Tag Archives: Dr. J. N. Hurty

Smallpox Epidemic, Part XVI

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-31 (Smallpox epidemic)CRY FROM FORT BRANCH
Clerk of That Place Wants
Mount Vernon Quarantined.

Says There Are Over Two Hundred
Cases of Smallpox in Po-
sey County.

Dr. Hurty, secretary of the State Board of Health, received a letter from the city clerk of Fort Branch yesterday, demanding the State Board of Health to at once quarantine the city of Mr. Vernon, Posey county, as there were over two hundred cases of smallpox in that place. When asked what action the board would take in the matter, Dr. Hurty said that at the present time the board would not interfere in any way, because the local health board at Mr. Vernon was doing everything within its power to check the disease, and the State Board of Health was only needed in the localities where the people refused to protect themselves. Sixteen new cases of the disease were reported from Greene county yesterday, and Dr. Cole, the local health officer, has written the State Board that he is having a lot of trouble with the local physicians, who insist on diagnosing the disease as chickenpox. Two new cases were also reported from Owen county, near Coal City. The health officer of Owen county writes that at least 60 per cent of the people in the county have been vaccinated.

The health officer at Waldron, Shelby county, reported yesterday that in the family of Barbara Thibo there were eight cases of typhoid fever, two of which have resulted fatally.


Several Cases Developed, Infection
Coming from Clay City

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
LINTON, Ind., Jan. 30. – The prevalence of smallpox at Clay City has caused uneasiness among the people of this vicinity and fears have been entertained that the disease would finally appear here. The expected has taken place, for in the last five days no less than ten cases are reported. At South Linton and Island City cases are also reported. The doctors are having all they can do to vaccinate those who volunteer, but so far no actual enforcements of the law have been made. All the infected houses have been quarantined and every precaution is being taken by the health officers to confine the disease to the present victims. Persons direct from Clay City have been arriving here almost daily, and a strict quarantine against that point will be enforced from now on.

State Normal Student Has Smallpox.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Jan. 30. – Richard McCloskey, of South Fourteenth-and-one half street, a student of the Indiana State Normal School, has smallpox. The house is quarantined. It is said to be a mild case. McCloskey had not been in his class since last Thursday and the Normal authorities do not think there is danger of an epidemic in the school. A case of smallpox was reported from Honey Creek township but when investigated was found to be eczema.

“Cry From Fort Branch,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 31 January 1900, p. 6, col. 3; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part XV

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-30 (Smallpox epidemic)STILL CAUSE FOR ALARM

Dr. Hurty Continues Apprehen-
Sive of Smallpox Spreading.

New Cases Reported from Clay City,
Where the Authorities Have Be-
come Aroused Over Situation.

Dr. Hurty said yesterday that his smallpox mail was just as heavy as ever and he was still very apprehensive of the disease spreading. E. B. Laughlin, he member of the State Board of Health who went to Campbellsburg Saturday to investigate reported cases of chicken pox, supposed by the State board to be smallpox, sent word to Dr. Hurty yesterday that the disease was really chicken pox, and chiefly attacked the children.

Four more new cases of smallpox were reported from Clay City, but the health officer says they are not to be attributed to any negligence on the part of the authorities, as everyone in Clay City is working hard to abate the plague, there being absolutely no opposition to the orders given by the health board. There were also four new cases reported from Jackson and Benton counties, two cases from each county. Dr. Beckes, of Vincennes, write Dr. Hurty that in Illinois, directly across the Wabash river from Know county, there is an awful epidemic of smallpox raging, and that the Know county health board is quarantining against it.


Everything Possible Is Being Done to
Stamp It Out.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
CLAY CITY, Ind., Jan 29. – Now that Clay county is aroused to her needs in connection with the smallpox situation, no effort is being spared to stamp out the disease. Hundreds of persons have been vaccinated, and the quarantine is rigidly enforced. A place of detention has been secured for those refusing to submit to quarantine and this has operated to deter violations of the rules. Fourteen deputies patrol the streets, and care for persons under quarantine, besides guarding the approaches to the town. At Middleberg, a mile away, there are twelve or fifteen cases, and all through the neighboring country the disease is widespread, but everything possible is being done to stamp it out.

