That must have been hard on the family.
I remember talking with my great-grandmother about her loosing 3 of her 7 children as infants or toddlers; child mortality might have been more common in her youth, but she said it still hurt. Of course it did.
The difference is they knew it was a possibility- even quite likely- that they would lose children- and we regard child deaths as a terrible anomaly.
Still, I suspect even knowing it can happen doesn't do much. After all, we know the risk of getting killed in traffic these days and still consider such deaths tragic and unusual.
It's nice to know that global infant mortality has gone massively down during my life time; the world is still a mess, but at least some details improve. It kind of gives me reason to continue being a bit optimistic. ;-)
I believe the world is also less violent than it was- with fewer people dying in wars than at any time before. It may not seem so, but things are getting better.
It's nice to know than as an optimistic idealist, one still has some sort of justification.
To lose two children so close to each other...I don't think we realise just how difficult it was back then and until recently and still is in some parts of the world. I know my father lost one of his brothers at a very young age because of an illness we'd just treat with antibiotics these days.
I wonder what it was that took Merrial and Simon. As you say it was probably something easily treatable today.
How awful - there must have been some contagious illness wherever it was this family lived, and it took both children.
Plague perhaps. Or malaria. But it didn't take much to kill people in the 17th century. You caught a chill, it turned to pneumonia- and that was the end of you.
Things like scarlet fever used to kill whole families of children at one time.
All the childhood diseases we now take in our stride used to be killers.
Merrial is a lovely name. I've never heard it before.
John and I walk through country graveyards when we are in Wisconsin searching for family graves and see many examples like this of the youngest members of young families dying quite closely to each other. A heartbreaking summer for the Coates.
I suppose Merrial is an earlier form of Meryl.
There's a family plot at Cooling in North Kent which contains the graves of (I think) thirteen children from the one family. Dickens called it to mind when he was writing Great Expectations- only he cut the number of children to five because he didn't believe his readers would believe him if he gave the true number.