Small Pox swept village in 1908

pg 35 A peep into the past by Gordon and Belle Hall 1990

There were not too many buildings in evidence in Cochrane in a picture taken in 1895. The Anglican and Catholic churches are in the picture., along with a few houses, and the building where MacKay’s Ice Cream is located. The Murphy House or hotel is in the picture, along with about eight 10 other houses. 

From this point until the first world war, was boom time for the little village. Around 1900 the Orangemen from the Orange Lodge #1813 built the hall that the Rebekah Lodge had. This hall was used for many years for dances, concerts, minstrel shows and many other activities. The lighting for the hall was gas lamps. These lamps hung on the wall and with copper lines were fed from a pressure tank. Kerosene lamps were also used. 

In 1908 a smallpox epidemic hit the village, and going through the old council minute books, I find council ordered a supply of tents from Calgary. The tents were erected down near the Bow River and the smallpox patients were all put in isolation there. Whoever looked after the patients were not allowed near the town, and foodsstuff and medicine was left near the compound. May be a tough way to do things, but smallpox was very deadly. 

Medical Record 1916 E. Davies No smallpox scars

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1 thought on “Small Pox swept village in 1908”

  1. So interesting! I like to pursue family history research and in reading Newcastle on Tyne newspapers from the early 1800’s, I found discussions about the mandatory vaccination of the poor, and reports on how smallpox patients cared for in the hospitals would have public health workers visit their abodes to burn their belongings and scrub the dwelling with bleach to try and control the epidemic spread. I was also surprised to learn that if the patient survived smallpox, the community would provide them with new clothing and blankets to replace those burnt. The close quarters of the English city made quarantine hard to enforce.


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