No Smallpox in Daviess County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
WASHINGTON, Ind., Jan. 29. – The report that there is smallpox in Daviess county is absolutely without foundation. County Health Officer McConn says there is no smallpox and no sign or immediate danger of any.

Why Not Test the Case?

To the Editor of the Indianapolis Journal:
At the present time there is a wide-spread opposition to vaccination, all over this country. A large majority of intelligent physicians believe that the ills of vaccination are not as bad as the smallpox itself. A large number of people seem to believe the reverse. Now, suppose we stop trying to compel persons to be vaccinated, and let smallpox have a chance for a year or two? “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” In the eighteenth century smallpox in France carried off annually 30,000, and in Prussia, 26,000. What if it did? Well, the people in those countries introduced vaccination and stopped completely the spread of that dread disease. They believe in the efficacy of vaccination now. Let us try the disease, pure, simple and unfettered, and see how we come out. A good many people will die, of course, but then we have lots of people this year. It may paralyze business for a time, but we can recover that by patience. When it is tried there will be fewer of the persons living who did not believe in vaccination, and those who survive will not be so handsome after the experiment.
Muncie, Ind., Jan. 29.

“Still Cause For Alarm,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 30 January 1900, p. 8, col. 5; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part XIII

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-28 (Smallpox epidemic)REGARDED AS SERIOUS
Dr. Hurty Says The Smallpox Re-
Ports Are Alarming.

In Many Parts of the State People Re-
fuse to Submit to Vaccination –
Specific Cases.

Dr. Hurty, secretary of the State Board of Health, said yesterday that he would not be surprised if smallpox became epidemic throughout the entire State. He said the people seemed absolutely indifferent to the disease, and not only did they refuse to be vaccinated, but in many cases they threatened with violence the very officer who was trying to throw a safeguard around them. Reports of smallpox and chicken-pox, which in many cases turns out to be smallpox, are being sent in to the State Board from so many different parts of the State that two stenographers are constantly employed in answering the correspondence. So much mail arrives in the morning that it becomes impossible for Dr. Hurty to wade through it before the arrival of the mail in the evening.

Reports were received yesterday that smallpox had again invaded Porter county, this time at Chesterton. In speaking of the report yesterday, Dr. Hurty said wherever else smallpox might appear in Porter county, he was quite sure that it would never be heard of again in Valparaiso, because the people of that city had strictly observed the rules of quarantine established by the State Board. He said it was one of the few places where there was a general inclination to submit to vaccination. To bear out his statement that the people in the infected districts would not submit to vaccination, Dr. Hurty read a letter received yesterday from the health officer of Washington county, who reported that 90 per cent of the people in that county refused to be vaccinated, and when he insisted the people would threaten him in such a menacing manner that he was compelled to leave them. He said the situation in Washington county was very serious, and believed the people would only awaken to their danger when the death which has already occurred was followed by others. He said that certain physicians who have been antagonistic to the State Board ever since the disease was first diagnosed as smallpox, were advising against vaccination and declaring the disease was not smallpox.


Word was also received yesterday by the State Board of many cases of chicken-pox, which is supposed by Dr. Hurty to be smallpox, in Campbellsburg. The disease in this place is prevalent among the adults. Dr. E. D. Laughlin, a member of the State Board, who lives at Orleans, a short distance from Campbellsburg, will visit Campbellsburg to-day for the purpose of diagnosing the disease.

Another severe case of the disease is reported from Brownstown. The special officer of the State Board of Health employed in Clay City reported yesterday that a case of hemorrhagic smallpox had appeared in the family of a Mr. Shannon, who lived in Clay City. Dr. Hurty said the disease in this form was almost certain death.

President Swain, of the State University, and the members of the State Board of Health deeply regret a dispatch in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, credited to an Indianapolis correspondent, which stated that the university would be closed on account of the prevalence of the disease among the pupils. Dr. Hurty said yesterday that he could not imagine how such a statement could have ever been made, as there never was any intention either on the part of the authorities of the university or of the State Board to close the university.

Many appeals are being made to the State Board for vaccine matter for the poor in the districts infected with smallpox, but as the law provides that the county shall be required to pay its own expenses for the enforcement of health laws, the State Board is unable to comply with the request.

