Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease spread by direct physical contact or breathing the aerosolized secretions of infected individuals. The most dreaded form affects the throat but other forms can infect other areas of the body. Early symptoms include fatigue, fever, a mild sore throat and problems swallowing. A membrane forms over the tonsils, pharynx and or nose and a severe swelling develops of the neck. Death results from either suffocation or very rapid heart rate. One of the first effective treatments, first used in the 1880's, was the insertion of tubes down the throat. The first antitoxin used against the disease was in 1891 and produced in horses. Now the disease is prevented by a vaccination.
From the Aug 1896 paper. Little Laurence Minkler, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Chas Minkler, died last Saturday morning of Cholera Infantum. He was sick only three days, the bereaved family have the sympathy of the neighborhood in their hour of sadness, but there is a blessed hope in the promise of God to us in times of trouble. Edit: The Minklers owned land two miles south of Pleasant Grove Church on the east side of the road & another 160 acres (where they most likely lived) 1/2 mile north of Center School on the east side.
Dry Creek is a very small stream lined with graceful tall trees that provide a serene, cathedral like, shady setting. It flows lazily westwardly in the most north and central area of Milford Twp. It would seem as though this sleepy, quiet little tributary of Bear Creek could only provide a pleasant place to relax but this was not the case in the spring of 1897. Creeks and Rivers on map on page 6.
Alta Harndon was a 21 year old girl who lived with her folks, the John Harndons, in the middle of Sec 4, on the south side of Dry Creek- probably on the site where Howard and Irene Jacobson, (and now Bob) lived for a number of years. (On the west side of 585th Ave.)
On the afternoon of the 19th of April 1897 she was last seen with a basket on her arm setting out to gather eggs. By supper time she had not returned and her family went looking for her. Just before dark her Dad found her drowned near a very shallow pool of water at Dry Creek. The official cause of death was listed as “drowning”. Some question is raised although because she was lying completely out of the water (her garments were dry) and her face was not in the water. (But apparently the side of her head was in the water) No sign of a struggle was evident in the sand.
So what happened is lost to history. She may have been journeying to the next farm to visit her relatives who lived north of Dry Creek on the east side of the road and had some type of seizure and thought a cool drink of water could relieve her symptoms -- or who knows? But, it is one of those seemingly unnecessary unfortunate incidents that just seem to happen every once in a while.
In 1908 there was a tale in the papers about a young woman of 16 years of age who, when using her apron to carry some small wood chips to the stove and putting them into the stove, caught her dress on fire and the resulting injuries caused her death.
This incident was reported as south of Roland (which could be in Milford or Howard Twp) but the death certificate reported the incident as occurring in Milford Twp.
From the 2 April 1908 Ames paper-- “Anne Flattebo, a sixteen year old girl working at the house of Mrs. M.O. Anderson, at Roland, was burned to death Saturday.
.......While preparing supper and using her apron for a chip basket last Saturday evening, the apron caught fire from the stove and burned the clothes off of Miss Anne Flattebo of Story City, a young girl about sixteen years old, who for the past year has been working for M. O. Anderson, south of town. The apron caught fire and immediately the flame spread all around the body. She rushed to the door and ran out in the yard calling for help.
.........A physician was immediately called and all done for her that could be, but death came as a relief Monday morning at six o'clock. The parents of the young lady live at Story City.”
The 1905 Census has M.O. Anderson living in Howard Twp but the death certificate states the place of incident as being in Milford Township.
It is very sad but interesting to note the number of families that had death take one or more of the youngsters. Tom Sowers had 10 children and, by 1900, 3 had died -leaving 7 still at home. Charles Minkler had six youngsters and 3 of them had died. (Westley) Catherin Arrasmith, age 63, was the mother of 11 and five of them had died. The greatest loss, though, was the Catherine and John Born family who had nine children and every one of them had died. The Borns were not an elderly couple at the time of the 1900 census. Borns apparently lived in the SE quarter of Sec 18.
In more recent times the Irving and Christine Radabaughs lost both their children, Don and Janice, in tractor accidents in Milford Twp- Aug 1960 and Oct 1969. See page 70.