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Bringing out the dead in San Antonio

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1 Bringing out the dead in San Antonio on Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:15 pm

"There are several other matters I wish to bring to the notice of the City Council. One amongst many is the practice of carrying the dead bodies in open coffins through the midst of our streets and thoroughfares. This--I may term a heathen or Indian practice--has been very offensive to a larger portion of our community, and should be prohibited by the city authorities. Some three years ago the writer brought this matter to the notice of the principal Catholic priest, as the spectacle, during the calamities of the cholera, in 1849, was most disgusting. To witness daily several ghastly corpses carried about in open coffins in the first stage of corruption and putrescence was, of itself, a serious cause to generate sickness--particularly during the summer months. The gentleman who had the control here at that time (the Rev. Mark Anthony) showed every disposition to prohibit and put a stop to the above nuisancical [sic] practices--however, to the regret of all overs of salutary improvements, the Rev gentleman was shortly afterwards [sic] removed from San Antonio, and the pracitce is still followed to this day, as may be witnessed almost daily."

Ledger, May 12, 1853


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Annette Bethke
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