This blog post is part of the Donohoo Descendancy Project. Sarah (Thornbury) Donohoo was the wife of Patrick Donohoo and the mother of nine children.


Patrick and Sarah had been married for 44 years by the time of the 1850 U.S. Census. The family consisted of 9 children (7 living), and 18 grandchildren by this time, all living in the Bardstown, Kentucky area. Both Patrick and Sarah were enumerated at age 64 [1]. By the 1860 U.S. Census, Sarah no longer appeared in Patrick’s household [2].
Due to her advancing age, a search for a death record was first on the to do list when she did not appear in the census. An index search of the Nelson County Death Records for 1852-1953, yielded nothing for Sarah Donohoo. However, a page by page search through the time period of 1852-1860 showed an incomplete record for a Donohoo, married female, resident of Bardstown, dying of psoas abscess in January 1853 [3]. This record, while compelling, could not confirm the death of Sarah Donohoo.

A newspaper search in the Bardstown Herald for Sarah Donohoo in the 1850-1860 time range provided a confirming article:
January 20, 1853

"There have been two deaths from
Erysipelas in town since our last issue, Mr.
Lucius Melvin and Mrs. Donohoo, wife of
Mr. Patrick Donohoo. There are several
cases still on hand, but no new ones so
far as we have heard. In that part of the
county between Bardstown and Bloomfield,
which has been so severely afflicted, we un-
derstand that the disease has greatly abated."
The article does not give her first name, but states she was the wife of Patrick Donohoo (the only Patrick Donohoo in town). It confirms the death date in January 1853 [4]. The death cause is different in each document, however the causes could be related to the same condition:
Erysipelas results from a streptococcus bacterial infection, as does psoas abscess. Erysipelas typically causes painful red skin rashes on the extremities, and is nicknamed St. Anthony’s fire [5]. Psoas abscess is a deeper infection of the streptococcus, usually in the lower back and upper thigh in the psoas muscle [6]. This condition is also very painful. It is very likely that Sarah progressed from erysipelas of the skin to the deeper psoas abscess from the same infection, especially at her advanced age of 67.
Sarah (Thornbury) Donohoo died weeks before her 47th wedding anniversary. She left behind a husband, 7 living children and 18 grandchildren.

Research Sources:
[1] U.S. Census Year: 1850; Census Place: District 2, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M432_215; Page: 386A; Image: 229. Source Information Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[2] U.S. Census Year: 1860; Census Place: District 1, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M653_389; Page: 189; Image: 189; Family History Library Film: 803389. Source Information Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
[3] Nelson County, Kentucky, death records : 1852 thru 1857, 1859, 1861, 1874 thru 1878, 1904, 1907. by Frances Terry Ingmire. St. Louis, Missouri : F.T. Ingmire, c1983. Kentucky vital records. Series 3; v. 90. Family History Library 976.9495 V2ing United States & Canada Book.
[4] Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm ‎(1852-1910)‎. Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
[5] “Erysipelas.” Wikipedia.org (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erysipelas): accessed 23 November 2014.
[6] A. Pasbjerg, “What are the Symptoms of Psoas Abscess?” WiseGeekHealth.com