Lessons from a Kansas graveyard: What a 1903 outbreak of diphtheria can teach us today

There is a huge debate in our country about vaccinations. I don’t think we would if we saw first-hand what devastations these diseases cause. I just hope and pray that it doesn’t take an outbreak and large casualties before people wake up.

Diana Staresinic-Deane

In a shady corner of St. Mary’s Cemetery, a curious collection of little headstones, all of the same size and age, surround a large hooded monument. Unassuming and unadorned, the large family headstone does not prepare you for what you will read. This little cemetery just south of Hartford, Kansas is the final resting place for the “Children of James & Anna O’Marra,” eight of whom died in 1903.

James and Anna O’Marra and their nine children, ranging in age from six months to 21 years, lived seven miles south of Hartford. Their family was in mourning for James’ brother John, who had died of pneumonia on March 30, 1903. The newspapers are not clear as to exactly what happened next, but John O’Marra’s funeral may be a clue, as family members from outside the area came to Lyon County to pay their respects.

According to the Neosho Valley Times

View original post 1,189 more words

Advertisements