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August 27, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

 Buckingham County: Fight Against Smallpox


Early in the 19th century, hopes ran high that a successful inoculation for smallpox had been developed.

During 1801 and 1802, President Thomas Jefferson took a keen interest in the “vaccine.” During this period, Jefferson treated the community at Monticello and, in 1801, he inoculated his niece, Nancy, Randolph Jefferson’s daughter. If you’d like to learn more, consult the article, “Inoculation,” Monticello’s Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia.

Recently, Slate River Ramblings reader Roger Ward sent information about smallpox inoculations in Buckingham County. In the front of the Surveyor’s Plat Book, 1783-1799, which survived the courthouse fire in 1869, there is a note, dated June 5, 1802, written by surveyor John Patteson which indicates that he “treated” the following members of his family: Polley, Judith, David, Nelson, Jack, and Thomas N. [?] Patteson.  He also inoculated his “Negroes”: Olive, Billy, Big Dick, little Dick, Dirender [?], Dice [?], Sillar [?], Rose, Agge, Cabe, Peter, little Frank, Simon, Ester, little Polley, and David.

To learn more about 19th-century medical advances in Buckingham County, click here:

Buckingham County: Cow-Pox

Buckingham Notables: Dr. James Walker

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