Smallpox Near Princeton.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
PRINCETON, Ind., Jan. 27. – Four cases of smallpox, in the worst form have developed near Haubstadt, south of here. One case is within a hundred feet of a schoolhouse, where the children have been attending school up to this time. The county health officer is making a full investigation and will establish quarantine. The community is terrified, as the nature of the disease was not suspected.

“Regarded As Serious,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 28 January 1900, p. 8, col. 2; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part X

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-25 (Smallpox epidemic)SMALLPOX SITUATION.
Rumors of a Case at Alliance Investi-

Dr. J. N. Hurty, secretary of the State Board of Health, received word yesterday morning of three deaths which have occurred from smallpox. Two of the deaths occurred in Washington county and one in Posey county. Another patient, smitten with the disease, is reported dying in Owen county.

Dr. Hurty said yesterday he had received a report of a new case of smallpox in Worthington, Owen county, and he was inclined to believe that an investigation would show that it was not the only case there.

The health officer of Clay City reported yesterday that all the cases which had been quarantined were doing well, and that the quarantine regulations were being generally observed.

Dr. Ridpath, secretary of the County Board of Health, was sent to Alliance, a small town six miles northwest of this city, yesterday to investigate a supposed case of smallpox, but on his return last night reported that the patient was attacked with a case of blood poisoning.

A telegram received by the State Board of Health yesterday from Bloomington states that there were five cases of smallpox among the students of the Indiana University. Dr. Hurty will make an effort to get official returns from that city.

Veterans Will Be Vaccinated.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
MARION, Ind., Jan 24. – As a precautionary measure against smallpox it has been decided to begin a general vaccination at the Soldier’s Home. Surgeon A. D. Kimball, assisted by Dr. Scott, began on the colored members in barrack No. 1, which has several new acquisitions lately. The home authorities will prepare for any emergency, and, if necessary, will establish a rigid quarantine.

“Smallpox Situation,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 25 January 1900, p. 4, col. 7; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part IX

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-24 (Smallpox epidemic)STATE BOARD INDORSED.
Resolutions Adopted by the Marion
County Medical Society.

The Marion County Medical Society held its regular monthly meeting last night and there was some discussion of the smallpox situation in the State. Dr. Cline offered the following resolution, which was adopted, to be presented to Dr. J. N. Hurty and the members of the State Board of Health:

“Resolved, That the Marion County Medical Society extends to Dr. J. N. Hurty and the State Board of Health its hearty approval of their efforts to prevent the spread of the prevailing epidemic of smallpox throughout the State.”

Dr. Loren Hyde read an interesting paper on “Anesthetics: Chloroform or Ether. Which is Preferable?” This subject opened a lively discussion and it seemed to be the voice of the surgeons present that in certain cases chloroform was the proper anesthetic while in other cases either should be used.

New Cases in Clay County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
BRAZIL, Ind., Jan. 23 – Five cases of smallpox are reported from Ashboro and vicinity to-day, and some new cases have developed in Clay City, notwithstanding the quarantine. The secretary of the City Board of Health, Dr. Glasgo, has given orders for everyone to be vaccinated at once to prevent the spread of the disease to this city. Seven hundred tubes of virus have been purchased by physicians here.

Dr. Modesitt Is Doing His Duty.

To the Editor of the Indianapolis Journal:
The imputation of some newspaper correspondents that the health officer here, Dr. Modesitt, is disregarding the quarantine order, needs to be refuted. I think I reflect the opinion of 99 per cent, of the citizens when I say the charge is untrue. The doctor has five assistants of sterling character, and, together, they are doing their best to prevent the spread of the disease (co-called smallpox.) Every house where it exists, or where it is supposed to exist, is promptly quarantined, and every suspected case kept in. Every person known to come from infected neighborhood is closely scrutinized and questioned, and if suspected is given order to go in and stay in till further orders. Dr. Modesitt is to[o] well known in this county for any of the citizens to believe he would neglect so important a trust. No safer man could be found for the position.
Clay City, Ind., Jan 23.

“State Board Indorsed,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 24 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VIII

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-23 (Smallpox epidemic)HEALTH BOARD MEETS
And Takes Measures To Fight
The Spread Of Smallpox

Dr. Hurty’s Action Is Indorsed by the
Board-New Cases in Different
Parts of the State.

