History: Humbird - Small Pox Epidemic (24 Nov. 1934)

Contact:  Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Stallard, Mathews, Michael

----Sources: Humbird Enterprise (Humbird, Clark County, Wis.) Sat., 24 Nov. 1934

Small Pox Epidemic

Henry Stallard, town health officer, is one of the few remaining around these parts who recalls the small pox epidemic of the early ‘70s which put Humbird as an isolated spot on the map, and created a rushing business that winter for the undertakers and the old Wilson Cemetery.

When about to go forth to put a bright colored placard on the home of Jerome Mathews, whose son Orvil is the only victim of this "scare," Mr. Stallard reminiscence a bit about the epidemic which prevailed when he was a lad of ten or twelve winters. It appears a man named Pelzer came from the old country and contracted the disease on board ship. Being presumably ignorant of the trouble he ran wild (history repeats itself) and gave the country a good peppering before the sheriff was notified and placarded the premises. Mr. Stallard’s mother was the one who discovered the disease and reported it to the town board.

Before the epidemic subsided there was some twenty or more deaths. A public pest house was maintained in and old log hut on the property now owned by John Michael. Some fellow working in the logging camps would break out with the eruption, that night the tote team would take him to the pest house, and a few nights later the cemetery would get him. Mr. Stallard says that none of their family contracted the disease, although they lived across the road from the house of its incubation. But he remembers very distinctly the cow pox vaccination that was inflicted upon them.




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