This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

What really killed great uncle Harry...

Gradually, the turn-of-the-century newspapers in Little Falls and Pierz were starting to take cues from bigger city papers.  They ran dapper menswear ads by 1917, they included descriptions of what bridal parties wore in the 1890s, and they were starting to standardize death announcements around 1910.

"DIED" was usually on the front page of the LF Herald, but some deaths got 10 column inches while others got just a mention.  Some had a description of his or her last few days, a list of who in the fam didn't make it home in time, and a RIP at the end. (i.e.: third column here). Others were simple facts: "Byron Rogers, aged 29 years, a former resident of Pike Creek, died on August 1st at his home in Bellingham, Washington, following an illness of four or five years standing". (LFH, Sept 15, 1911).  I assume the longer obits were paid for, while the short ones were considered news.
Always, tho, cause of death was included.  Naturally, I've been researching and  keeping a morbidity list, as you do.  These are only in order of me noticing, that's all:

A biggie was DROPSY, or edema, basically, caused by heart disease.

BRIGHT'S DISEASE was kidney inflammation. I always think it could have been a result of sweating a lot and not replenishing fluids. Historically, Bright's disease was treated with diuretics and laxatives....but a lifetime of more water would probably have been better.

APOPLEXY--a stroke; a sudden impairment caused by cerebral hemorrhage. 

SCARLET FEVER Before the availability of antibiotics, scarlet fever was a major cause of death, especially in kids.

TYPHOID FEVER was due to bacteria in water.  People didn't always die of it, but many did.  This was the disease that Typhoid Mary spread, c 1891.

PTOMAINE POISONING, the disease Allan Sherman said Leonard Skinner had.

SMALLPOX was highly infectious, and usually got your house quarantined for a few weeks.

(BTW, here's what Joe Faust posted on his door next to the Quarantine Notice:
Ich weiss nicht was mir fehlt,
Ich sterbe vor Ungeduld.
Ich weiss nicht was mich quaelt.
Die Pocken sind daran Schuld.
Ein gut Glas Bier thaet un erheitern,
Und gaeb uns wieder die Geduld.
I do not know what I'm missing,
I'm dying of impatience.
I do not know what bothers me.
The pox are to blame.
A good glass of beer___ __ cheer,
___ and again patience.)

SPANISH FLU--the disease that killed so MANY after WWI.  Cemeteries of the right age have rows of graves from 1917 and 1918.  Whole families died in rapid succession.  The link foolishly mentions the the 2009 panic as tho it compares in any way with 1918.  Sigh.

CARBUNCLES are large boils that became infected, I think.  If you died, it wasn't from the carbuncle but from the untreated infection.

CHOLERA sounds a lot like typhoid, but evidently it kills faster.

DIPHTHERIA is an upper respiratory tract disease spread by contact or breathing infection from a sneeze or cough.  It's pretty much been wiped out, but 100 years ago, it was deadly.
ERYSIPELAS  is a children's' skin disease that, in adults, is called cellulitis.

APPENDICITIS was blamed for GOBS of operations done at St Gabes or St Cloud in those years.  We figure it was a sort of catch all, when the doc didn't actually know for sure what was wrong.

(Sorry I'm linking to so many wikipedia pages, but they give a quick overview rather than technical or medical description.  We're not diagnosing here).

TUBERCULOSIS is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. TB would be an interesting post by itself, since it seemed to be epidemic for awhile there, in the late 1930s.

PERITONITIS was blamed when an appendix operation went wrong, or a horse kicked a person in the gut.  It must have been painful...whew.

GRIPPE....the flu.

DIABETES  I think diabetes was fairly rare back then, and they had no treatment or cure.  I only saw one obit with this as the cause.

OLD AGE caused death.  Period.

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