Tombstone Tuesday: Death befalls the Derrick children

Four of the Derrick (Derk) children died within 10 days.

Four of the Derrick (Derk) children died within 10 days.

1888 was a sad year for Benjamin and Alice Derrick (Derk) as they buried all four of their children within ten days.  The couple’s fifth child was born right in the middle of this tragedy and it is a miracle she did not meet the same fate.


What killed these children?  Cholera, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, or possibly Yellow Fever?  1888 saw an outbreak of Small Pox in Pennsylvania; was this the cause of so much loss?


Between 1881 and 1906, the Derrick family would have thirteen children born with seven surviving to adulthood.  The four children here are buried with their parents and a number of the siblings at the Lutheran Cemetery in Trevorton.

2 Responses

  1. How heartbreaking. I agree, it must have been one of the contagious diseases. It is amazing that the new baby did not catch it as well. I can’t even imagine how the mother got through this situation.


  2. I imagine that the high death rates of children in the 18th and early 19th century must have also affected daily life beyond grieving. With disease running rampant, death creeping into many homes and the fact that exposure to any one of a number of diseases could kill a child or an entire family within days, people must have lived in constant fear. I can’t help but wonder how did this affected their frame of mind, their relationships, religious beliefs and practices, importance of family? Yesterday morning I sat in a meeting for two hours in an small enclosed room with nine people including one that was pretty sick and though I was not happy that there was a good chance he was passing along his illness, I never once considered that I could die from what he was spreading.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: