It's not likely that those who attended this ill-fated family reunion back in 1898 found the outcome as entertaining as I did --- but time heals all sorts of things, including upset stomachs.
The major player was Dr. Albert L. Yocom Sr. (left), who had relocated his practice and family from Newbern to Chariton nine years earlier, in 1889. It was his son, Albert L. Yocom Jr., who built Yocom Hospital and after whom Yocom Park is named.
Here's the report, from The Chariton Patriot of July 14, 1898:
"Dr. A.L. Yocom received the intelligence last Friday from his wife, visiting in Wapello, Ill., that she was going to attend a family reunion last Saturday. The doctor thought he might attend also, so he departed for the appointed place last Friday.
"He partook, with the relatives (about twenty-five in number), of an elegant and bountiful dinner. That night he was kept busy administering to the wants of about all who were present, he serving in his regular capacity as physician. The company was poisoned with cold meat that was served the guests, and all recovered from the effects of the poison.
"The doctor returned to Chariton, accompanied by his wife and two children, Monday morning."
He lesson here may be, if you're going to get careless about refrigeration when planning a family reunion menu, be sure to invite a physician.