Scarlet fever, cholera, diphtheria, smallpox, typhoid and whooping cough were some of communicable diseases that plagued communities in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Jacob Kroeker (1836-1914) came to Manitoba in 1876 and settled in the village of Schoenweise. From 1881 to 1885 halskrankeit (diptheria) was a significant communicable illness that affected many. During this time, Jacob lost his wife Anna Zacharias (1836-Nov. 17, 1883), daughter Anna (1880-Nov. 29, 1883), and son Franz (1862-Dec. 28, 1883). As the weather grew colder in 1884, the communicable diseases made their presence felt again. Jacob had to say aufwiedersehen to David (1872-Dec. 5, 1884), and Abram (1877-Dec. 10, 1884). So many deaths due to these illnesses in just one family! During this time, diphtheria killed more than half of the children it infected. Thanks to vaccines, today many families are spared the anguish of children dying from these diseases. Pictured, Jacob poses with his second wife, Helena Fehr, in 1903.
For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca.