Description of smallpox outbreak. Death of Charles Brouthaker.

Small-Pox in Alcona Township.
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One Man Has Died--Seven Other Victims to the Terrible Disease.
The surprising announcement, in this vicinity, last Saturday evening, that the small-pox was raging near Hubbard Lake, in the northwestern portion of the county, threw people into a lively state of excitement. No one in this vicinity had been made aware of the fact, or dreamed of the existence of the contagion in the county, until it had been announced that one man had died with the disease. The people in that portion of the county have been accustomed to do their trading, and other business not necessarily connected with this county, at Ossineke in Alpena county, that, on account of roads and distance, being a more accessible point for them, and perhaps that is how the Alpena people had cognizance of the location of the disease prior to our own people. We are indebted to the Alpena Argus for the following information explaining how the small-pox was brought into the county:
"It appears that one Frank Fifer came from Wisconsin a few weeks since, coming through this city, via Mackinaw, and proceeded to his half brother, Chas. Brouthaker, Hubbard Lake, in Alcona county. Fifer was broke out, and soon after his arrival, his brother, who was boarding with the family of Frank O'Dell, came down with the disease, and died on Friday last. Six children in O'Dell's family are also down with the malady, two of whom are now recovering, the other four being bad cases."
Of the condition in which the patients were first found by a physician, the Argus further says;
"Dr. Shelton, of this city, was called to see the patients last Sunday, and found them in a suffering condition. In the house, which is a small log cabin, he found the body of the man who died on Friday, he being so bad that it was impossible for any one to remain near him long enough to remove the body for burial, and thus it remains in the house unburied. In the house in another room is a young man very sick with the same disease, who could not be removed safely. Out of doors the doctor found two children, also very bad, and these he removed to the barn, where they were made as comfortable as the circumstances would admit. Fifer and two of the children, all of whom were afflicted but lightly, are now recovering. Mrs. O'Dell was absent from home, and was on Monday of last week confined; but last Sunday she walked three miles to the Cushman shanty, where she will remain and cook the necessaries of life for the afflicted, and send them across the lake."
In connection with the above, it would perhaps be well for us to state that the Supervisor of Alcona township, Mr. Adam Scarlett, was first informed of the matter Sunday night, and very early Monday morning he convened the Board of Health and took action in regard thereto. The Board immediately dispatched Mr. David Mulholland to the afflicted spot to note the condition of the patients, provide for their wants and comfort as far as possible, and then report progress. Mr. M. removed the patients to a lumber camp near by, and arranged things as comfortable for them as the surrounding circumstances would allow. He then, finding it impossible to bury the body of Brouthaker, set fire to the building and burned up it and its contents. The services of Dr. Shelton, of Alpena, were secured to care for the afflicted ones continually, until they may recover. He will remain with them day and night.
LATER.
The lumber camp to which the small-pox victims were removed, caught fire yesterday and was burned to the ground. Dr. Shelton succeeded in getting the patients out all right, and there being no other house or shanty near by to which they could be removed, they were taken to a cedar swamp, where he built a shelter over them out of bark, and arranged things as best he could with the limited conveniences at hand. O'Dell and Potts, who left the house and went into the woods to escape the small-pox at the time Brouthaker was about to die, came back to headquarters Wednesday all broken out with the disease--Mrs. O'Dell and babe have been exposed and we learn the baby has come down with the malady. We further learn that another family, living near by O'Dell's, have been exposed to the disease, and are not allowed to go outside the yard surrounding their dwelling. The township authorities are using every precaution to keep the contagion from spreading further, and will look after the best comfort and care of the patients, possible.

Newspaper: 
Review
NewspaperDate: 
Friday, June 1, 1877