The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy


Distressing Results Following Vaccination—A Young Daughter of David McHardy of Fergus, the Victim—Has Suffered the Most Intense Agony —Doctors Failed to Help her. 

Author’s note–This story about Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills has flashed by me a few times and today I decided to investigate what happened to this young woman who had such a “miraculous cure”. Before the internet, maybe it would not be such an easy access, and what really happened to young Jenneta Lena McHardy of Fergus, Ontario might have never come to light. Another voice asking for their tale to be told?

Almonte Gazette June 18 1897

From the Fergus News-Record

Nearly every person in this section is acquainted with Mr. David McHardy,
the popular leader of St. Andrew’s church choir, Fergus, Ontario. Our reporter called upon Mr. McHardy at his home in Upper Nichol recently, and from him and his estimable wife a tale of terrible suffering was elicited, suffering that has brought a once exceptionally strong and healthy child to the verge of the grave.

The subject of the sketch,(Jeanette)Lena McHardy, is fourteen years of age, and her parents say she has not grown any since her illness began some two years and a
half ago. Her terrible suffering dates from the time she was vaccinated in June, 1894, and what she has undergone has aroused the deepest sympathy of all the friends of the family.

In conversation with Mr. McHardy and his wife, the following facts were
elicited : “Two years ago last June,” said the father, “Lena was vaccinated by a doctor in Fergus. The arm was very sore and swollen all summer, and became so bad that it was a mass of sores from the shoulder to the elbow.”




In October 1894 a large lump appeared on her back, over one of the lungs. The doctor who vaccinated her treated her all that summer, calling very frequently, but the
medicine he gave her did no good and she was growing weaker and weaker.

When the lump broke out on her back another doctor was consulted, who said she was in a very bad state of health. Her constitution appeared to be completely undermined, and her appetite had completely failed. The last doctor called in gave some outward applications, and lanced the gathering, but it did not give the patient any benefit. Nine such gatherings have appeared since that time, but each broke and disappeared of its own accord, only, however, to be followed by another.

The child became very puny, and little or no food would remain in her stomach.
At night ‘She would fairly rave with the pain in her arm and back, and consequently her trouble was aggravated by a loss of sleep. She had the best of attendance but to no avail,and she was slowly but surely sinking.

Friends advised a treatment with Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills and as a last resort they were tried. To the surprise of both parents and friends Lena began to improve soon after beginning the use of the pills. Her appetite returned, she became stronger and her general health with Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills that her parents are looking for a complete cure.

Mr and Mrs. McHardy thank Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills  for the present improved condition of their child, as they have done her more good than the scores of bottles of doctor’s medicine which she took. Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills are a blood builder and nerve restorer. They supply the blood with its life and health-giving properties, thus driving disease from the system.

There are numerous pink coloured imitations, against which the public are warned. The genuine Pink Pills and can only be had only in boxes the wrapper around which- bears the fall trade mark,

“Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.” Refuse all others.

Author’s Note-

Yes, there really was a McHardy family and Lena was Jeannette Lena McHardy’s second name (she was Jenneta Lena McHardy in the ancestry archives).  Born September 12, 1884.  She died September 12,1898, a little over a year after this was in the newspaper. I looked up her symptoms and and she probably had a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. While the ferrous sulphate ingredient in the Pink Pills would have had a genuine effect against anemia–but they were no cure for cancer. Her cause of death listed was blood poisoning.





Almonte Gazette



Yes, there really is a McHardy family and Lena was Jeannette Lena McHardy’s second name (she was Jenneta Lena McHardy in the ancestry archives).  Born September 12, 1884.  She died September 12,1898 a little over a year after this was in the newspaper. I looked up her symptoms and and she probably had a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. While the ferrous sulphate ingredient in the Pink Pills would have had a genuine effect against anemia– they were no cure for cancer.

Name Jenneta Lena McHardy
Event Type Burial
Event Date 1898
Event Place Fergus, Wellington, Ontario, Canada

Birth Date 12 Sep 1884
Death Date 06 Feb 1898
Affiliate Record Identifier 61538055
Cemetery Belsyde Cemetery

Birth: Sep. 12, 1884
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada
Death: Feb. 6, 1898
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada

Daughter of David McHardy & Annie Thomson.Birth record shows first name as “Janitta Lina”; death record shows it as “Jenneta Lina”; gravestone shows only “Lena”

Death record shows date of death, Feb. 6th; stone carved Feb 8th.

Cause of death: blood poisoning, 14 yrs.

Family links:
David McHardy (1847 – 1937)
Annie Thomson McHardy (1859 – 1932)

Jenneta Lena McHardy (1884 – 1898)
Roy Marshall McHardy (1889 – 1969)*
Lloyd Moffatt McHardy (1893 – 1976)*

*<span class="fakeLink" style="color: #000088; text-decoration: underline;" title="header=[  Reverse Relationships:] body=[This relationship was not directly added to this memorial. Rather, it is calculated based on information added to the related person’s memorial. For example: if Joe Public is linked to Jane Public as a spouse, a reciprocal link will automatically be added to Jane Public’s memorial. ] fade=[on] fadespeed=[.09]”>Calculated relationship

Belsyde Cemetery
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada




David McHardy, the youngest son, who succeeded his father on the homestead, married Annie Thompson and their family included George, Stanley, Roy, Lloyd and Jeanette. (Lena). If you look her up on she is listed as Janetta Lina MchardyGeorge McHardy
George McHardy arrived in Upper Nichol in 1835, when he purchased the farm of Donald Wallace. A native of Perthshire, Scotland, his wife was Margaret Marshall, and their family was composed of James, George, John, Edward, David, Catherine, Margaret and Agnes.

Roy McHardy, who married Viola Allan, had a grocery store in Fergus, and also engaged in the milling business, while Lloyd McHardy, who married a daughter of J.B. Chalmers, was a successful hardware merchant in Fergus.
The following item appeared in the Fergus News-Record of November 1, 1900, under the heading of “Coffee and Peanuts”:
“Who would have believed that fully matured coffee and peanuts were grown within a mile of Fergus this past summer. Well such is the case and the grower of same is David McHardy of Nichol”.
When David McHardy left Nichol, his farm was purchased by James A. Martin



Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People–

There’s another big-business remedy, this time originating in Canada. “Dr Williams” was a brand name, and the pills were manufactured by George T. Fulford of Brockville, Ontario. Born in 1852, Fulford went into the patent medicine business in 1886 and four years later bought the rights to the Pink Pills recipe from Dr William Jackson for $53.01. The Pills arrived in Britain by 1893, and the company had premises on Holborn Viaduct, London.

The Pink Pills included ferrous sulphate, so they would have had a geniune effect against anaemia, but they were weaker and far more expensive than the ordinary iron pills commonly prescribed by physicians.

Fulford, who was appointed to the Senate in 1900, used an “advertorial” style to promote his products. The ads, like the one below,  appeared to be news stories reporting a miracle in some distant town – the miracle always turning out to be a result of someone taking Dr Williams’ Pink Pills.

In 1905, Senator Fulford had the dubious honour of becoming the first Canadian to be killed in an automobile accident, but his company remained in business until 1989.–The Quack Doctor


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (US



It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset

Did You Know Who was Cooking in Back of Lancaster’s Grocery Store? Dr. Howard I Presume! – Part 3

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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