Unknown Burials in Page County, Iowa
by Pat O'Dell
Several corpses were removed from the old cemetery north of here to the new one by the church, last week. An undertaker from Red Oak had charge of the work. CLARINDA JOURNAL, Clarinda, Iowa, Apr 24, 1896

In the PAGE COUNTY, IOWA HISTORY, 1942, Compiled and written by the Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa; page 34 [this article was about the building of the railroad through Page County]:

"The Humeston and Shenandoah road was built in 1880-1881 by joint efforts of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and the Wabash. It was about 90 miles long, beginning in Humeston, Wayne County, and entering Page County in Nebraska Township, running west to Shenandoah where it met the Wabash. Stations were at Clarinda, Yorktown, Norwich, and Shenandoah.

During the construction of this road a great cut had to be dug through the hills near Clarinda. While the men were working a smallpox epidemic broke out, and people in the neighborhood became so freightened that Clarinda officials obtained the services of a young Doctor Enfield from Rush Medical School, Chicago. The doctor and Sheriff Tom Brooks kept the victims of the disease isolated in the railroad camp a mile from town, and there were no cases in Clarinda. The two men not only had to care for the sick but also to bury the dead. Most of the laborers who died were Irish [page 35] Roman Catholics. As there was no cemetery near the camp and no Catholic graveyard in town, Doctor Enfield and Sheriff Brooks placed the bodies at the east end of the big cut and covered them with earth taken from the digging. For years afterward the burial plot could be seen from the windows of passing trains."


Comment from Pat O'Dell: Evidently no record was made of who these smallpox victims were. Have never found anything in county records or newspapers about them.