December 1900 Ottawa Citizen
At the last meeting for the year 1900 the Carleton Place town council, Mr. McCue appeared in support of the claim made by Mrs. Lynch for reasonable compensation for the household goods that were taken from her premise by the health authorities last summer and destroyed, by fire, as a precautionary measure against the further spread of smallpox.
Roughly, the amount asked is about forty-five dollars. Councillor Edwards strongly opposed the claim, and no action was taken. Mr. Edwards said: “I would not give her a cent, not a nickel.” Mrs. Lynch said that Dr. Bryans, the medical health officer of the town, under whose direction her goods were destroyed insisted quite clearly that she would be paid for them.
Mr. Edwards said that the Town Clerk Peden assured him that Mrs. the Lynch wanted some things burned that he did not consider necessary to destroy. So there you are. To judge by the general expression of public conversation it would not seem that any reimbursement should made to Mrs. Lynch. However Mr. McCue pointed out that she was not to blame for the smallpox infection that was established In her house by the action, or possibly inaction of the authorities. The circumstances were quite exceptional to the fact that there was an emergency and her goods were destroyed for the general public’s benefit. The claim is said to be reasonably based and the consensus of opinion is that if the council enquired into the details of loss and paid Mrs. Lynch there would be no voice of dissent.
During the early 1900 smallpox epidemic here consisted raids on various homes suspected of having smallpox. Inspectors would going room to room looking for children with smallpox. And when they found them, they were literally tearing babes from their mothers’ arms to take them to the various pesthouses ( like Almonte or the Bridge Street pesthouse in Carleton Place)which housed smallpox victims.
Smallpox didn’t always directly cause death–but you could die from the fever that it caused, or bacterial infection because you had all these open skin lesions on your body. Some argue, however, that smallpox did not spread so easily and had to be acquired through intimate contact. Infected individuals were quarantined and belongings were either burned or cleaned until vaccinations became available.