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Many Die in Childhood in Early Jacksonville, Ore.

In Jacksonville, Ore., many children died in accidents and disease outbreaks in the early days, including diphtheria in 1859 and smallpox 10 years later.  Eight-year-old Mary Bailey was shot when her older sister tried to take a dangerous gun away from her. Mary Angel was 18 months old in 1858 when she fell into a washtub filled with scalding water and died the next morning.

Fifteen-year-old George Brown went hunting with a full powder horn and rifle and was crawling through brush when the rifle’s trigger snagged, firing toward the powder horn, which exploded and burned a hole in Brown’s thigh.  He had almost bled to death when he was found.

Accidental poisoning was a danger for small children who put everything in their mouths.  Four-year-old Lillie Banister drank lye and toddler David Phipps swallowed opium.  They died almost immediately. 

Patrick Donegan lost a wife and five of his eight children.  Four children died of disease or birth complications, but 11-year-old Peter died of tetanus after a toy pistol exploded in a Fourth of July accident.

In the early days, it was rare for all of a family’s children to survive.

Source: Miller, William M.  Silent City On the Hill.  William Miller: 2014. Print.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.