Smallpox inoculation in late 18th century Melrose

Just shared this on Facebook with my cousins, and sharing here too. Toftfield = Huntlyburn. Recollections of my 6xg-uncle, Andrew Usher at Darnick (born 1782, died 1855) who founded the whisky distilling dynasty in Edinburgh:

“I was born and brought up at Toftfield and the oldest circumstance I remember about that place is that when the doctor came to inoculate the family with the smallpox (vaccination had not then been discovered) as I thought it was something very painful I ran away. My father came after me and when in the act of taking me home his heart failed him and he said to himself ‘What if I should be leading the laddie to his death’ (for children so inoculated not infrequently died) and he set me at liberty again. I was, however, persuaded to go into the house and seeing what a simple matter it turned out to be, I presented my arm to the doctor. It so happened that I was very slightly affected while some of the rest were very ill. I had no fever and kept singing away as usual. One of the servants asked me how I could sing when the rest were so ill. My reply was that I would sing as long as I was able.”

About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
This entry was posted in health records, Memoirs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Smallpox inoculation in late 18th century Melrose

  1. vivdunstan says:

    Reblogged this on Melrose One-Place Study and commented:

    Just blogged a story about late 18th century Melrose from my family tree.

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