Vaccines! and Nails!

Looking up the coroner’s inquest data for Vermilion County Illinois in the historic data – last name McArdle, I was able to find 3 records.   One was my 2nd great grandfather Uriah who was run over by an oxen team saving his granddaughter. One was Charles:


The third was Roy McArdle


I don’t have records of Roy and this Charles in my tree, so I may have to do some digging to figure out exactly where they fit.  From the dates, I would assume that Roy is an Uncle and Charles is a cousin.  The inquest records are available at ISU and may list the parents, so I may venture over later and find the records.

What made me curious about these records was that Roy passed away from Tetanus from a nail injury.  I now personally have racked up 3 nails and one lightening rod that I have accidently stepped on.  My very first was out in the barn yard before I was 5 years old.  I remember it only as far as telling my dad and as he was busy he told me to go tell my mom, so I had to limp to the house and tell her – who also busy was going to send me back to the barnyard until she noticed the blood.  Of course this was now almost 50 years ago, so I’m remembering this from my child point of view.  I’m sure at that point I had just had what vaccines were required for someone my age…

I actually know I accidently got all my Kindergarten shots twice, due to a mix up with my best friend of the time, Iva Sue.  Iva and I would swap identities all the time and mess with the teacher.  (Not to be confused with the time I took in a handwritten by me – in Kindergarten – note and gave it to the teacher saying that my name had been changed to Maria.  My mother had signed it thinking it was another one of the endless papers that come home.   My teacher turned the note in and my name was changed on all the records.  The ‘mistake’ wasn’t caught until a couple weeks later during the parent teacher conference.  BUT, the shots swap was when after doing our swap, the school happened to have vaccination day.  I’d had my shots at the dr. (Dr. Elghammer) but Iva still needed hers.  After I found out what was going on, I tried to explain the mixup, but no one believed us.  You would think that having a cousin for principal, another cousin as janitor, and a cousin as the assistant to the first grade teacher, I would have been able to find backup, but nope.  I got Iva’s shots.  She still had to get her shots later, but I’m pretty sure that was the last time we pulled that swap.

In my teens I went on to step on a nail while builders were adding a garage to our house.  I think the builders had left nails all over, and I just happened to find one.  Years later I managed to find a lightening rod with my foot.  My husband had cut it off at the ground and I made the mistake of trying to open the telephone box above it.  I happened to put my foot on the spot where the rod was as I pushed up on the box cover.  This did prove some law of physics, but it also proved how ridiculous it is to go out at 5 am to try to test the phone line in just a nightgown and robe with no shoes (or Pants).  I made it into the house and to the bottom of the stairs – screaming up at my husband, before passing out.  Being a puncture wound (AGAIN)  they don’t do stitches.

My final nail was while cleaning a shed at my mothers.  My mom has collections of everything!  You name it you can probably find it there.  Included is a shed that happened to have everything from some items from when we moved to KY and couldn’t fit things in the truck -to items that my mother has stored.  There is even a hornet’s nest!  The shed was falling apart, and as I opened the door another time, it turned out trim fell off onto the ground.  As I walked in, I stepped on it, running it into my foot.   I then had to limp to the house, while calling my dr to check on my last tetanus shot.  I  decided the best thing was to go to a walk in clinic.  After trying to explain I was just there for a tetanus shot and yes I knew the drill, I was questioned, including to have to show the hole in my shoe…  Finally I got my tetanus shot.

The thought seeing the inquest record showing that a McArdle passed away from Tetanus from a nail though, makes me very glad that I stayed up to date on my tetanus vaccine.  – And that the tetanus vaccine exists.  There are some vaccines that protect against childhood illnesses that kids can get and hardly be affected (in most cases), but even the most benign virus can cause serious side effects in the right circumstance.  Infants can easily die of whooping cough, adults can become deathly ill from chicken pox, and so much more.  My great grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side was lost to flu in 1918.  Flu is something that seems to come back every year, so far with not as high a fatality rate, but still having an effect.  This year alone the flu was devastating to children.

I see posts on facebook talking about being more afraid of vaccines than the illnesses.  The posts don’t put it that way, they use scare tactics – not mentioning all the deaths that are prevented by vaccines.  Vaccines do save lives, sometimes it’s your own, sometimes it’s the life of the elderly or immunocompromised that you are exposed to.  I shudder to think of what would happen if I had gotten tetanus from one of the nails that I have stepped on, and given my past history I can’t even say for sure that I won’t again. Tetanus can also be acquired through an open wound in infected soil – infected with the bacteria. Usually a hot wet climate.

I need to start including cause of death in my family history files, since it’s so interesting!  Not just the tetanus, but everything from being run over by an oxen team while rescuing his granddaughter (Uriah McArdle), burnt in a fire (Elmer McArdle), and even bone cancer (Mildred Eldridge).  Finding health trends and genetic traits is also interesting!  But now I need to research where Roy and this Charles McArdle fit into the family tree…..