Rachel J. Shaw was born July 21, 1855 in Berrien County, GA. She was the daughter of Civil War veteran Richard James Shaw (1830 – 1869) and Rachel Elizabeth Parker (1834 – ?). Some time after 1870, Rachel Shaw married James Burton Moore, a Berrien County farmer. Making their home near Rays Mill (nka Ray City) in the 1157th Georgia Militia District, the couple set about the next twenty something years raising crops and children.
In the summer of 1899, Rachel Shaw Moore came down with an illness that was serious enough to prompt medical attention. In the sweltering dog days of August, Rachel drove her horse-drawn buggy the ten miles of dirt road from Ray’s Mill to the county seat at Nashville, GA. There she saw Dr. Carter who gave the diagnosis of typhoid and undertook her treatment.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection characterized by diarrhea, systemic disease, and a rash — most commonly caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). The bacteria that causes typhoid fever — S. typhi – spreads through contaminated food, drink, or water. If you eat or drink something that is contaminated, the bacteria enters your body, and goes into your intestines, and then into your bloodstream, where it can travel to your lymph nodes, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and other parts of the body. Early symptoms include fever, general ill-feeling, and abdominal pain. A high (over 103 degrees) fever and severe diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse. Some people with typhoid fever develop a rash called “rose spots,” which are small red spots on the belly and chest.
Since 1880, the bacterial cause of typhoid fever had been known. The disease was spread by poor sanitation practices.
Typhoid fever exemplified the effectiveness of sanitation practices based on both the old filth theory of disease and at the same time incorporating the new tenets of bacteriology. When the salmonella typhi bacillus was identified (1880) and traced to contaminated water supplies, it underscored the necessity of providing clean water…
Bacteriologists had perfected water filtering methods by the 1890s which led to the development of water treatment systems for safe drinking water in the cities. At least in the urban centers, these water filtration systems effectively reduced the illness and death caused by typhoid. “Yet typhoid did not disappear. In 1900, over 35,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to typhoid.” It would still be some years before scientists understood that apparently healthy individuals could harbor and transmit typhoid. Mary Mellon of New York, “Typhoid Mary” was the most notorious case.
In the case of Rachel Moore, her condition continued to decline “despite medical treatment.’ It would be another 60 years before doctors understood the critical need for hydration in the treatment of typhoid.
Rachel Shaw Moore died on a Monday – August 14, 1899 at Ray City, GA. She was buried at the cemetery at Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church, a few miles southwest of Ray City. She was survived by her husband, James Burton Moore, and six children:
Lilly Moore 23
Minnie Moore 21
J Lacy Moore 20
Mamie Moore 13
Ora Moore 11
Janie Moore 9
Ounie Moore 6
Aulie Moore 2
Saturday, August 19, 1899
Mrs. Burton Moore Dead.
Mrs. Burton Moore, an estimable lady of the Ray’s Mill settlement, died Tuesday evening after an illness of ten days with typhoid fever. Her funeral was conducted at Cat Creek on Wednesday and was largely attended. She leaves a husband and several children to mourn her death. Three of her daughters are about grown, though the other children are small. She was about forty years old and an estimable woman. She leaves a large circle of friends to sympathize with the bereaved ones.
Tuesday, August 22, 1899
Death of Mrs. J.B. Moore.
We regret to chronicle the death of Mrs. J.B. Moore near Ray’s Mill on the 14th inst. This intelligence will cause widespread grief as the deceased was an exceedingly popular lady and leaves a large circle of friends and relatives to mourn her untimely death.
About two weeks ago, she came to Nashville in her buggy to consult Dr. Carter. She had fever at that time, and doubtless the ride in the hot sun was bad for her.
In spite of all that medical skill and loving hands could do, she sank steadily until death came on the night of the 14th.
Mrs. Moore died from a complication of diseases.
Our sympathies are tendered the bereaved ones. – Nashville South Georgian.