Day One, Part One can be found here.
Since the weather had turned nasty we decided to head over to the Wabash Library and do some research. My goal was to find some obits for the Botkins family. I wasn't having much luck when I ran across the following article in the March 13, 1864, Wabash Weekly Intelligencer. (The names in bold are related to me in some way)
Frightful Mortality. The people in the vicinity of Ashland and America in Liberty Township, have been undergoing a terrible ordeal of sickness since the first of January. We have been furnished with the names of fifty who have died since that date, and our informant states that he was unable to give the names of several others who have died. The disease which is generally prevelant and the one which has proved so fearfully fatal is what is popularly known as the Cold Plague or Spotted Fever. Its character is pretty well known. The victim is suddenly taken with a chill, after a while excrutiating pains ensue, the head is drawn violently backward, delirium occurs, and within a day or two death comes and relieves the sufferer. After death the body becomes spotted, hence the name of the disease. The disease is still violently unchecked and the suffering and terror in and around Ashland is enough to excite the sympathy and compassion of all who hear of it. Dr. Armstrong, of Ashland, is completely exhausted and wornout, and yet he can scarcely get time to sleep and hour or two, such is the demand for his presence and skill. Whole families have been prostrated at the same time, and one by one the members there of have been conveyed from the threshold, corpses until father, mother and children, the entire family – have all gone. A friend told me that it was terrible to look at the burying ground in Ashland. It was dotted all over with new made graves.
The following is the list of the names of those who have died. It was furnished to us by Mr. Henry White, who says that he was unable to learn the full names of all.
Joseph Bruner, wife and son*, Jesse Perkins and son, wife of Hiram Gardner, Noah Kretzinger, Frances Loudenbarger, Mrs. J. Sailors, Thomas S. Lines, Mrs. William Sutton, Mrs. Henry Bruner, Uriah Hawkins, Mrs. L. Smith, Mrs. James Harvey, Mrs. Runnels and Child, Samuel Se___, William Kanada’s child, Ezekial Rhodes, Lewis Sims, daughter of A____ France, William Woodard’s child, Mrs. John DeCoursey, daughter of Presley Prickett, daughter of Jacob Moyers, Jonathan Moyer, Asa Blood’s child, Walter Downey, child of Mr. Williams, son of James Freels, child of Jesse Herrel, J. Sutton, son and daughter ; T.A. Botkins, small pox, child of James Bratton; daughter of William Howard; daughter of R. Banister; William Prickett and son; Jesse Talmage; Daniel Talmage*; child of Mr. Overman; Mrs. ____ Stone; child of Jackson Stevens; child of Mr. Rinearson; child of Hiram Hendricks; son of Isaiah Brady; child of Esq. Thompson.
Those marked thus * were soldiers at home on furlough.
How extremely sad and how frightening this all must have been for the residents of the tiny towns of Ashland and America. In 1864 the country was in the middle of fighting the Civil War and two of the victims above were home on furlough. I wonder if they brought the disease home with them and it spread from there. I suppose there is no way of knowing but in both cases, son of Joseph Bruner and Daniel Talmage, the disease also killed their family members.
I've linked the names in the article to memorials I have been able to locate on Find A Grave.
Tomorrow is Part One of Day Two. I locate the grave of Freddie Driggs and we visit the final resting place of James Dean!