Albemarle Observer, Edenton, N.C., Jan. 8, 1915
Smith and His Typhoid
His real name was S.B. Smith. He lived in North Carolina. He was a farmer. His house was built flat upon the ground. No underneath ventilation. There was a small cellar. It was musty. Vegetables, rotten and unrotten, were stored in it. The house was heated by an “air-tight” stove. All windows were fastened down. All window cracks were caulked with rags. The barn was 328 feet from the kitchen door. There was a big pile of manure against the barn. There were maggots in the manure.
Flies, thousands of flies, were born in the manure. In the barnyard were cows and pigs. They waded in barnyard pulp. Just 53 feet from the kitchen door was a privy. It was dilapidated. Its awful refuse spread out behind it. It was a nasty thing. It smelled horribly. Clouds of flies surrounded it. Under the back porch was a dug well. Smith didn’t know its depth. An old sock was stretched over the pump spout. It was there to strain out worms and little water bugs. The water had a funny taste. The garbage tub stood just outside the kitchen door. There were maggots in it. Flies were born there by thousands.
One day Smith’s daughter came down with typhoid fever. A doctor was employed. Medicines were purchased. Mrs. Smith did the nursing and she also cooked for her husband, her son, and a hired man. Mrs. Smith was worn out. She took typhoid. The daughter died. Mrs. Smith died. The son took typhoid. He survived. When Mrs. Smith took down a nurse was employed. She stayed after Mrs. Smith’s death to nurse the son.
The cost: Doctor’s bills: $410. Nurse: $140. Medicines: $23.60. Two funerals: $416. Court value of mother’s life (average court judgment): $4,600. Court value of the son’s life: $5,000. Loss of time (estimated: $300. Total: $10,889.60.
Does it pay to be sanitary? Does inducing sickness and early death tend to produce wealth and happiness?