Mary Eliza Brown went first. The stalwart mother of the family slowly weakened and died in December 1883.
The burden of cooking, washing, cleaning and caring for her siblings fell to the eldest daughter, Mary Olive. She was only a teenager herself, but quietly got on with what needed to be done. That was what she was like.
Those in the community remembered her as a modest, shy person. Her compassion was noted, as was her gentle demeanor.
Yet even these attributes couldn't save her. They were supposed to. God should have protected people such as her.
Maybe it had been the fact that her family were not church-goers. She didn't even enter a chapel until a month before she died. But that wasn't too unusual. In the remote agricultural districts of Rhode Island, it could be a long trek to make it to a Sunday service. There was always too much to do around the farm. The majority of those families could be unassumingly Christian at home without the intervention of a preacher.
Mary Olive Brown was already showing signs of wilting before her mother had even passed. As she labored to console her bereft young brother and sisters - and support her father as she could - she grew ever more pale.
The cough came. It grew gradually from an occasional spasm into an almost constant hacking. Her whole body shook under it. Handkerchiefs moved from spotted to covered with blood. Her lungs were retching the stuff.
It was more desperation than holy conviction, which saw Mary Olive rise from her bed and take the long journey to the chapel. She sat in its congregation for less than a month, then she was too ill to make it there and back. Christian visitors came to her instead. They prayed over her bedside.
Mary Olive Brown passed her twentieth birthday fading under her symptoms, but she wouldn't see another. She died on June 6th 1884, less than seven months after her mother, and she was buried alongside her.
Everything died down then. George Brown must have watched over his remaining children with utter anxiety. But Edwin, Annie, Mercy, Hattie, Jennie and Myra all seemed healthy and well. Devastated by their losses, but physically fine.
Until 1891, when the symptoms reappeared with a vengeance.