Disease Has Broken Out at Fuoss Mills.

June 1918

For three days a lack of appetite, nausea and fever ravaged his body. On the morning of the fourth day after getting out of bed he looked at his arms and there they were. The dreaded red spots, they were all over him. The forty-five year old rushed to the phone. “Hello, Dr. Forrest, this is Charles McFarlane in Fuoss Mills. Can you come right over I’m very ill?”

“Yes, I’ll grab my bag and be there in ten minutes.”

Dr. Forrest made the ten minutes drive from Bellwood in five.

He rang the door bell, Charles opened it. “Thank you for getting here so fast, please come in.”

As he stepped through the door a large number of people were milling about the house. “Oh, Charles why are all these people here?”

“They live with me. Family.” Dr. Forrest shook his head.

“This isn’t good. Where can I examine you?”

“Come into my bedroom.” After looking carefully at the patient.

“Charles, I’m going to call another doctor. I want a second opinion to be sure my diagnosis is correct. May I use your phone.”

“Yes, it’s on the wall by the kitchen door.”

“Hello, Dr. Findley. This is Dr. Forrest, I’m at the McFarlane’s in Fuoss Mills. I need you to come down and give me a second opinion of what this disease might be. I’m hoping it’s not what I think it is.”

“Yes, I ‘ll be there as soon as I can.”

Fifteen minutes later he arrived from Altoona. After much discussion the physicians were fully satisfied that the disease was smallpox.

As word spread throughout the community, located a short distance from Tyrone, everyone was in panic mode. The house and all twelve occupants were put in strict quarantine and were required to stay in the home and not leave for any reason.

The friends and family who had come in contact in any way with the McFarlane’s in the past month were required to be vaccinated plus burn and destroy their clothes.

The Doctors made a statement to the local press to ease the hysteria of the small community. “This case is a mild form of the disease, steps we have taken will keep it from spreading. Blair County health authorities are also taking precautions to, confine it to this town.”

In a couple of weeks Mr. McFarlane completely recovered and life soon went back to normal, in Fuoss Mills.

Thank you for Traveling With Me.


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