Sunday, February 26, 2006

Smallpox in Confluence

In From Blakes and Riffles Going Back To The Seventh Generation,
Click here to go to a collection of Orlando, WV histories. At the left
Lee W. Blake tells us the tale of two railroad workers, "Olvia Stuttler" and "James Skinner", who were caught up in a smallpox scare in 1898. At that time, Ovie Merlin (O.M.) Stutler, 24 years old, who would marry Ennie Riffle, came down with smallpox. Although James Skinner, the 22 years old son of Perry Scott and Emily Jane (Posey) Skinner, was with him and therefore quarentined with O.M. for most of the year, James never came down with smallpox.

To the right is Lee Blake with his wife Civilla. Belw left is O. M. Stutler a few years after he recovered from smallpox. See Lee's story in the March '07
entry Lee Blake – Orlando Lumberman & Genealogist

Here is how Orlando historian Lee Blake remembered the events.

The worst scare I rember was small pocks in 1898 Olvia Stuttler of shady brook, and James Skinner, both of Orlando, W.V.A. I think it was still called Confluence, at that time Stuttler and Skinner, was workin at Cowen or Camden on Gauley. Stuttler got the small pocks thay run off and got on train so they locked them in and run them to Flatwoods and left them locked up tell the sherif and members of board of helth could get there from Sutton. Stuttler had broken a window, was out when thay got there. All was afraid get close to them. These officers come armed with shot guns. Stuttler was very sick laying in the snow. He had to do what thay told him. When he under stand thay was trying to help them. Thay put in a old house above the Orlando cemetery and kept them about all winter. Skinner never taken the small pocks that was the reason thay were kept in so long. I knew two other famileys had small pocks no one died in this community. Clover Fork Creek is the line betwen Braxton and Lewis and thay had gards to keep you from one county to the other. It hard to get to the store or gristmill. The first few days was the worst.

Thay locked the mail train to the rail at Burnsville. Finly let it thrugh.

I have knowen of three cases of Polo one death this all happend in a radis twenty mile square a long the lin betwen braxton and lewis county not more then ten mile deap in Either County.

1. Following are the other diseases Lee remembered.
Here are the disease i rember so well from 1890 to the present Typhord fever 22 cases 6 deths six cases of Diphtheria four death. Three famileys of twenty childern all had scarlet fever some was very bad one death in the twenty cases four famileys. Chicken pocks no deaths; wasent very bad. I remember two famileys seven children each. All had what they called the black french measles. This was bad no one died. There has bin menny cases of mumps no one died

2. James Skinner would marry Dora Parmer. Their children included, among others, Cecil who married Kate Riffle and Necie who married Ed McNemar.

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