The State Board of Health was in session all day yesterday discussing the smallpox situation. Dr. Hurty, secretary of the board, gave the other members of the board an account of the action taken by himself in behalf of the board, dating from the time of the first outbreak in Clay City. The board indorsed everything done by Dr. Hurty and then called upon Governor Mount to ask his approval of the immediate purchase of vaccine virus, to be paid for out of the state contagious disease fund, which in case of need is to be distributed to the local health boards of the various counties in which the disease is raging.

The Governor gave his consent and urged the board to do everything within its power to prevent the further spread of smallpox. The board also passed a number of general orders which will endow Dr. Hurty, in case of need, with the right to command the assistance of the county health boards. Heretofore he could only implore the people to protect themselves, as it required a general order of the State Board before action could be compelled of the county boards.

Seven new cases of smallpox have been reported from Clay City since yesterday morning, but considering the many cases it is to be expected. A rigid quarantine is being maintained and every road leading into the town is guarded to keep people from either entering or leaving. The feeling of indignation against Dr. Hurty seems to have subsided, as the president of the Clay County Medical Society, Dr. Felix Thornton, made a special call on the State Board of Health yesterday for the purpose of expressing his approval of the work done by the State Board of Health in Clay county.

Dr. C. E. Ferguson, who was sent by Governor Mount to investigate a suspected case of smallpox at Morton, a small town in Putnam county, yesterday, returned last night and said he visited the home of Thos. Nelson in company with Dr. G. W. Bence, secretary of the County Board of Health, where they discovered that Frank Nelson, aged eighteen years, had smallpox. The local officers immediately established a quarantine, and every available physician has been kept busy with patients who want to be vaccinated.

Dr. A. W. Brayton, who was sent to Miami county to investigate some reported cases of smallpox, returned last night with the report that the disease there was nothing more than chicken-pox.

Rigid Measures to Control Smallpox
in Washington County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
SALEM, Ind., Jan. 22-The whole of Gilson township in Washington county is quarantined. A wire is stretched across each road and guards patrol the highways. There are still a few new cases of the so-called smallpox, but they are very mild, and there are no serious cases. There is one case at the home of Willard Nichols, four miles northeast of Salem, thoroughly quarantined and guarded. The Friends’ school, which is the county high school, one mile nearer town that the Nichols place, has been closed. People are being vaccinated, though there seems to be no great excitement or fear.

Two Cases in Sullivan County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
SULLIVAN, Ind., Jan. 22-Two cases of smallpox have appeared in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Otis Bledsoe, who live eight miles northeast of this city, are afflicted with well-developed cases of the disease, which was contracted in Clay county where Mr. and Mrs. Bledsoe visited some time ago. A strong quarantine has been established.

“Health Board Meets,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 23 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VII

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-22 (Smallpox epidemic)VERY FEW NEW CASES
The Smallpox Situation In Dif-
ferent Parts Of The State

Dr. Hurty Says the Disease Is Yet in a
Mild Form-Cases in the City
-At Clay City.

Dr. J. N. Hurty, of the State Board of Health, in speaking of the smallpox conditions last night said that a number of new cases had been reported to him from Putnam, Clay and Miami counties and that in his opinion the conditions were becoming serious. “You might as well say,” said he, “it is going to be everywhere. Might as well locate it everywhere in the State, for that is what it is coming to.” He said all precautions necessary were being taken to prevent the spread of the disease, but the people, and especially those living in Clay county, think on account of the present mild form of the disease there is but little danger and that they are at liberty to carry the disease wherever they see fit to go, with no regard for the quarantine. A large majority of the cases reported have been traced to Clay City. One case at Peru and another from Putnam county reported yesterday were in families members of which had recently come from Clay City.

“The death rate,” said Dr. Hurty, “will be greatly increased this year. Possibly not from deaths by smallpox, which is now of a mild form, but from the after effects, just the same as with the grip.  You know people used, seven or eight years ago, to laugh at the grip and the papers were full of cartons on the subject. But during the last few years they have learned that the grip in no joke. In fact, it has been shown to be more fatal than a number of other diseases more dreaded. It will be the same with smallpox. I think, though, the people will understand this after awhile and we will get it stopped.”

