In 1895, the Collinsworth family of Plano, Texas hosted a traveling salesman in their home. He left the next morning after mentioning he felt unwell. Unfortunately, the salesman was ill with smallpox and infected the family with the disease. First, one of the daughters fell ill and died, then more family members succumb to the disease. Although medical help was sought early, doctors did not have the knowledge to treat the affliction.
A cemetery was created on the farm for the deceased family members. When other relatives arrived to pay their respects, more were infected. It’s believed that more than 10 family members passed from the disease and were buried in the cemetery.
The city of Plano attempted to prevent the spread of the disease by quarantining an area from Spring Creek Parkway to Park Boulevard, and Preston Road to Coit Road. Plano also passed a resolution stating that all Plano citizens should be vaccinated against smallpox.
The cemetery was utilized until 1925 and it’s believed 30 Collinsworth’s family members are buried inside. Many of the stones have disappeared and perhaps are under the accumulated soil. Today, the cemetery is well-tended and peaceful. It also provides a reminder of the city’s history and the power of diseases.