Event Person Place

Burns Cost Life of Mother of Six Sons

“Burned about the face and body when she used a match to light a corncob pipe, Mrs. Rebecca Mosley, 78, of 317 Front street, died at 11:20 AM today in Portsmouth General Hospital.”

“Discovered with clothes blazing by a 4-year-old girl, Mrs. Mosley suffered first, second and third degree burns down to her knees Tuesday at 7:30 PM.”

“Mrs. Mosley was the mother of six sons.”

“Lynn ambulance took her to the hospital, with a neighbor woman, who suffered hand burns when she gave aid. The city rescue squad also was summoned to the residence.”

“Mrs. Kenneth Meyer, who lives in an apartment on the third floor over the Mosley apartment, received burns to her right hand and left thumb and was dismissed after treatment.”

Alone at Time

“Mrs. Mosley, who lived with a son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs1. Orville Mosley, was alone, seated in a rocking chair in the living room of the second floor apartment at the time of the fire.”

“A burn on the side of the rocker indicates she struck a match on it, setting fire to her dress at the same time. She apparently did not notice the fire immediately and smoked the pipe for a short time before going to the kitchen, relatives said.”

“Mrs. Mosley, who was barely able to walk, apparently tried to get water to douse the flames, but she did not call out relatives said.”

Girl Discovers Plight

“A daughter of Mrs. Audrey Adams, who lives in a next door apartment, was playing in the hallway when she saw Mrs. Mosley through an open kitchen door and ran to notify her mother.”

“Mrs. Adams with Mrs. Orville Mosley and Mr. and Mrs. Meyer discovered the victim sitting on the kitchen floor. She was ‘murmuring for God to help her’, they said.”

“The four wrapped blankets about the woman to smother the fire, which had burned off her apron and dress. Mrs. Meyer suffered her burns when she grabbed a plastic comb out of the victim’s hair.”

“Mrs. Orville Mosley and her son Jack Orville, 6, had just finished supper and were visiting at the time of the fire in the apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Kelse Mosley, another son and daughter-in-law of the victim, who live in a first floor apartment.”

Too Frightened

“Mrs. Orville Mosley believes her mother-in-law was too frightened to call out for help.”

“Mrs. Mosley was a houseworker for a number of years in Portsmouth after she moved her from Carter County, Kentucky. Her husband passed away two years ago.”

“Several sons live at Port Clinton, where Orville Mosley, employed at a factory, was working at the time of the fire.”

“The rescue car was damaged slightly as it left the Mosley residence.”

“Firemen said the emergency car skidded on ice and the right front hit a car parked in the alley. The owner of the parked car was not located.”

“Mrs. Mosley was born May 20, 1872, in McDowell County, West Virginia. After her marriage to William Harrison Mosley the couple resided for several years in Carter County.”

“She moved to Portsmouth 28 years ago. Her husband died two years ago.”

“A brother, a sister and her only daughter preceded her in death.”

“Surviving besides Orville and Kelse at 317 Front street, are four other sons, Waynard of California, Herbert and McKinley of Toledo and Harvey of West Portsmouth; a brother, Hy Lambert of Mudd, West Virginia and a sister, Mrs. Lily Linville of Julian, West Virginia.”

“The body is at Lynn Funeral Home.”2

“Funeral services for Mrs. Rebecca Mosley, 78, of 317 Front street, will be held at 2:30 PM Saturday at Lynn Funeral Home. Burial will be in Larkin Cemetery.”

“Mrs. Mosley died at 11:20 AM Wednesday in Portsmouth General Hospital of burns on the face and about the body she received earlier at home.”3

  1. Marie Cooper
  2. Burns Cost Life of Mother of Six Sons. (1950, November 29). Portsmouth Times, pp. 1–2.
  3. Mrs. Rebecca Mosley. (1950, December 1). Portsmouth Times, p. 21.
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