|Mary Mayer Kuck|
|Mary Mayer Kuck Death Notice|
My first clue was the newspaper article above that I found in a scrapbook compiled by my 2nd great grandmother which transcribed reads:
Died in Charles City, May 31, 1879, of paralytic convulsions, Mary, wife of John Kuck, aged 42 years, 4 months 23 days.
It mentioned that the deaths of the children were due to disease but not what the disease was. Over the years I have spent lots of time scouring the internet for what it might have been and finally theorized that it was due to diphtheria which caused quite a few deaths in Charles City during that time frame. However diphtheria of that time was recorded as being on fatal 25% of the time and John Kuck had lost 71% of his children. So my theory remained just that even thought I never gave up hope of someday confirming it.It is said, "Afflictions never come singly." On the 14th day of December, 1878, John Kuck lost one child; by the 3d day of January following, four more had been taken, all by the same fatal disease. And now comes the reaper, and takes his companion. The death of the children undoubtedly had much to do with Mrs. Kuck's illness, as it seemed to weigh heavily upon her mind. Mrs. Kuck was a practical Christian, having been a member of the German M.E. Church for 25 years. She has left a devoted husband and two sons, Henry and George. The funeral was held Sunday at 3 P.M. in the M.E. church. It is a singular coincidence that just nineteen years before, on the same day and hour, this couple were married in Galena, Illinois. The funeral was very largely attended, over 75 teams falling into the procession.
|Emma Kuck Death Notice|
Kuck - Saturday, Dec. 21, of diphtheria, Emma R., daughter of Mr. John Kuck, aged 9 years.Scarce a week had passed since the death of their elder daughter, when Mr. and Mrs. Kuck were called upon to suffer the pangs of parting with another of their household treasures. Up to Friday night she was not considered dangerously ill, but then came more alarming symptoms, which resulted in death on Saturday. Her last hours were not painful ones, and when at last the lamp of life went flickering out, those present scarcely knew the moment when "mortality put on immortality." She was buried, Sunday, beside her sister Anna. The sorrowing family have the heartfelt sympathy of all.
|Edward Kuck & Lydia Kuck Death Notice|
It confirmed my diphtheria theory. The second clipping reads:
DiedKuck:-Saturday night, Dec. 28th, Eddie, son of John Kuck, aged 2 1/2 years. Kuck:-Wednesday, Jan 1rst, Lydia, daughter of John Kuck, aged 12 years, 10 months.Four times during the past month has the dark angel spread his pinions over this fated household and borne away one of its loved ones. There are three children left, and two of these are sick, but, we are glad to state, are now considered out of danger. Truly, friend Kuck and his wife have borne their heavy cross. We trust that their trials are now over, and that the other homes of the elty may be free from such a sad visitation.This article made me realize how closely my fate rested in this tragedy. The articled stated that either my 2nd great grandfather George or his brother Henry were also sick with the disease but survived it since two of the three surviving children were sick with diphtheria. The other one was undoubtedly John Kuck Jr. who though the article says was recovering died, two days later on January 3, 1879.
|Mary Mayer Kuck Death Notice|
Died: - In this city, May 31, 1879, of paralytic convulsions, Mary, wife of John Kuck, aged 42 years, 4 months, 28 days.
Since last December the hand of death has been laid heavily on the family of Mr. Kuck. Five beloved children, in quick succession, were followed to the tomb, all taken away by that fatal disease, diphtheria. Two sons Henry and George, are all that are left of that happy band of young hearts. Once more the dark angel has visited the stricken household, and the mother, best beloved of all, is gone forever. Mrs. Kuck had been a member of the German M.E. Church for more than twenty years, and died in full and happy faith of a brighter home beyond the stars. The funeral was held at 3 o'clock, Sunday afternoon, and there was a very large attendance, about eighty teams joining in the procession.While diphtheria is a respiratory tract illness caused by baterial infection of the mucous membranes that is all but non-existant in today's world with modern vaccines, I didn't know much about what paralytic convulsions were in the late 19th century context. I'm not sure I still know but after doing some googling, it might possibly have been a case of tetanus.
In conclusion, I am pretty confident in the diphtheria theory to say it is no longer theory but fact. It answers my questions begun so long ago as to what tragedy befell this family buried together in a cemetery in Charles City. The one avenue of research that I would like to pursue is Mary Mayer Kuck's affiliation with the German M.E. Church. I would like to track down to see if any records exist and if so, what they may offer of Mary's ancestry to perhaps knock down that brick all once and for all.