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Excerpts from the Interior Journal Interior Journal Friday August 29, 1873
Cholera News Noticeable Features of the Disease at Lancaster A Few Faithful Men and Woman Have Mastered the Situation. Lo! The Poor Doctors About Thirty Deaths Recorded. Lancaster, August 17th, 1873. Correspondence Interior Journal. Lest the extreme terror of your good people of Stanford should reach the verge of desperation, and in their demoralized state the town authorities should pass an ordinance for wholesale suicide, emigration to the North pole, or some other desperate measure to escape the cholera, I deem it my duty to write you a brief articled giving the facts of the case here, and assure you, if you can keep your drunkards from guzzling too much rot gut whisky, keep cool, and have your Doctors stay with you, there is not so much danger after all. We have had but two deaths in our town since Sunday, although there have been several cases which have yielded to medical skill and kind nursing, and while we do not consider ourselves free from the scourge, yet it has assumed such a modified type, that we feel much relieved. Notwithstanding the theory of eminent men that cholera is propagated through the atmosphere, our experience here has been that no case has occurred from waiting on those affected by the disease or from atmospheric poison. On the contrary, we believe that nearly every case can be traced to the use of the water from the ravine or marsh on the East side of Lancaster. A man from the infected region of Tennessee, died near this ravine, from whose excretions the water is supposed to have been poisoned. This water was used by a large portion of the negro population and many whites, hence the wide spread prevalence of the disease. Another noticeable feature of the disease is that, so far as we know, not a single healthy, temperate, well fed person, under proper treatment, has died; but the mortality has been among the dissipated, indolent, illy fed, and those who failed to secure prompt medical aid. We, looking upon the disease in the light of those facts, have ceased to regard it with so much apprehension, and our citizens are beginning to consider themselves masters of the situation and think they will soon be relieved. Probably one cause of the greater fatality of the disease and the extreme alarm of our citizens arose from the fact that most of our physicians, terror stricken, skulked off in the very hour of extremity. These medical gentlemen may not rejoice that their physical man is unhurt, but if the sentiment and feeling of the people of Lancaster are of any value, their reputation is so blurred that it will take many a long day to wipe out the stain. The soldier who must falter or sicken when the strong ramparts of the enemy are to be stormed, had better seek some more congenial calling. But all praise is due to Doctors Pettus, Jackman, and Hill, who nobly stood their ground and were untiring in their exertions. Doctors Berry and Wilson came to our town from Louisville and did noble service. X.
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