Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: A Direful Diet - Hydrophobia on Doughtie PlantationDate: September 5 1884
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 6
A DIREFUL DIET
Thirty-two Negroes, Having Partaken Of the Flesh of Hogs that Died from the Bites of a Rabid Dog, Seized with Hydrophobia—The Malady Among the Mules—A Race for Life from a mad Mule—A feared Community
EUFALA, ALA., August 29.
This neighborhood is in a state of tremendous excitement over the wholesale spread of hydrophobia on the plantation of Punch Doughtie. Dr. E. B. Johnson has just returned from Mr. Doughtie’s plantation, where he had been summoned. He found thirty-two persons suffering with a disease which he at once pronounced hydrophobia in a mild form. All the sufferers are negroes. Three of them are desperately sick, one being in the throes of delirium and so low that the doctor says he is liable to die at any moment. More than three weeks ago a hog bitten by a dog died on Mr. Doughtie’s plantation, and the carcass was given to the negroes to be converted into soap grease. Instead of utilizing it for this purpose, thirty-two negroes on the place and in the neighborhood ate the flesh of the hog. Mr. Doughtie says that on July 2_ one of his dogs went mad and bit a mule and several hogs. On August 13 the first hog died, and was eaten by the negroes. Two more died on August 18, one on august 22 and one on August 27, and all were eaten except the last, when the partakers of the poisoned flesh became sick. The mule exhibited signs of madness on the nineteenth day after being bitten. Eleven days after the first hog was eaten ten of the negroes were taken. Two days ago another dog was discovered to be mad, and was killed after having bitten a mule. Another dog on the lot is now houses, and will be experimented with for a cure. The dog that bit the mule and hogs disappeared, and the whole neighborhood is in terror lest he went among cattle and hogs throughout the place before dying. A dozen out of the thirty-two eaters of the affected hogs are seriously sick, and the developments among the others are awaited with the greatest interest. Dr. Johnston, an able physician, says it is a terrible case and that he fears the worst. He says that it would not surprise him if the greater number of the thirty-two person should die. A few days ago Mr. Doughtie rode out, at the request of a field hand, to inspect the condition of one of his mules, which was acting strangely. On reaching the pasture where a dozen mules were, the animal which Mr. Doughtie was riding neighed, which attracted the sick one particularly, which immediately rushed on the mule and rider, and seized the saddle of the animal with his teeth. Mr. Doughtie dismounted and succeeded in loosening the mad mule’s hold; but no sooner was this done than the infuriated beast turned upon his owner, who fled for his life, pursued by the mule. There was a desperate race of a quarter of a mile through undergrowth, and Mr. Doughtie only saved himself by dodging around saplings. A small stretch of clearing intervened between the woods and the house, and the terrified man took a life and death chance on making it. Before leaving the woods the mule had bitten piece out of Mr. Doughtie’s coat, and while maneuvering around the tree the animal bit himself savagely in several places, tearing out a mouthful of flesh each time. The race for the house was a close one, and just as Mr. Doughtie reached the top of the fence, the mule overtook him, but instead of reaching his victim, struck his head against a fence post in the wild rush and was knocked senseless. The mule was afterwards killed by Mr. Doughtie. It is now reported that the whole herd of mules are affected. Many of them have leaped the fences and will doubtless spread the disease among other animals in the neighborhood. The community is at a loss how to arrest the disease.