Dr. Hurty said he had been advised yesterday that a doctor in Vanderburg county had been fined there a day or two ago for not reporting a case of smallpox to the Board of Health.

In Indianapolis there have been no new cases reported. A. C. Burnham and wife, of 330 North Beville avenue, were removed yesterday from their home to the contagious pavilion at the City Hospital, where they will be cared for better than at home. The house was closed and will be disinfected to-day. It will then be disinfected two or three times and the quarantine raised, thus relieving the city of the expense of keeping up the quarantine. Burnham and his wife have the disease in a very mild form and as it was found soon after breaking out it is thought few exposures resulted and there will be no new cases develop from this source.

City Sanitarian Clark said the matter of building a pesthouse would be presented to the city authorities this morning, with rough plans of the building, which will, as now considered, accommodate thirty to fifty patients and it is thought the necessary permission to use the grounds will be given. The contagion pavilion at the hospital, which is not connected in any way with other wards at the hospital, will accommodate at least twenty patients.

Drs. Hurty, Clark, Ridpath and Ferguson, who were called upon to investigate a case in the home of a man named Leffingwell, on Linwood avenue, near Michigan street, reported yesterday that the afflicted child had chickenpox instead of smallpox.

Smallpox at Clay City.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
CLAY CITY, Ind., Jan. 21. – Health Officer Dr. Modesitt has had considerable difficulty in trying to keep smallpox suspects off the street, but with the aid of deputies he is getting them pretty well under control. The doctor is working day and night to secure the enforcement of the order and the people, with a few exceptions, are aiding him in the attempt to confine the disease to places where it now exists.

A few new cases are being reported, but mostly in localities where it already existed. The older cases are all reported better and but few are confined to their beds. No deaths have occurred. All outgoing mails are being disinfected. Every precaution is being taken to prevent the persons who have the disease and those from houses where it exists from going to the postoffice.

Five cases just east of here, in Owen county, were reported to Dr. Modesitt this morning and he reported them to the Spencer Health Board. A few cases have been reported here from Centerville, Jasonville and from the country west of here four miles. As far as heard from they are all mild cases.

Refuse to Get Excited.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Jan 21. – Terre Haute physicians and public at large refuse to be excited over the reports made by the Indianapolis doctors of the spread of smallpox in this part of the State. The physicians say there have been cases of chickenpox here and that one case, now isolated, may be smallpox, but they believe that it is not true, as asserted, that all of the cases at Clay City could have been smallpox. It is possible that the appearance of smallpox and chickenpox is a coincidence. Reports have been received from many places near here of chickenpox, and in some instances it has been so prevalent that schools were closed for lack of attendance.

Smallpox in De Kalb County.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
BUTLER, Ind., Jan 21. – A great many cases of smallpox have developed twelve miles south of this city. Members of the Tracy, Bishop and Furnace families are down with the disease. Hicksville, O., physicians have had charge of the cases and failed to report them to the Indiana authorities. Much excitement is manifest.

“A Few New Cases,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 22 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VI

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-21 (Smallpox epidemic)SMALLPOX SITUATION

Mild Case Discovered on Be-
Avenue, This City

Dr. Hurty Speaks of the State Board’s
Dilemma-New Cases in Vigo

A case of well-defined smallpox has been discovered at 330 Beville avenue. The person attacked is A. C. Burnham, a former resident of Clay City, who visited that town a short time ago, and is believed to have contracted the disease while there. Yesterday morning his face was broken out with an eruption which Dr. J. F. Robertson, the family physician, at once diagnosed as smallpox. Dr. Robertson immediately reported the case to the Board of Health, and Dr. C. E. Ferguson was sent to investigate. He pronounced the disease to be a genuine case of smallpox, but said it was of very mild form. The house has been quarantined, and as no outsiders have been exposed to the disease, no apprehension is felt that it will become epidemic.

Dr. Fergusson said yesterday that if Mr. Burnham’s condition became serious, he would be removed to the pavilion for contagious diseases in the City Hospital as there is no pesthouse for such cases in the city.

The probable need of a pesthouse has awakened the City Board of Health to immediate action, and a joint meeting of the Board of Public Works and the Board of Health has been arranged for to-morrow night, at which time plans will be discussed for the erection of a pesthouse on the City Hospital grounds.

