I came across a similar story doing family research. James William Mann was born April 20, 1859 in Sterns County, Minnesota and died October 19, 1908 in Cortez, Florida. He was a carpenter and boat builder and moved to Cortez in the 1890s from Longboat Key, Florida. His father was one of the earliest settlers on Longboat Key and lived in a crude house made of palm tree branches.
|Thomas Mann House|
James Mann married Elizabeth Vashti Sauders on January 20, 1889 and their son Harry Thomas Mann married my grandmother's first cousin Addice Eugenia Wilson.
The story is that James was very fond of eating raw shell fish and from this developed a disease that killed him. His entire body was infested with the worms. He told people he first knew something was wrong when a small nodule appeared on his arm that itched. He opened it with a knife and a tiny worm crawled out.
He went to Tampa for treatment but they didn't know how to cure him or keep it from spreading and he died soon after.
They folks in Cortez packed his body in a big tin box full of ice and laid him out in the front yard. They took him to Bradenton for an autopsy which was preformed by Dr. Hubbard Gates.
Robert King, a physician who wrote a history of the area said it was done in the drugstore. The autopsy showed the cause of death as "proliferating custode larvae in man."
James Mann was buried in the Major Adam's Cemetery in Bradenton, just a few rows away from my Wilson family members.
I first heard the story in a 1993 interview of my mother's cousin Doris Adams Green.