It’s not easy to imagine that our ancestor’s travelled a distance for health reasons. But tuberculosis was accompanied with the fear of rapid spreading. Isolation from the general public was necessary. To understand your ancestor’s removal from the household, you may need to understand the process of treating tuberculosis in the early 1900’s.
The Road to Better Health
According to the Missouri Rehabilitation Center website “a diagnosis of tuberculosis often meant impending death and the only known treatment for it was fresh air, sunshine, nutrition and bed rest. To keep the disease from spreading, patients were isolated from society.”
The website continues to explain the disappearance of our ancestors from the home. “Diagnosis of tuberculosis took six to eight weeks and because there were no medications to treat the disease, patients confined to the sanatorium spent months or years away from home. Reinfection was common and often necessitated a return to the hospital.
Drugs were developed in the 1950's that effectively controlled tuberculosis. Patients were able to go home sooner and were usually able to be treated in their local communities.”
With the control of tuberculosis, the Missouri State Sanatorium buildings were used for other services:
By narrowing a date of hospital admission, you may be able to follow progress your ancestor's progress in the local (home)newspaper, especially if he lived in a small community.
The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia, Mo has a collection that researchers will not want to miss. The Stark, Lloyd Crow Papers, 1931-1941 has five folders of Sanatorium related documents:
Visit the Missouri Digital Heritage website to see additional photos of the Sanitorium.