Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

330   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

the equal calamity due to ship-fever which occurred some thirteen years afterwards.

"I was in Montreal when the cholera was at its worst," said Mr. Smith. "As people were dying by thousands no time was taken for funeral ceremonies. The dead were buried by contract on the basis of so much for each corpse disposed of. The bodies were hauled away in carts and dumped in great trenches as the killed are laid away after battle. I believe many were buried while merely in the state of stupor that resembles death. Those immigrants who had not been attacked were held in quarantine in great barn-like structures. The sick were housed in buildings of like construction and with little more by way of comfort. An immigrant told me that as their ship was coming up the Gulf of St. Lawrence they saw, dotting the sea for miles, bedding that had been thrown overboard and on which fever-stricken emigrants had died.

"I was in Picton when ship-fever came later, and as I was attacked by that disease myself, I saw little of what went on during the worst of the plague but I was witness of the effects after-wards. The sufferers were housed in sheds and a nearby cemetery was largely filled with those who died. Then, after the plague had apparently been brought under control, the disease was carried in the clothing of immigrants to farm houses in which employment had been secured. Children seemed to escape the fever, but among the immigrants, as well as the farmers who had employed them, many children were left orphans and many women widowed.

"The question then arose as to what was to


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next