This page last updated December 16, 2010

At one time, respiratory diphtheria was common, occurred primarily in children, and was one of the major causes of infant and child mortality in the United States. In the 1920's approximately 150,000 cases of diphtheria were reported annually. The diphtheria toxoid was developed in 1921, came into use in the early 1930's, and into widespread use in the United States in diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine (DTP) from the mid 1940's. Diphtheria is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening infection that usually attacks the throat and nose. In more serious cases, it can attack the nerves and heart. Diphtheria spreads from person to person very easily. People get diphtheria by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has coughed or sneezed. People also get diphtheria from close contact with discharges from an infected person's mouth, nose, throat, or skin. Diphtheria was once one of the most common causes of death in children. Based on records found our counties were struck mainly in the late 1800's-early 1930's.

Along with this accounting were 9 children belonging to James R. McCULLOUGH & Alice O'NEAL who died from a diptheria epidemic in the Taylor township area of Owen County. This occurred sometime around the years of 1932-1934; no names are known, but information recieved is that there were 11 children and only 2 survived the time period.

The listings below show: Name/Date/Area/Submitter

Name Date of Death Town/Twp County Submitted by
Emery RATTS Sept 1898 Plano MORGAN Debbie Jennings
Etta RATTS Oct 1898 Plano MORGAN Debbie Jennings
Candacie RATTS 11-5-1894 Plano MORGAN Debbie Jennings
Mary Mildred SUMMERLOT 2-22-1918 Coal City OWEN Debbie Jennings
Fern FARRIS 9-17-1891 unknown OWEN Debbie Jennings
Olie KEUERLIEBER 9-21-1891 unknown OWEN Debbie Jennings
Harry Ephraim WOOD 10-26-1919 Spencer OWEN Debbie Jennings
Billy SANDERSON 11-12-1933 Poland OWEN Debbie Jennings


Debbie Jennings