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Thomas Edison Cause Of Death, Wife, Ex-Wife, Children & More

Thomas Edison remains an iconic figure of history for his revolutionary spirit and groundbreaking scientific contributions, but much of his personal life – specifically surrounding the deaths of members of his own family – remains mysterious and fodder for speculation and scrutiny. This article seeks to shed light on the lives and deaths of Mary Stilwell, Mina Miller, and the great inventor himself.

A Glimpse into Mary Stilwell’s Life

Mary Stilwell, the first wife of Edison, was introduced to the world of invention at a young age. Meeting Edison in one of his labs in Newark, their union seemed almost instantaneous. Within their 13 years of matrimony, the couple was blessed with three children: Marion Estelle, Thomas Jr., and William Leslie. Popular among Edison’s workers, Mary’s untimely death was a sorrowful event, mired in speculation.

Theories Surrounding Mary Stilwell’s Death

While the official cause of Mary’s death was labeled as “congestion of the brain,” believed today to be a hemorrhagic stroke, rumors have run rampant. Some whispered about the possibility of Typhoid Fever, but recent studies from Rutgers University suggest a more tragic possibility. Analyzing Edison’s personal accounts and other historical documents, researchers believe that Mary could have been a victim of morphine overdose, a common affliction among opiate users of the time.

Mina Miller: Edison’s Second Wife

Mina Miller, becoming Edison’s wife two years post Mary’s demise, brought renewed happiness to the inventor’s life. Their first meeting was through a mutual connection, leading to 45 years of shared life, memories, and the birth of three more children: Madeleine, Charles, and Theodore. Mina’s wisdom in ensuring their residence remained in her name showcased her foresight, protecting Edison from potential bankruptcy fallout.

The Later Years of Mina Miller

After Edison’s death in 1931, Mina remarried, finding companionship with Edward Everett Hughes, whom she had known from Chautauqua. Their marriage lasted until Edward’s death in 1940. Mina herself faced the end seven years later. According to official reports, Mina’s death resulted from cardiac failure, marking the end of a life interwoven with one of history’s greatest inventors.

What Happened to Thomas Edison?

Edison’s groundbreaking achievements are unparalleled. With inventions like the phonograph and vast improvements in electricity, his genius is undeniable. However, Edison’s health deteriorated in his twilight years, likely exacerbated by a milk-centric diet and habitual cigar-smoking. Edison’s death in 1931 came after a diabetes-induced coma, but even in death, his legacy was preserved uniquely – a plaster cast of his face and a vial capturing his final breath stand as testaments to his enduring significance.

Thomas Edison stands as an incredible testament of human perseverance, innovation, and spirit. While his inventions have forever altered society, their lives – especially his two beloved wives’ tragic demise – provide poignant reminders of who this genius truly was. Today, as we reflect on his journey, the questions surrounding these deaths only deepen the enigma of this remarkable inventor.


  1. How did Mary Stilwell, Edison’s first wife, die?
    Answer: Officially, from “congestion of the brain,” but recent research suggests a possible morphine overdose.
  2. Who was Thomas Edison’s second wife?
    Answer: Edison’s second wife was Mina Miller, whom he married in 1886.
  3. How many children did Edison have in total?
    Answer: Edison had six children; three with Mary Stilwell and three with Mina Miller.
  4. When did Thomas Edison pass away?
    Answer: Thomas Edison died on October 18, 1931, following a diabetes-induced coma.
  5. Was a unique memento made after Edison’s death?
    Answer: Yes, a plaster cast of Edison’s face and a vial of his last breath were preserved.

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

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