Heard some talk about birth control in the news today. Whatever you believe, here is a story about a couple in the 1880-1900 time frame that illustrates the need for birth control in certain situations.
Claudius Summerlin and Flora Long married about 1881. Their first child was born 19 Aug 1882, named William Gaines. He grew up to marry Maggie - they were living in Mount Olive on Center Street in 1930. The next child was James. He was born in May 1885 and died in Aug the same year. The third child (that I know of) was Arthur K born Aug 1889 and lived until 1961. The next child was Floyd. He was born in June 1891 and lived until August. Next born was Claudius, who lived 15 months, from November 1892 until February 1893. Claudia lived about 1 month, in Jan-Feb 1892. Another little girl was born 30 May 1896. She was Fannie Isabel and lived 3 months. Then came Eugene, who lived almost exactly one month, May - Jun 1904. Flora was 45 years old when Eugene was born. The evidence for the dates of the above children is their headstones in Maplewood Cemetery. They are scattered around the Summerlin plot, probably being fit in between some of the adults.
In the 1900 census, Flora stated that she was the mother of 10 children, with 2 living. In 1910, she was the mother of 13, with 2 living. Since my information only includes 8 children, another five were born who did not live. Since Flora had had 10 children by 1900, she lost another four between her marriage and 1900. She had had three more children by 1910, all three of whom must have died.
My assumption is that there was some genetic or congenital abnormality which kept these children from surviving. Claude and Flora were lucky to have the two boys live to adulthood.
Claude Summerlin is my step-great-granduncle. [He is the son of the first wife of my g-g-grandfather.]