Tragic Death of Dr. Charles M. Cawood in 1894

A Shocking Death.  Dr. Chas. M. Cawood Dies from the Effect of Chloroform Administered Preparatory to a Surgical Operation for Tuberculosis in the Ankle Joint

The shocking intelligence became known last night that Dr. Chas. M. Cawood, son of Dr. J. C. Cawood, died at his residence, 157 Scott Street, North Knoxville.

It appears the deceased had for sometime been a sufferer from tuberculosis of the left ankle joint and an operation was found necessary.  Accordingly his father, the dean of the Tennessee medical college, Dr. Drake, Dr. C. Deaderick and Dr. Ben Cates assembled at 4 o’clock last evening to perform the operation called aspiration of the joint, in other words to draw liquid from the affected joint.

After some consultation at which the deceased’s brother Robert was also present, it was decided to administer chloroform and perform the operation.  Scarcely had the chloroform been applied when the patient stopped the work, saying it made him sick and he proceeded to vomit freely.  He then sank back on the pillow and died instantly.  His heart stopped beating even before his breathing ceased.

The situation was a peculiarly sad one.  The father became overwhelmed with grief.  Ordinarily it would have been an occasion of embarrassment but the physicians are among the most skillful in the profession.  They knew, especially the father, all the weak points of the patient and governed themselves accordingly.  Yet it is one of those exceptional cases known to the profession where unexpected results happen.

The deceased was about thirty-one years of age and was born in Jefferson County.  He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and then took up the profession of his father and had acquired an excellent practice for one of his age.

Some three years ago he had married the handsome and accomplished daughter of H. G. Mead, and their marriage has been blessed with one child.  The bereaved wife has many friends who will share her sorrow with her.  About two years ago the deceased built one of the prettiest houses in Knoxville, on Scott street, where a superb view of the city and mountains is presented, and it seems hard to see a young man thus stricken down in the midst of such splendid promises as laid before this one.

A great many people of the city will know who the deceased was from the fact that he served a term as city physician and resigned because of having moved out of the corporation.  Dr. Overton the present city physician succeeded him.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, April 8, 1894, page 5


Funeral Services

The funeral services of Dr. Chas. M. Cawood will take place from his late residence on Scott street to-day, Monday, at two p.m., conducted by Rev. E. A. Elmore.  Interment at Gray cemetry [sic] with Masonic honors.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, April 9, 1894, page 8


Dr. Charles Cawood’s Funeral.  An Immense Concourse of Grief-stricken Friends Were Present

The funeral services of Dr. Chas. M. Cawood yesterday afternoon was attended by one of the largest concourses of people ever witnessed in this city.

The splendid residence which the deceased had built would hold only a very small portion of those in attendance.  The services were conducted by the Rev. Elmore, pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian church, and his words made a deep impression on those who could hear him.

The floral offers were many and of wondrous beauty, lilies predominating, and some of the designs were of exquisite make.

The funeral was one of the most pathetic occasions, and the grief of the young widow and of the parents commanded the deepest sympathy of the great assembly of friends present.

The procession to the grave numbered a great multitude and the parting scene at the grave again brought tears to hundreds of eyes.  The grave was buried with flowers, the grief stricken widow herself laying a lovely pillow of flowers, though so exhausted she could scarcely stand.

The burial was according to the masonic ritual, there being a large attendance of that order.

The Knox county medical society also attended in a body.

Resolutions of Respect

Hall of Pi Chapter, Kappa Alpha Fraternity, University of Tennessee

Whereas, It has pleased the omnipotent God in His wisdom to enter the ranks of Kappa Alpha and to summon to his final home our beloved brother, Dr Chas. M. Cawood, we, the members of Pi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha order, in token of our love and in remembrance of him, do hereby

Resolve, That in his death, although we bow in humble submission to the will of the Almighty, we have sustained an irreparable loss;

2.  That in his death Pi loses an enthusiastic alumnus and a man who was an honor to the order;

3.  That to his bereaved family we extend our heartfelt sympathy;

4.  That we wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days;

5.  That a copy of these resolutions be published in the Kappa Alpha Journal, a copy to be sent to his bereaved family, and published in the papers of Knoxville.

Hu Innes Burt,
Canie N. Brown, Jr.,
Chas. Huff Davis,

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, April 10, 1894, page 5


In Memoriam.  A Tribute to the Memory of Charles M. Cawood, M. D.

At a called meeting of the Knox county medical society, April 9th, 1894, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

Whereas, In the dispensation of an allwise [sic] and most merciful Providence, who in ever manifesting watchful care and love, our fraternal associate, Dr. Chalres Meigs Cawood, who departed this life April 7th, 1894, has been apparently so untimely taken from us, and

Whereas, In the midst of man’s most earnest efforts, attended with the most solicitous caution, to overcome disease and restore health, God directs the issue; and,

Whereas, Dr. C. M. Cawood was a gentleman of upright bearing, modest demeanor and refined sensibilities — a man mild in word and strong in action, possessing in the highest degree a sunny temperament and happy disposition, which rendered him universally popular with those who knew him; a retiring man, and yet one who made his presence felt in all circles by virtue of the benevolence which characterized every thought, every look, every word; a man of dignity, a brave man, a conscientious man, a man courteous and kind always, a man endowed with the most delicate sense of honor, allowing no plausible expediency to ever delude him from inflexible principle; resolute in the discharge of every duty, faithful in his devotion to the cause of a friend, unswerving in his charity to the faults and weaknesses of his fellow-man and unfaltering in his fidelity to the manifold obligations involved in those tenderer ties which made him the idol of his happy home.

As a son, he was dutiful and affectionate.  As a brother, he was companionable and kind.  As a husband, he was devoted and true.  As a father he was loving and tender.

Therefore, Be it resolved, that in this early termination of a well-rounded manhood, the medical profession sustains a loss keenly appreciable to every representative who was fortunate enough to now him, and profit by his splendid knowledge, his high sense of ethical propriety, and the Christian spirit which characterized his professional work.

Resolved, that the community of both high and low degree, has lost a friend in whom confidence, when once reposed, was neither lost nor betrayed; and in whom the desire to relieve distress was of too lofty a character to permit the cry for mercy to pass unheeded.

Resolved, That in this supreme bereavement, which overwhelms his loved ones, we — his friends and associates — do herewith tender them the assurance of our sincerest sympathy and love, and reverently bid each

Look up,
Oh, mourner at the tomb:  The dead shall live again
And as the flower, called by the voice of Spring
Bursts from the cold, dark sod, so shall
The loved and beautiful awaken from
The silent grave at voice Omnipotent
To live forever, Jesus is the hope.
The consolation.  Lo! beside thee at
The tearful grave He stands and says
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

Resolved, That these resolutions be spread upon the records of this society, and that a copy thereof be sent to the family of the deceased; and that they be given to the local daily papers for publication.  Respectfully submitted.

B. D. Bosworth,
J. M. Masters,
D. H. Williams

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, April 15, 1894, page 3


Transcriber’s Notes, gleaned from on-line family tree information:

Charles Meigs Cawood was born June 21, 1864, in Tennessee, the son of Jefferson Campbell Cawood and Ann E. Eastham.  He married Rosa Mary Mead on June 10, 1891, in Blount County, TN.  Their daughter, Lucile Mead Cawood, was born in 1892.  Their daughter, Mary Charles Cawood, was born almost six months to the day following her father’s death.

Charles Cawood’s grave marker lists his birth year as 1864, but the announcement of his death in the Journal of the American Medical Association says he was 32.

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