Small pox break out
Aug. 26, 1844
Earl Wheeler was 42 years old when this was written.
The recipient, William Jessup, was 47 when it was received.
Earl Wheeler died 29 years, 4 months, 4 days after writing this.
It was written 175 years, 27 days ago.
It was a Monday.
August 26, 1844
Your letter of the 23rd instant was received today.
The small pox has prevailed in Honesdale, thus far only to a limited extent. It is confined to one house, that of John Kelly on Second Street far down towards the lower bridge. The public houses, stores, places of business are seats exposed. The disease first broke out on Smith Hill (Berlin) some miles from here. A young lady coming within the influence of the contagion came to Kelly’s in Honesdale was taken down and went through a regular course & finally got well and was recovered out of town. Next I heard of two new cases at Kelly’s but one of them I think proves to have been the effect of vaccination. The other case, that of McConyn a brother of John Kelly’s wife proves to be a pretty severe case, being what the physicians’ call semi-confluent, i.e. confluent or running together upon the face. He has been at times wild and deranged but on enquiring with his nearest neighbors today, I learnt that he is slowly recovering. I have not been able to see Doct. Graves, the attending physician today and I have therefore to speak from other authority.
On the first breaking out of the small pox here there was panic enough to impel nearly or quite all to vaccination as a measure of prevention. That done the subject ceases to disturb the minds of our citizens insomuch that I noticed to day women and children in the contiguous houses to Kelly’s attending to their ordinary reactions and apparently unmindful of the malady.
I learn however that an empiric in town some two or three weeks ago inoculated for the small pox 15 persons on Smith’s Hill, but due measures of precaution having been taken as to these cases, I learn they are doing very well. I do not know that time enough has elapsed to determine whether the contagion from those cases will enlarge its circumference. No deaths has occurred from the small pox so far as I have learned. One [?] man by the name of Cressman died of vaccination which he applied to his own arm.
I do not think that the law going public of Wayne will be likely to pay much attention to the existing contagion in its present circumscribed extents. All the usual preparations are being made for action and causes of actions and we should now find it difficult to convince them that anything is more to be dreaded than delay in the administration of justice. I think the universal feeling is that we must have a court.
I will add as to the matter in Pike Co. (in which I sent you the copy of pleadings) when I was about to make my rejoinder presenting the facts a little differently from those contained in the replication the agents of my client arrived from Savannah via New York showing me a note from adverse counsels in the city that the cause was settled and to be discontinued—
I remain very respectfully your friend & obed. Serv.