Dr. Hurty, secretary of the State Board of Health, received a letter from Dr. Mayfield, health officer of Washington county, late last evening, in which he stated that he had just returned from a two day’s trip through the northern part of Washington county, the same territory in which Dr. Robertson, of this city, diagnosed the supposed cases of chicken-pox, as smallpox. Dr. Mayfield confirms Dr. Robertson’s diagnosis, and says that he insisted on vaccination, but the people were to [sic] incensed because he had diagnosed the disease as smallpox that they indignantly refused to permit him to vaccinate them. He added, that as the people would not protect themselves he was compelled to establish a quarantine, which he would maintain for a period of two weeks, or until the period of incubation had passed.

Dr. Hurty also received a letter from Dr. Talbott, health officer of Vigo county, who says he has found several new cases in Terre Haute, and in none of these cases has a doctor been called. A rigid quarantine is being enforced and he particularly calls attention to the service that is being afforded the local Board of Health by the officers of the Evansville & Indianapolis Railroad Company, who have given orders that all coaches passing through the city of Terre Haute must be disinfected, and has instructed the conductors not to carry any passengers suspected of having the disease. A communication to the Indiana State Board of Health from the State Board of Health of Illinois says that it finds itself in practically the same position as the State Board of Health of Indiana. Dr. Johnson, a member of the Illinois board and a resident of Champaigne, Ill., was sent by his board to investigate an eruptive disease which was raging in the southern part of Illinois, and narrowly escaped being mobbed because he diagnosed the disease as smallpox.

In speaking of the dilemma of the State Board of Health, last night, Dr. Hurty said he could not understand how the citizens of this country could be so foolish. Said he: “In ignorant and superstitious Spain when the people were attacked with the dreadful scourge of cholera, they mistreated those who brought them succor, but who would have thought that almost the same conditions would prevail under similar circumstances in the advanced state of civilization supposed to prevail in this country? Nevertheless, it is true, and if the authorities did not pursue a determined course in this matter, there is no telling where it would end. There has been a great deal of comment on the fact that this disease is of a mild form, but these very people who laugh and sneer because some one is not dying every day, would be the very first to change their tune if they knew that there was not a single case of the mild form of smallpox, but what is attended with various disorders afterwards, that in many instances result in the death of the person attacked. They may die of brain trouble, kidney trouble, lung trouble or liver trouble-it doesn’t may any difference: the fact still remains that their death, if it should result fatally, lies at the door of the mild attack of smallpox.” Dr. Hurty said he predicted that the death rate for this year and next in the State of Indiana would be higher than ever before.

Diphtheria in Randolph County.

The troubles of the State Board of Health are coming thick and fast. Dr. Hurty received word yesterday that diphtheria was raging at Ridgeville, a small town in Randolph county, and that the local Board of Health was having the same trouble with the citizens of that town as has been experienced with the smallpox situation in Clay and other counties. Several days ago the citizens of the town sent to Richmond for Dr. Wiese, a specialist in diseases of this sort, and when he diagnosed it as diphtheria they became very indignant and refused to accept the diagnosis and refused to accept the diagnosis as being correct. As a consequence no quarantine has been established and the disease is very likely to spread.

“Smallpox Situation,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 21 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4-5; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part V

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-20 (Smallpox epidemic)BACK FROM CLAY CITY

Dr. A. W. Brayton Says It Is Smallpox

-From Salem

Drs. A. W. and Nelson Brayton returned last evening from the smallpox-infected districts of Clay county. “It is genuine smallpox,” said Dr. A. W. Brayton. “There is no question about it. True, most of the cases are very mild and there will probably be few deaths, but there is no denying that it is smallpox. The people are paying little heed to the orders of Dr. Hurty, and are carrying the contagion from house to house.”

A Contagious Rash

Special to the Indianapolis Journal

SALEM, Ind., Jan 19. – County Health Officer Mayfield went to Gibson township yesterday and telephones that he has found sixty-four cases of the so-called smallpox. The disease started at the little village of Lesterville, and has spread all over the west and south side of the township. It began before Christmas and has been spreading ever since. It was treated for chicken-pox, and is believed to be that. Patients are sick but a few days, and it is very much unlike smallpox. There have been no deths and no very serious cases. People about Lesterville were not disturbed about it until the state health officers called it smallpox. It was believed to be, and probably is, a contagious rash.

