Diphtheria took a heavy toll whenever it struck among the early settlers. Before the days of immunization when this ruthless killer swept through communities many dead were left in its wake.
Such a tragedy overtook the pioneer family of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Rheil of Rogers Mesa when diphtheria took the lives of two of their seven children.
So great was the fear of the disease that burial was in the “old cemetery” at night, by lantern light.
Old-timers in the area say that Ed Irving, then well known for his interest in horses, rode to Delta in one hour on his pinto pony to get medicine for the Rheil children.
Delta County Independent