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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

Location, Location

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

The following two newspaper stories are why you want to search for more than one document providing evidence of an event. As you will see both stories provided different locations of where Gladys King died. One states she died at Oakdale Sanitarium in Oakdale, Iowa and the other states she died at home in Burlington, Iowa. If you are not from Iowa it’s about a 45-minute drive between locations in 2018.

Why and how could the stories give two very different locations? First you want to think about why someone would be in a sanitarium. It was not because of a mental issue which comes to mind today. No, the full name of the place where Gladys died was Oakdale Tuberculosis (TB) Sanatorium. At the time of Gladys death if someone in your family had tuberculosis most likely the family didn’t want it getting out. My mom recalls hearing a story about her great uncle Theodore Jones getting TB and being housed in a shed behind the house. Second, you want to look at when the news stories were published. The story listing Oakdale as the death location was done a day after Gladys died. Whereas the story listing Burlington was done sixteen days after her death. Third, you also want to see where the story was printed. The story listing Oakdale, Iowa ran in the Burlington newspaper and the other story listing Burlington, Iowa ran in Missouri in her hometown newspaper. Again, why the different locations? There were probably rumors in Burlington that Gladys was in the TB sanatorium whereas her hometown possibly had no such rumors. The family still wanting to keep their secret and taking her body home for burial told the hometown paper she died at home. Through information I found Gladys was being buried in New London, Missouri where the family lived before coming to Iowa. This led me to check for information about Gladys death in local newspapers around New London thus finding the contradictory death locations.

“Gladys King Succumbs,” Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-eye, 6 August 1925; State Historical Society of Iowa-Iowa City.

Gladys King-colored-funeral-services
“Gladys King,” Ralls County (Missouri) Record, 21 August 1925; Hannibal Free Public Library, Missouri.

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