Scarlet Fever Hits Forest County

Hello Forest County Residents!

For those of you who were not on the Historic Lakeside Cemetery Tour I decided to share one of the stories that was told at the event.

Angus Plummer, the son of Anderson and Sallie Bowman Plummer, was born in Lee county, Kentucky.  Shortly after his birth, the extended Plummer family began the migration to Northern Wisconsin.  Angus’ father Anderson, and his uncles Matt and Sam Plummer, left Kentucky and made their way to Goodman, Wisconsin where, according to the Goodman Centennial book they helped build many of the original buildings that made up the town of Goodman.

Carpenter crew in front of store Jim Bowman, Sam & Mat Plummer & A. Plummer
Carpenter crew in front of store Jim Bowman, Sam & Mat Plummer & A. Plummer

Shortly after their time in Goodman, Matt and Sam Plummer settled in the Crandon area while Anderson, along with his wife and children, settled in Peshtigo.  It is here that Angus, at the age of 12, contracted and died as a result of scarlet fever.

Early in the 20th century scarlet fever was a leading cause of death among children in the United States.  In 1912, the State of Wisconsin reported 3,304 cases of Scarlet Fever with 283 resulting deaths.  The cause of Scarlet Fever was not known in 1912, although physicians knew that it was a “germ” disease and was very contagious.  The Wisconsin State Board of Health demanded that children who had contracted the disease be quarantined at home for at least 21 days from the beginning of the disease.  If the child was lucky enough to survive the disease he or she was required to stay home from school for at least six weeks while siblings or any other child associated with the child was banned from attending school 10 days after the quarantine had been lifted from their homes (Michelle Gobert 2014).

Angus’ death and burial in the Crandon cemetery was not reported in the Crandon newspapers even though his aunts, uncles and cousins were settled here.  Whether this was due to the fact that he was living in Peshtigo at the time or due in fact that his death was from the dreaded scarlet fever we will never know.  Family lore tells us that his father wanted him buried in Crandon so that he would be near family and if you look around we now know that this is true (Michelle Gobert 2014).

Angus Plummer Gravestone Surrounded by Plummer Family
Angus Plummer Gravestone Surrounded by Plummer Family

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