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Balch Dean: a Family Lost

Balch Dean (1837-1899)

Mary C. Dean (1860-1861)

Balch S. Dean (1862-1862)

Ella F. Dean (1867-1870)


Balch Dean was born in South Dedham on August 29, 1837. He was the eldest child of Thomas Balch Dean and Catherine Fuller Dean (also lot 66), and was part of the fourth generation of Deans to be born in South Dedham.


On March 1, 1860, Balch Dean married Susan S. Holmes of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The couple had three children, all of whom tragically died at a very young age.


Marriage of Balch Dean and Susan Holmes

On December 15, 1860, Mary C. Dean was born. She died on October 4, 1861 of cholera infantum, a fatal form of gastroenteritis which occurred frequently in very young children. Although not having the same cause as cholera, the symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, and high temperature) are similar. Balch S. Dean was born on May 20. 1862; he lived for only two days and died on May 22, 1862.  Finally, Ella F. Dean was born on February 24, 1867. She passed away on January 7, 1870 due to convulsions which lasted six hours. She was 2 years old. All three of the children are interred together in lot 66. The town’s plot plan is marked “3 in 1.”


Balch Dean registered for the draft in June, 1863. His occupation listed as Brakeman.

Balch Dean died in Boston, where he lived and was employed as a Fireman, on July 17, 1899. The cause was recorded as Bright’s Disease, an archaic term for nephritis which is an inflammation of the kidneys. Not a simple disease, nephritis or Bright’s Disease is a condition with a number of causes. The record of his death notes that Balch Dean was “divorced.” His remains were returned to Norwood where he is interred in the family lot alongside his children.


His name is inscribed on one side of the family gravestone, along with his brother, Willard, and Willard’s wife, Frances.

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