William M. Rushing and his wife, Genettia and their nine children lived in south Osceola. They were a poor family. In December of 1900, owing to impure water from a well, the Rushing family suffered from the ravages of typhoid fever. Three of their children died from the epidemic. Their little son Benjamin, aged one year, died from disease which the physician called inflammation of the stomach. A week later the eight year old daughter Bessie, died of typhoid fever and eleven day old Herbert died in 1901. Two other children were sick with typhoid fever, one of them seriously. Mr. Rushing and his wife were both affected but not seriously ill.
The Rushing family lived east of Whitebreast Road, immediately south of the railroad track. (The railroad went across the east end of the Grade Lake dam) Above the Rushing’s was located the McRea skimming station. (Site of Thomas Trail-east of Maple Hill Cemetery). Mr. Rushing claimed that the refuse from the creamery contaminated his well water and this caused typhoid fever, water contamination being one of the most frequent causes of certain diseases.
On January 24, 1901 Horton Bailey Undertaking filed a claim in the amount of $17.00 with the County Poor Fund for three coffins for William Rushing, pauper.
In November of 1901 Mr. Rushing filed a petition in the Clerk’s office claiming $10,250 damages from McRea Bros., creamery men, for the death of his three children and sickness of two others from an epidemic of typhoid fever.
The Rushing creamery cases were compromised by the McRae Bros., paying the plaintiff, William Rushing, the sum of $600.00. This was in settlement of his individual case and the three cases of his children who died of typhoid fever.
The McRae Bros., quit the creamery business here, selling their machinery to another firm, but as the new firm could not secure drainage except at great expense, the machinery was sold and Osceola was without a milk selling station. The turn in this matter was unfortunate for both the city and county.