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Deaton Family – Selig Cemetery, Pawnee County, Kansas

Selig Cemetery is unmarked. It is located on the east side of 330th Avenue between J Road and K Road, 1.5 miles east and 3.5 miles south of Burdett. The total number of individuals buried there is unknown and many of the headstones are not visible. However, there are five burials with the surname Deaton; three little children and their grandparents.

George, Bertie, and James were the children of Abram and Filena Deaton. Abram was born in Illinois. He was one of six known children born to James and Jane Goodpasture Deaton. While living in Illinois, Abram married Filena McCarty (b. 1844). They were blessed with nine children. The family came to Pawnee County from Richardson County, Nebraska about 1876.

Between May 28 and June 11, 1879, a diphtheria epidemic was raging through Pawnee County. At the time of their deaths, George was nine years old, Bertie was six and James was four.

The Deaton family remained in Brown’s Grove until 1889 when they moved to Pulaski County, Missouri. It seems that Abram had an illness in which climate change could ease his symptoms.

The other two Deaton memorials are the grandparents of the three boys. Grandfather James was born in 1804 in Virginia while Grandmother Jane was born in Tennessee in 1808. The two were married on November 2, 1830, in Illinois. Of their known six children, I was only able to locate Abram and James M. Deaton.

Records indicate that Grandfather James passed away in Illinois on November 29, 1842. The US Federal Census of 1880 supports that record as the document has Jane living in Brown’s Grove with Abram’s family. Cemetery records have James Heaton buried in Selig Cemetery.

Jane passed away on April 19, 1889. She was 80 years old. Abram and Filena loaded two covered wagons and headed to Missouri. Abram died in 1913 and Filena in 1933. They are buried in Pulaski County, Missouri.

The rest of the story: The other son I was able to locate was James M. Deaton. He enlisted as a Pvt. In Co. B 101st Infantry. He was wounded in battle and died on May 25, 1864. He is buried in the Marietta National Cemetery in Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia. Pvt. Deaton was 22 years old.

Note: Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that attacks the respiratory system. The throat and tonsils are covered by a gray thick coating which makes it difficult to breathe or swallow. Other symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, and wheezing. Diphtheria spreads easily through coughing or sneezing.

Today, all children under the age of seven, receive a DTaP vaccine. It protects children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis).


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