“Back From Clay City,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 January 1900, p. 8, col. 1; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part IV

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-19 (Smallpox epidemic)CLAIM IT IS CHICKEN-POX

Residents Of Clay City Indig-
nant Over Dr. Hurty’s Report.

Details of Some of the Cases-All of
the Persons Attacked Recovering,
and None Causing Alarm.

To the Editor of the Indianapolis Journal:

In your issue of Jan. 16, space is given to a sensational article headed, “In an Epidemic Form,” in which many conditions are reported that are without foundation, and, in fact, there are but few statements that have even the shadow of the reality about them. First, it is stated that the disease appeared only a few days ago in a small mining town of six or seven hundred inhabitants. Now, I do not believe in suppressing any real facts regarding this epidemic, and the people of Clay City are not only willing, but anxious that the true facts be made public. What we do object to is such sensational, false and seemingly malicious articles, as the Journal published Jan. 16. Therefore, we wish the commonwealth of Indiana to be apprised of the real facts and ask the Journal to give a public a place to this article as was given the damaging falsehood in the issue of Jan. 16.

The facts are as follows, and every statement can be supported with unimpeachable affidavits: Clay City is a thriving little city of from two thousand to twenty-five hundred inhabitants, and the disease which exists here has been in epidemic form since October. Herbert Wiltse, a boy some ten or twelve years old and a son of W. C. Wiltse, an attorney, attended a street fair in Washington, Daviess county, and was attacked with an eruptive disease soon after his return. Dr. C. H. Wolfe was called, and, after a careful examination, pronounced the case chicken-pox in a light form. This is the first recorded case. Some are reported weeks before where no doctor was called. The disease spread rapidly, both among young and old, some having considerable fever and chill, while others experienced no inconvenience whatever.

Pardon me for referring to my own family, but in it I can show the working of the disease. On Dec. 12, 1899, my daughter, Ruth, aged twelve years, was attacked with headache, chilly sensations and some aching of the body. On Dec. 16 she was completely broken out, and as soon as the eruption appeared the fever abated and never returned, and she felt no more inconvenience, except from the itching sensation.

On Dec. 29, Emma Hayman, a domestic in my family, was taken very much in the same manner, and the history of one case very closely fits the other. On Jan. 1, 1900, our babe, then nine days old, broke out thickly with the disease, but if she was ever sick or had any fever from it we failed to detect it, and as far as we could judge she experienced no inconvenience until the scaling off, when she was fretful until we would anoint her body, showing plainly that itching was the only trouble. When the babe was only eight days old my wife was attacked with chill and fever of extremely short duration, then the eruption. Of these four cases, three had had chicken-pox and my wife had been successfully vaccinated. This is the history of 99 per cent of the cases. Vaccination does not affect it and the fact that one has had the chicken-pox cuts no figure.

In the Journal of the 16th it was said “the local Board of Health became alarmed and telegraphed Dr. Hurty.” I personally interviewed the board, and Dr. Modesitt, who is the secretary, stated positively that the board had not sent for the state secretary at all.

The local physicians have not been, and are not now, in the least alarmed. It was also stated that “many of the cases have assumed the confluent form, which proves beyond doubt the identity of the disease.” In fact, there has not been a solitary case of the confluent form, and we defy Dr. Hurty to show to any intelligent physician who has had any experience whatever, a confluent case. We admit that some of the cases have been very thickly broken out, but the pustules have not in a single instance united their contents, or, in other words, there has been no confluence of the eruptions. There has not been a case where the least concern has been felt as to the prognosis.

It was also stated that “when the citizens became aware that it had been diagnosed smallpox they became frantic and began packing their effects preparatory to leaving the town, but they were too late, as the quarantine was too strict.” This is erroneous in each and every particular. I think I am safe in saying that 90 percent of the inhabitants ridicule the idea of smallpox and hoot at Dr. Hurty as an “alarmist and fake.”  If there has been a solitary case of fright it has failed to come to light. Some indeed declare they will not stay at home. Others believe the infected houses should be quarantined, but in no case has any fear been displayed. The statement of a quarantine is also untrue, as none exists and none has been ordered. On the day of the issue in question a public election was held in Clay City for the purpose of voting on the appropriation to the C., B. & T. H. Railroad. If a strict quarantine existed think you a public election could be indulged in?

