182 BRIDGEWATER,  

[Transcribed by Arthur Richardson]

Keith, who died at his own house April 12, 1778, aged 61, and has been since removed to the old yard at the Unitarian church; Capt. Benjamin Sprague, who died March 31, 1778, aged 41, and who has been since removed to the Trinity church grave-yard; and the third grave is that of a child, unknown.   The old Wm. Dunbar house was used for a pox-house at the time of their deaths.

   The Hon. Nathan Mitchell died of small-pox in his own house, then standing where Dr. Lowe's barn now stands, March 2, 1789, aged 59, and was buried in the northeast corner of Dr. Lowe's house-lot, near the guide-post; and since removed into the old grave-yard near the Unitarian church.

   Several persons have died with small-pox, and it is not known where they were buried.   Such as

   Levi Edson, died Jan. 20, 1777; Bristol, negro, died June 16, 1777; Nathaniel Simmons, died Nov. 24, 1777; Jeremiah Washburn, died April7 , 1778 [sic]; Abigail Conant, died April 8, 1778; Marshall Washburn, infant son of Eliab Washburn, died April 12, 1778; Hannah Washburn, died April 16, 1778; Daniel Dunbar' schild [sic] died April 30, 1778.

   Leonard Shaw, son of Dr. Samuel Shaw, died Dec. 10, 1788, aged 11 months, buried in the old yard at Unitarian meeting-house.

   Thus making a list of twenty-five deaths by small-pox from 1777 to 1793, most of whom were buried on private ground.   Other deaths from this cause did, no doubt, occur during this time, and probably some before 1777, and some since 1793.

   In November, 1801, the small-pox broke out in Titicut.   Many people had been exposed.   The dwelling house of Jeremiah Keith, east of the Turnpike, with a large building near by, were fitted up and assigned by order of the Selectmen, for a pox-house, to which a large number of persons, tradition says fifty or more, went, then having, or expecting to have the small-pox.   A Dr. Southworth, from Mattapoisett, was employed to attend the sick, and to reside at said house.   There was, at that time, a great want of faith in the efficacy of vaccination.   The late Dr. Samuel Shaw, of this town, had faith in its prevention of small-pox, and for a test he sent to said hospital his two daughters, Hannah, then aged 20, and Sarah, then aged 5.   Hannah had had the small-pox by inoculation some years before, and Sarah had been vaccinated, and they remained in the hospital long enough to decide the question that vaccination was a preventive of the small-pox.

   No persons died at this hospital, though several were very sick; and this was the last general alarm of the small-pox in Bridgewater.   We have had an occasional alarm, and a few single fatal cases.

 

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