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Scourge-cursed

Scourge-cursed image
Parent Issue
Day
5
Month
December
Year
1884
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

A special to tho Louisvillo CourierJournal, dated Washington Nov. 22 givos the followÍDg details of tho awfn! horror which has swept with irresistiblo forcé ovor portions of West Virginia and Kentucky. That our readers inay fully oomproliond tho situation we givo the letter in full : A gentleman who has just made í trip through tho countios of Mercer anc McDowoll, West Virginia, Russell, Wiso and Buchanan, Virginia, anc Scott, Harían and Floyd, Kentucky. says tho scones witnessed were boyom doscription. For nearly three months no rain has fallen. Thograsswas burned up. The crops aro n total failure Nearly evory creek, spring and wel was dry. Thero was scafcoly any water in tho north and middle forks of the Holston river. Msiiden Spring creok is simply a dry gulch, aud the Louisa fork of the Big Sandy is a succossion o: brackish puddles iiï the hollow of its rocky bed. In tho town of Mt. Pleasant but one well contain3 water. Tho citizens of Saltville csrry water for nearly two miles. For the post six weeks A DKADLY JPLAGUE has swopt this wholo scction, aud at least 1,000 persons, in a population not exeeediog 15,000, havo died. Cattle and livo stook by hundreds have died. The disef.se is similar in mon and boast. It begins with a griping pain in the storoach, followe'l Dy excossive fover a bloody flux, accoinpanied with voniiting, and then dcath. Tho sickness raruly lasts over a day, but depends on the strength of tho individual attacked. The country is extremoly rough, and most of the peoplo live in cabins up the hollows in tho mouatains; many are remoto froru neighbors and whole families die alono and are loft unburied. The devastation on Mocasín creek is particularly awful. About thirty familios resido a distanco of oight miles on its banks. Of the 180 persons in them, over 100 havo diod. Ptvjsicians are not to bo had, and the 'simple remedies of the natives provo powerless. Mr. Abbott relates one very sad case. The family of Abraham SmalJey consisted of tive persons. The youngest, a child of 2 years, was found dead. The little chüd had evidontly died last, and in its avful hunger had noarly torn off its mother's breast. Food is about oxhausted, and the pcople aro living on barks and herbi. Flour is unknown, and commoal sells f jr $8 a barrel. Tho milis cannot grind, and. if thoy could, thero is no corn. Gladesville, Ky., is almost depopulated, and a graveyard is aboul all that remains of Lobanou. THE IMMEDIATE CAUSE OF TUE DISEASE is supposcd to be the presenco of a great quantity of mineral matter in the watov, causod by tho long drouth and ovaporation. In five counties there is not l,0G0 bushols of corn nor 100 head of Hvo stock, and the tobáceo erop is absolutely nothing. Potatoes do not average ton bushels to tho aero. Thorft is no gamo in the mountains, and conimunioaiion with tne outside world is by tho most tedious rnethods over mountains and rocky passes. Information f rom Lynchburg, Va., on tho samo subject is to tho following effect: Tho counties suflering f rom tho now and fatal diseaso boforo reported are Lee and Diekinson and the edge of Scott, in Virginia, and Harían, Leo and the adjoiniug counties in Kentucky. Owing to tho isolatod position of tlio district particulars aro hard to obr.ain. Hundreds iro sarJ to have died, and, allowing for pxsggeration, it can bo aftirmed that the morality is largo. Postol Clerk Wells, who has just arrived from that section, after having had the disease, gives a sad account of the epidemie. He attributes it to a mineral poisou in the droutu-dried wator, and iays a strong and disagreeable mineral taste, liko that of copporas, exists. At tho time ho left, few springs were flowiog freely and the peoplo wero compc'llod to drink thi3 iinpregnated water. Although the namo of tho disease is unknovvn, the peoplo cali it cholera, and wero it so it could not be moro droadod or disastrou3. THE SYMPTOMS ARE DESCRIBE!) as similar to those of Asiatic cholera, followed bv terrible homorrhages in the bowels, and thoso attackod oither dio or recover in about a week. It is frequently fatal in 24 hours, and pometimes in a much shorter period. In most in stancus it visits an entire familj', and it is considered so contagious that in somo casos persons die alone, their frionds being afraid to go to them. There are no figures reprosenting the actual mortality, but is estimatod that ovor 300 have penshed in tho V'rginia countios narned, and, considering the sparso population and the number takon, the percontago is largo. At tho late election Ihe number of deaths considerably affected the majoritios at tbe various precincts, and thirty new graves were'counted in one small