whom she was connected; but while they mourn over the memory of one so much endeared to their hearts, they do not mourn “as those who have no hope.” They cannot but find sweet consolation when they bring to recollection the many indubitable assurances which were given in the closing scene of life, that “for” her “to die were gain.” Her trust was in her Saviour—to him as her Redeemer, she has resigned her immortal interests, and in all the triumph of Faith and Hope she left the world with the assurance that he would “kee that which she had committed to his hands.” Those who stood around her dying bed, could not but realise, that
“The chamber where the Christian meets his end
“is privileg’d beyond the common walks of life.”
“Instant” in obituaries means the present or current month. In this case, the newspaper published the notice on 7 February, so “14th instant” must be referring to January. I suspect the obituary was written late in January and didn’t make the paper in January, and the “instant” was not changed to “ultimo” (the previous month).
If Judith was 17 when she died in 1826, she was born in 1808 or 1809. If she were in the 17th year of her life, she would have been born in 1809 or 1810. Because I am not entirely sure what was meant by “17th year of her age,” I’ve decided to identify her birth as between 1808 and 1810.