You state that all mails are disinfected. That is also false, as postmaster C. C. Fesler had heard nothing of it until the evening of Jan. 17, when I asked him regarding it. Dr. Hurty did not even advise the quarantining the members of families where the contagion exists, but said to Dr. H. C. Wolfe to let them go about their work unless they themselves were attacked.

Dr. J. N. Hurty came here, visited a few cases and pronounced it not smallpox, but modified smallpox. Dr. Wolfe asked what he meant by modified smallpox, and what do you think his answer was? It was this, “I don’t know.” Dr. Wolfe said, “Our people have not been vaccinated to any extent, and therefore vaccination has not modified the disease, and that is the only modifier I know of for smallpox.” All the worthy official Dr. Hurty would say was it was modified smallpox, and when the local physician asked regarding the accepted medical authorities he said, “Unfortunately that is their mistake, and they will have to take that out of their books.” In his estimation Dr. J. N. Hurty is the only authority. Now, when Hurty comes out to teach the local boards, why does he not give a reason? Why does he not treat the local physicians with some respect? At the depot he stated that Dr. Wolfe and Dr. M. A. Freed had never seen smallpox, when it is a patent fact that four of Dr. Wolfe’s cases, treated some years ago, were discussed with him by Dr. Wolfe. He also said Dr. Modesitt and Dr. Freed admitted their mistaken diagnosis and were now convinced that it was smallpox. Neither made any such admission and Dr. Freed said to me last night in an interview “I think yet, just as at first, that it is chicken-pox.”  Have the people of Clay county any right to doubt Dr. J. N. Hurty as authority? The people of Clay county have no confidence of his diagnosis of disease, but we are willing and anxious that each infected house be strictly quarantined and no member be allowed to leave the premises until a “bill of health” is granted by the Board of Health.

We also do not want our local physicians to follow the example set by Dr. J. N. Hurty. He visited cases of the disease, and, with only washing his hands in some disinfectant, went to the school building, then filled with children, also to the Free Methodist Church, also in session, in the same clothing and not disinfected, also to the hotel and thence to other towns. We want our physicians to use every precaution. We also wish to say to the Journal, do not publish such articles as the one in the issue 16th inst. Unless you can substantiate them. You have done our little city an injustice which you cannot wipe out. Dr. J. N. Hurty, if he used the statements accredited to him, has well nigh criminally falsified regarding the epidemic.

Dr. Wolfe said to me, “Say in your article it is not smallpox, but chicken-pox. Dr. Hurty can, because of his office, make me do as he says, but until he produces some authority and some argument he cannot make me believe the disease is other than chicken-pox, and I have treated smallpox and I have had varillold fever.” Dr. Freed stated “I think now, as at first, it is only chicken-pox.” Both physicians favor isolation of families where the contagion exists.
Clay City, Ind., Jan. 18.

[Everything that has been published in the Journal concerning the smallpox scare at Clay City was based upon information furnished by the State Board of Health. – The Editor.]


Nine New Cases of Smallpox Have
Been Reported.

The State Board of Health received word yesterday of nine new cases of smallpox in Vanderburg county, which were said by the local health officer to have appeared since the first of the month. The board also received word that there were many new cases in Clay county, one or two cases of which are said to be very serious.

The fact that the disease has broken out again proves conclusively that the quarantine regularions are not closely observed. Dr. Hurty said that the disease was now prevalent in fourteen counties of the State, which includes the counties of Greene, Washington, Jackson, Clay, Noble, Vigo, Vanderburg, Delaware, Madison, Sullivan, Owen, Posey, Floyd and Clark.

Dr. Hurty received word yesterday from Washington county that the quarantine had been raised in that county, as the disease had been thoroughly stamped out by a rigid inforcement of the quarantine laws. The State Board of Health is doing every thing possible to master the epidemic and Dr. Hurty said yesterday if the infected districts would help themselves by observing the quarantine regulations it would not be long before the disease would be under control.

“Claim It Is Chicken-Pox,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 19 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4-5; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).