cemetory. As one result tho poople are demoralized and local business interesto suffer A like scourge visited this soction in 1854 Tho country which is extremely mountainous, is of high elevatiou abovo the lovel of the soa. Cattle are also dying ia tho same section. Gonoral rains have fallen in this state for two days past. It is probable that the drouth in the infectod región is now endod. A special from Charleston, W. Va., in regard to the same matter says: 'Information received hero from Perryvillo, McDowell county, thifl state, near tho Virginia border, givos a friohtful account of the ravages of the diseaso in tho extrémeme southwestern countios of Virginia and the adjoining territory of Kontucky. TFIE LOSS OF LIFE has already been appalling, while tho condition of the survivors is terrible In the extreme. No rain has fallen in the Cimiaurland mountains, in which tho infected district is situated, for tour months, tho drouth ontailing not only tho almost total failure of the crops. but tho cutting off of tho supply of water over a wido aroa. LMfficulty was expèrioncod in obtaiuing water for stock as oarly as tho middle of August in somo localities, but no actual suffering nccurred among the inhabitants until about the ond of September, when the ordinary sources of supply having for the most part failed, the rnountaineers wero compelkd, in order to sustain life, toobtain wator for housohold noeds from what were known as "poison" (mineral; springs in the mountains, or from the small amouiit romaining in the deep holes of the beds of creeks. A persistent uso of tho water soon devoloped a peculiar diseaso, as deadly as Asiatic cholera in its nature, which has since raged with terrible fatality over half a dozen counties in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, the loss of lifo thus far being variously estimated at from 400 to 800. Among children and adults weil up in years the mortality has boon tho greatest, but no class has been exempt. In a number of instancos, ospecially aloEg the fords of McLoan's ereek, a tributary of tho Big Sandy rivor, and in the valloy of tho Powoll river, emptying into tho Tonnessee river, WHOLE FAMILIES HAVE PEK1SHED; while in numorous other cases but one or two mombers of a household survive. Few recovered from the disorder, 60 to 90 per cent. of those attacked dying, this being accounted for by tho fact that puro water is still unobtainable, and that, proper food and med ical attendanco can not be had. Tho (irying up of tho streams nccessitates tho stoppage of numerous small gristmill8 along the ruountain valleys, and the population for the most part appears to be in the most abject want and misery. A special from Wheoling says of the general sickness in Southern West Virginia: "A letter reoeived in this city today from a representativo of a lumboring firni who havo been buying tim hor in tho oxtrome southern part of this state and in the alllicted portions of Virginia confirms tho worst reports sent out concerning tho epidemie and drouth that havo boen effecting tbat section. Forest lires were frequent, and the villago of Ferry villo was totally destroyed, only a fow isolated houses remainiDg. The people would gladly leave, but have no means. lleiief committees are organizing in som of the largor villages, and an appoal for food, clothes and me iieine will soon bo made. AMONG THOSE WHO SUFFER MOST are the nrinisters. Thoyare nearly all partiallv provided for by the missionary boards of the churches they ropresent, but at best this is only a scanty addition to tho still scantier support given by their poor parishioners. Living as they do in ronted houses without a foot of land on which to raise food, without a dollar, excopt what is giyen them,they iiroto-day tne moslwretcned of the miserable, starving people there. Their wives and cbildren are dying of starvation, but still they stick to their posts, and aro roally the only nursos in the scourged section The writer tel Is a touching story of tho devotion of a i Methodist missioDary minister residing at Gladisvillo, a bmall hamlet in the Cumberland mountains. His family consisted of a wife and three children. His salary is $250 por annum; half of this camefrom tho Missionary Society. In three months this devoted man has reneived but $40, and he had but $10 when tho plague bogan. With his hands ho prepared for the graves (which he hituselt dug) the bodius of his wife and two children, making cofllas of rude boards. He said the simple burial service, and was the only moiirncr. üay and night hohas labored withoui ceasing, actiug as nurse, physician, preacher, undertaker and grave-digger, and still refuses to leave his field of labor. His name - and it is a hero's name - is Rov. Josoph Emmons.

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Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat