The Great White Plague

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Two days ago I published a piece about Inge-Va in Perth. Excavations carried out from 1987-1994 recovered approximately 50,000 artifacts, 15,000 of which came out of an abandoned privy. This pit contained over 350 china objects and 280 glass objects. Items recovered from the privy include 10 different sets of tableware, 280 bottles, 71 wine glasses, 108 pharmaceutical and toiletry bottles, 16 chamber pots and seven toiletry sets. These items were discarded in an attempt to rid the house of tuberculosis. These objects provide a unique insight into how medical threats were addressed in the latter part of the 19th Century. An estimated 110,000 died each year from tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death in North America in the early twentieth century. Those infected with tuberculosis were isolated from society and placed in sanatoriums. These self-contained communities became known as “waiting room[s] for death.” The initial application into the sanatorium acknowledged the possibility of death. On the entry application, there was a question about permission to perform an autopsy. The autopsy acknowledged the possibility of death. The staff encountered death and had to maintain composure in the sanatorium environment. The staff was restricted from telling any patient about the death of another patient. The poor were left to suffer, and in many cases, to die. Their bodies must fight off the infection on their own.

 

Canada’s first TB sanatorium opened in Muskoka, Ontario in 1897. TB sufferers were sent to sanatoriums to be benefit from rest and fresh air and to avoid infecting others.

 

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Author’s Note- In the 40s my mother had tuberculosis at the age of 14 and was sent to the Ste. Agathe Sanitorium in Quebec. Her parents were told she was never coming back so they consequently burned everything she had because of either fear of being in contact with the disease- or the fact they were told she was going to die.

She went on to live until 1963 when she died at the age of 34 from Lymphoma on the spine-which no one had any idea to what she had until my sister died of the same disease at 40 in the late 90s.

 

RELATED READING:

Smallpox in Carleton Place — Did You Know?

 

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Memories of Orde: The Video

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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