Sunday, July 8, 2012

The 1897 State of Maryland Health Report - Wicomico County

Wicomico County.

Dr. C. K. Truitt, Health Officer.

April 26th, 1897, I visited White Haven, and found the place

poorly drained, the ditches in bad condition. The ditch along

the county road is in bad condition and filled with mud, trash

and stagnant water. This ditch empties into another large ditch

that crosses the marsh from southwest to northeast, and is also in

bad condition. If this large ditch was cleaned out it would be

flushed by the river.

There was formerly a ditch that passed through the lands of

Mr. J. F. Bloodsworth, and drained the lands of three families.

After this ditch was closed by Mr. Bloodsworth, the storm water

ran over the lands of the other families and under their privies,

and washed out fecal discharges, over the lots and front yards,

out to the road. After the rain was over, and the sun shone

out, the odors were very bad. They have now put in an under-

ground drain to the river, and so far, I have heard no more


May 7th, 1897, I was asked by the City Council to inspect a

ditch at the head of Main street. The place is in bad condition

and unhealthy, as the water-closet from 'the Humphrey's build-

ing empties into the ditch.

May 21st. 1897, received complaint from Quantico, that Mr.

had killed an old horse, and had put it in his lot near the

Main street, and turned in hogs to devour it. The odor was very

bad. Ordered it buried and covered with charcoal; also ordered

hog pens cleaned.

June 5th, 1697, I visited Powellsville and examined the ditch

that runs through the place. Found it in bad condition, and

dangerous to health. An epidemic of diphtheria occurred there

last fall. The contract for cleaning the ditch has since been


June 8th, learned of diphtheria at Pittsvile in the practice of

Dr. Freeny. The cause seemed to be an old well. Had the well

cleaned, and had no more cases. The child recovered.

June 23d, complaint made that Johnson's mill pond was in a

state of nuisance and dangerous to health. I notified Messrs.

Johnson and Bell to abate the nuisance. There is a great deal

of sickness in the neighborhood, and most of it is laid to the

old mill pond with its stagnant pools of water. The dam is

broken, and there was not enough water to cover the bottom. I

hear that this dam has been put on the county, if so, it should be

repaired at once, as it is a road frequently used.

June 24th, complaints were made that Humphrey's mill pond

is in a state of nuisance. Nearly all the water has been run out

through the mill. I notified Mr. Phillips to cease using water

and to use stream, which they have since done.

August 19th, I received complaint from Delmar. Complaint

had also been made to the State Board of Health. At Mr. W.

B. Elliott's, I found the water running into the streets, where it

stagnated. At Mrs. Jane Elliott's, the water was running in the

street, where it became offensive. The Town Commissioners

were notified to clean out the ditch that runs east and west

through the town. People, whose property is next to the ditch,

throw into it dead animals and fowl, spoiled eggs, and all sorts

of refuse.

Thomas E. Hearn empties refuse into the ditch.

W. C. Lecates, W. O. West, W. A. Culver, Geo. A. Waller,

W. C. Truitt, B. B. Gordy, Ulyses Baker, T. A. Veasey, T. A.

Landing, tenant, M. H. German (a block of houses), all run waste

water into the street. Veasey Hotel empties sewer into railroad

ditch, also a sewer from water-closet.

The above places are in Delmar, and owners were notified to

abate nuisances in fifteen days. From later reports I learn that

they have all obeyed the notice.

August 20, 1897, I was asked to visit the Jackson farm, where

Mrs. Mills lives. There had been several cases of typhoid there

in previous years. On investigating, found surroundings filthy

and in very bad condition. Notified to clean the premises at

once, and put a new bench cover over the pump.

September 10th, 1897, complaint that the dumping grounds on

river front near old basket factory was in bad condition and

unhealthy. On investigating, found nothing unhealthy, but

much that is unsightly.

September 11th, many complaints received from Quantico, that

a bad odor filled, the town. I went again to this place, and on

investigating, found that an old mule had jumped oyer a fence

into the marsh, and had gotten fast in the mire and died, having

been there for several days. Ordered it buried, covered with

boards, and dirt put on top of the boards to keep the hogs from

rooting it out. Notified Mr. that if I had to see him any

more for maintaining a nuisance, he would certainly be prose-


September 27th, 1897, William Morris made complaint that

the water in the Cranberry Bog was stagnant and unhealthy.

On visiting the place I found no need of action.

September 28th, 1897, I visited Nanticoke. Had heard from

several persons that there was typhoid fever, and, as I had not

been notified, I went to see Dr. Ben Lankford. The cases have

recovered. I had written several times, enclosing stamped return

envelope, but received no reply.

October 11th, 1897, complaint made that the water from the

fountain, corner of Main and Dock streets, was standing in the

gutter and becoming offensive. Ordered the gutter cleaned and

the water run off, which was done.

Besides the above, outbreaks of scarlet fever have been

reported by four physicians. Outbreaks of typhoid fever by

three physicians. Outbreaks of diphtheria by four physicians.

Private nuisances inspected, 24. Dead animals removed, 3.

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