Madness Monday of a Different Sort

For today’s Madness Monday I have decided to not search for an individual or a family, but see if any of my fellow genealogists can help me figure out a bit of a mystery! Before I have even wrapped things up here, I think I have solved my own mystery!

I have a brief manuscript written by Agnes Salathiel Hall, granddaughter of Henry Highland Corel, that details her family history. It is a wonderful piece of history, but some information is a bit warped, and some appears to be downright wrong. That alone should keep me from looking to verify anything she has written, but there is a strange occurrence in 1855, and it may not be as Agnes details, but there must be something!

Agnes’ Story

Nancy Corel, Henry her husband, Will their teen age son, and Nancy’s sister Jemima all died within a week of measles, the epidemic of measles at Lawrence was in Kansas History I studied in school. Many died as they did not know what it was. They survived an epidemic of small pox and died of measles. All four of them lay dead in the house -one room- at the same time. The neighbors came in and built coffins of native walnut lumber so abundant in Kansas in an early day. Here I might pause to tell you that our old home on 8th st. in Independence, across from the Elks, was of walnut lumber, dimensions, floors and all. Speaking of parents, Mama said she could hear the hammers building the coffins, Mama was fourteen.

All those who died in the measles epidemic were buried on Mt. Oread, Later this was vacated as a cemetery but the graves being unmarked it is likely their ashes are still there. So many years before it was vacated.


  • Henry Highland Corel and his wife, Nancy Matney, as well as one son, William Corel, all died in 1855.
  • Henry had a sister, Jemima Corel McGlothlin who died in Jackson County, Missouri about 1851.
  • I have not located a sister named Jemima for Nancy.
  • Henry’s father, William Corel also died in 1851. Was this part of an epidemic?
  • “Mama” would be Jemima Corel Salathiel, who would have been about 13 in 1855.
  • According to burial cards at Watkins Museum, the Corel family was removed from the Mount Oread cemetery and reburied at the Corel family plot at Oak Hill Cemetery.


As I was writing this, I was searching around to see if I could possibly figure out the mystery to these deaths. By focusing more on ‘epidemics’ rather than ‘measles’, I believe I may have some possible theories.

  • Cholera epidemic in Kansas, 1855.
  • Cholera had claimed 40 to 170 lives but by August 1855 the area is healthy.
  • An epidemic of Asiatic cholera sweeps the Kansas Town settlement in Jackson County, Missouri in 1849.

In Closing

Rather than measles, the epidemic was probably cholera. It is interesting that I found information about a cholera outbreak in Jackson County, Missouri starting in 1849, as well. I wonder if Jemima Corel-McGlothlin and William Corel were also victims of an epidemic.