While working on my genealogical research, I came across a mystery that I wanted to solve. There were five deaths in the same family in within weeks of each other. Three of those deaths were in the same household.
I had some anecdotal information about the cause of death, but with what historical information I’ve found, it wasn’t adding up. I ran across several very lengthy articles about a typhoid fever epidemic that hit their home town. Even if no one in my family had gotten sick, the story would be family related because of the size of the epidemic and the size of the town, but I had a hunch that my relatives all perished in the during the epidemic.
And it turns out that my grandmother had typhoid fever, too. She was only a teenager at the time. Her’s was the household that had three deaths. She lost two of her brothers and an uncle. Because of the deaths, my great-grandfather was left without enough help on his farm, so he hired a young man.
The population of the locality was 5000. One thousand of those citizens were furnished milk from the same farmer. Of those 1000, there were 116 cases of typhoid fever and 14 deaths. That was a death rate of over 12 percent of those infected.Very sad statistics for our family.
My grandmother got well and the new hired hand eventually fell in love with her and married her. The young hired hand became my grandfather. Though the loss of family is permanent, so has been the result of taking on new help. My grandmother and grandfather had ten children!
I love that part of the story.