Friday, August 5, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Small Pox Epidemic Cancels 150th Celebration

The following article appeared in the Vermont Tribune Cavendish: 12 Oct., 1911: Small Pox Scare in Cavendish at the Kingsburys: — “By reason of the discovery of four cases of what was pronounced small pox in the family of H. S. Kingsbury, living just below the village of Cavendish [they lived on Chubb Hill on the old Chubb-Peck farm] the committee in charge of the 150th anniversary celebration of the founding of the charter of that town, decided after consultation with the state authorities, to postpone that event indefinitely.

There is nothing at all alarming about the situation, but precautionary measures were deemed wise, and so were adopted promptly. The local health officer, Dr. Buxton, reports the matter well in hand and ever precaution being taken so that no further outbreaks are looked for. The school on Tarbell Hill is temporarily closed.” —[more under same date]

“A well-developed small pox scare has taken possession of our town and at this writing after thorough examination by the board of health, we have four well defined cases with a greater number under suspicion. As a result of this, the board of health and the committee on the celebration met in conjunction and decided that the celebration must be called off and that all cases will be places in charge of Dr. Edward F. Hodges [of Indianapolis, Indiana, whose summer home was the former Ely place— Glimmerstone] ...who is in our community for his vacation and who is an expert and specialist on this disease.” — [more under same date]: “A short time ago Miss Marietta Kingsbury attended camp meeting in Lakeport, NH where she contracted the disease. It was not until Monday of this week that the family became aware of the nature of the illness. Dr. Buxton our health officers was called. He immediately pronounced the disease small pox and sent for Dr. Caverly of Rutland who arrived Tuesday and concurred with Dr. Buxton’s diagnosis.

At a meeting of the committee in charge of the celebration Tuesday evening it was thought best to give up the whole affair. Although from the village there are many people with whom they have been associating before they were aware of their condition, so a quarantine will be necessary.

At present Miss Marietta Kingsbury is recovering. H. S. Kingsbury, Alfred Kingsbury and younger daughter are ill. Dr. Buxton feels confident in Dr. Hedges, as he, his wife and mother, Mrs. Martha Buxton, and Mr. Conklin left Thursday for a week’s stay in New York.” — 19 Oct., 1911: “The Kingsbury family are all gaining.

There are no new cases of smallpox yet, although Dr. Hodges fears the disease may develop in Frank Hewey, a schoolboy who was living at Ira Belknap’s and in one of Clarence Belknap’s little daughters, as these two children are ill, but not as yet broken out. However their vaccination is not working. All the other people who were exposed and then vaccinated are in quarantine and their vaccinations are working well. Dr. Hodges very kindly offered to take charge of the cases of smallpox and look after the quarantine free of all expense to the town and also to save our local physicians for their usual practice. Remembering the fact that the one smallpox case in Proctorsville eight years ago cost the town $700, Cavendish ought to be very grateful to Dr. Hodges and consider itself fortunate to have such a man for a citizen, do all we can to encourage him and urge more of the same kind to locate among us.”

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