In September 1885, Mathias and Paulina lose four of their children to diphtheria. Anna, 8; Hattie, 6; Edmond, 4; and Sarah, 2 all passed away during the week of September 2nd, 1885.
While no mention of a specific outbreak or epidemic in 1885, the disease was somewhat common during the time.
In an old Wisconsin Annual Report, there is mention of it:
“1880: A board of health has been found highly necessary to check the spread of diphtheria.” And accompanying these were the following figures representing the cases of disease in the town during the two years in question:
1879 – Diphtheria: 12 cases, Scarlet fever: 6, Typhoid fever 13
1880 – Diphtheria: 45 cases , Scarlet fever: 21, Typhoid fever: 30
They are all buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. The family may have moved there just before this time as Rose was born on 20 Sep 1885 in Ashland.