Smallpox inoculation in late 18th century Melrose

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

Viv's Ancestry Blog

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…

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Author: vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.

2 thoughts on “Smallpox inoculation in late 18th century Melrose”

  1. Hi Viv, I edit the Borders FHS magazine. I’ve previously read and enjoyed a few of your blogs, including the Hermitage fantsy game, but I wasn’t aware of your Melrose site, which I found by accident when searching “walter jr brownlee postman melrose”. I’ve just been browsing through it – a marvellous and fascinating resource.
    I was wondering if it would it be possible to reproduce your short blog about the Melrose smallpox vaccination in the next Magazine, due out next month? It would be very timely!
    Best wishes,
    Mike Chandler


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