State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails










Indians Begin To Scratch and Itch

Smallpox Becomes Epidemic Among Winnebago of Thurston and Dakota Counties

One Hundred and Twenty Five Cases and Sixteen Deaths Are Reported From Where It Rages

Among the Winnebago Indians of Thurston and Dakota Counties in northeastern corner of this state, smallpox is rapidly becoming epidemic. The disease is attended with more fatalities than last winter.

Deputy United States Marshal Allan has returned from the Winnebago agency, where he went last week. He reports a serious condition of affairs there, so far as smallpox is concerned. He says that at this time there are not less than 128 cases on the reservation and that there have been sixteen deaths from the disease. The agency doctor has his hands full and is unable to prevent the spread of the scourge among the Indians.

Up to this time nearly all of the cases have been among the Indians who live in the timber, along the Missouri River, east of the agency, but fears are expressed that it will break out further west and move toward the agency buildings.

The agency doctor informs Deputy Allan that it is seldom that smallpox breaks out so early in the season and that if it is not stopped when cold weather sets in it will spread far and near. Whenever a case appears, it is quarantined, but he regulations and facilities for isolating the infected Indians are defective and the quarantine amounts to almost nothing.

The Indians, while they have no desire to contact the disease do not seem to fear it. The look upon it as a punishment inflicted by the Great Spirit and donít seem to think that it will do any good to take precautionary measures.

Up top this time the disease has not broken out among the Omahas, who reside a few miles further south, but its appearance is looked for almost any day.

Federal Court will convene in Omaha the second Monday in November and in the criminal section there will be a large number of suits that if tried, will require the presence of Winnebago Indians as witnesses. The prevalence of smallpox upon the conservation will be called to the attention of Judge Munger and it is probate that he will issue an order that these witnesses be not called.

Tuesday, October 15, 1901
Omaha World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska) Volume: XXXVII   Issue: 15   Page: 5