Inez Deweese (1911 – 1925)

     In the early 20th Century, diseases easily treated today killed many people.  Blood poisoning was one of the deadliest diseases.  Many St. Louis Police Officers survived being shot but died of blood poisoning from the bacteria off the bullet.  Other injuries such as fractures and contusions could result in the same situation.


Great Grandma Deweese (Grandma’s mother), Grandma Zimmerman and Aunt Trinket (Linnie)is holding me

     My great grandparents, Charles and Neva Deweese, suffered their fair share of tragedy.  Three of their children died in childhood.  Blood poisoning took the life of his second eldest child.

     Inez was born on August 14, 1911.  She was a year younger than oldest sister Linnie, known in the family as “Trinket”.  Inez would grow up with her siblings in Allenville and Delta in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.

     During February 1925, Inez suffered a leg injury.  It could have been a tibia fracture or a bone bruise but on February 18, 1925, Inez began to exhibit signs of blood poisoning.

     Charles and Neva tried to nurse Inez back to health but a disease treated by antibiotics today began to ravage her small frame.  On March 10, 1925, 13-year-old Inez passed away from the effects of blood poisoning.

     Inez could have grown into a fine young woman and married like her other sisters.  Linnie, Inez and Burnice lost their first sister Nettie in 1918, when Nettie was only two years old.  Instead Inez was taken at far too young an age.  Her death certificate listed her as a “school child”.

     Charles and Inez would bury one more child, the infant Charles, Jr. in 1927.  Charles himself died at 46 years of age at the same time.

     When you look back at your family’s history and wonder why families were so large, think about Inez’s story.  A high infant mortality rate led many parents to have large families because the odds of losing a child to disease were high.  Fortunately, medicine has progressed to a point that childhood deaths are much rarer in the United States.

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