Sunday, October 24, 2010

Diphtheria Corner and Why Reading is Important

I am doing a little research for a friend. I am trying to find the grave of her Great Great Grandfather. It is not going well..but the grave may be unmarked. There are many graves in this cemetery that are unmarked.  This week I have to contact the Sexton of the cemetery..to see if I can get a clue.

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The fellow I am searching for died in 1894, he comes with a bit of a story.  He had a really bad cold..his adoring yet clueless wife handed him a bottle of something ( apparently she could or did not read) and he succumbed later that day to the effects of rat poison.  Kinda sad…killed by stupidity.

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In doing some foot work I ran onto this grave marker. I do not know these people. I cannot even begin to imagine the sorrow that the parents must have felt.  To have buried four children in the same month, February of 1881. Years later someone ( probably surviving siblings) cared enough to put in this marker stone. 

I am reminded that Diphtheria which was also known as the “strangling angel of children” was felt in Far Guys Family..his Maternal Grandfather Curtis had more than two sisters,  the rest of their siblings all died of Diphtheria in the 1880’s.  They are buried over by Detroit Lakes someplace..I can feel an afternoon trip coming on one of these days. So many of the old cemeteries have a Diphtheria corner in them..with many of the graves unmarked.  I guess I won’t know for sure until I look:)  

16 comments:

  1. I know we used to have a shot for the children with diphtheria included in it (something like DPT). I don't know if they still do it, but I never knew anybody who lost a child to it. You're right, Connie: just looking at that grave marker brings me psychic pain for the family. What a story.

    Oh, and good luck on your quest! How do you find a grave if it's not marked?

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  2. Old cemeteries are so interesting. Such history ....

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  3. How sad that a bottle of poison would be mistaken for medicine. That sounds like such a long time ago. I agree with you that burying their four children must have been a horrible tragedy.

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  4. My grandmother, being the oldest of 5 children, helped nurse her siblings through diphtheria and then she caught it two different times. (so the story goes). She died at 96 of pneumonia. Myself, I'm a little worried about whooping cough making a reappearance. I actually had that when I was 3. Old cemeteries certainly do have a lot of stories within their fenced borders, all of them very sad. Good luck on your search.

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  5. Several years ago I had a chance to find my grandmothers grave and didn't do it. I have regreted ever since! How would you even start to find where someone is buried if records were not kept?

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  6. Children are still vaccinated for diptheria and for whooping cough (pertussis) with the DPT vaccine. The T is tetanus.
    My great great grandmother died from diptheria when she was 19 years old leaving my gr. grandmother behind. when she was still a baby. Her husband remarried and then died when my gr. grandmother was about 10 years old. Her stepmother raised her and the other children.
    So many sad tales from before the age of modern medicine. I'm glad I got to raise my children with the advantages of modern medicine.
    I hope you find the grave and one wonders what really occurred to give the man rat poison without knowing it.

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  7. When I was looking for graves it was so sad that some familys just could not buy a marker. Then knowing some could well afford to buy one and didn't. We 5 great grandchildren did buy our great grandmother a head stone after we were sure she was in her daughters family plot.
    We got her death certificate and it said she was there in that cemetery. She died in 1930's
    Patsy

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  8. Good luck on your search. I hope you find it.
    I cannot imagine losing 4 children in one month. The pain would probably be too much to bear.

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  9. We live in a blessed generation to have medicines available for vaccines. I may have told you that in early elementary school we would visit my paternal grandparents in the summer. One of her favorite evening walks was to the cemetery with the fancy headstones and statues.

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  10. My husband's sister was also one of the forgotten children.

    I need to write down so you can grasp the whole story, and in fact you are the first to read this.

    My MIL had 11 kids.

    She, name less was number 8, just after my husband number 5, in a family of 6 useless ( a figure or speech or even called bloody) girls.

    MIL went to give birth in the hospital of another town.

    MIL came home with a boy. (Yeh!!!!)

    But wait, where is the other baby?

    She's gone.

    Gone where? She had diptheria and died.

    MIL was furious with FIL, I just go away for 2 days,and you didn't take care of her and she is gone?

    With Chinese Feng Shui beliefs, MIL was reminded that this baby girl was born BBA ( Born before arrival) in the train, she was never meant to come to the family.

    You are the only person reading this, because I don't think my husband will be happy I post this.

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  11. amending last post, my husband was number 7, immediately older than the girl.

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  12. These stories are fascinating, and sad. I am on the far side of 50 too, and signed up to follow you today. Happy to meet you here.

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  13. That gravestone makes me so sad - what a tough life our ancestors had to live and endure. (that would have been all my kids in one shot - yikes).

    And as far as the rat poisoning - maybe it wasn't accidental!!!!

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  14. I do love your great stories. Ya'll might want to be careful of the stone ya might turn over. We were tryin' to trace my Hubs Great-Great Grandma Hanna Brixey findin' out that she was a Black Indian almost put my dear sweet raciest MIL in an early grave. Heeehehehe!

    I told my hubby the first time we sunburnt together that I'd never seen a white person 'ash' like that with a sunburn. :o)

    Have a terrific week sweetie and may God just bless your socks off!!!

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  15. This is a very interesting blog. You have me thinking about a family burial that is in a cemetery in Murray, Iowa. I bet they had that or something similar to take them out. I know the Mormon Cemetery north of there is full of chicken pox deaths of children.

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  16. our generation was so blessed to have immunizations. Unfortunately some of our kids are not understanding the miracles of getting immunizations... and some diseases are coming back.

    Whooping cough has been racing around the west coast this fall.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie