Blue Hill Virus Protection Plan from 1798

This document was discovered in the Blue Hill Historical Society’s archives. It details Blue Hill’s plan for protecting its 1798 residents from the Yellow Fever pandemic sweeping the nation at the time. Note that spelling, punctuation and word usage was a bit different then (transcription is below the 1798 document).

The exact nature of the disease is not mentioned, but a notation on the back of the document says:
To John Peters, Jr. 14th Sept. 1798
Respecting a man sick with yellow fever


A number of the Town have applied to us Selectmen to do something respecting the sick man brought into it by the Unicorn. We conceive it our duty and the duty of everyone to guard by every means against so dangerous a disorder and if possible, to prevent its spreading. The people in these parts carry their apprehension perhaps too far but the mortality of the disease must be their appology. It is better to show more precation than is realy necessary than to want the least.

From the foregoing reasons we must urge some general rules to be observed by those who may attend the sick person – in the first place we think it necessary that those persons who have hitherto attended him continue with him until he may recover or die that in case of the latter he may be properly buried and that his attendants carefully cleanse everything used about him and that those persons carefully clean themselves. That the vessel be also carefully cleaned and in such a manner that it may not in any way communicate the disorder – that every person of whatever description, except a doctor, be kept at a proper distance from the place where the sick man is and from the vessel until she is properly cleaned and that those persons who attend the sick man have no communication with any other person until his fate is determined – their necessaries, of any kind should be brought to some appointed place and taken from that place by them and never suffered to be supplied in any manner. They should not suffer themselves to go to any house, nor converse with anyone except to keep them to a proper distance.

As you conducted the vessel to this place, we think it most proper that you should see that the above rules be observed and we are certain from the circumstances of the care, from the situation of yourself, your connections and your friends, that you will not only cause them to be strictly observed but add to them such others as shall continue so as that health we have and still enjoy.

We are Sir
With confidence in
Your attention
Your humble servants

[signatures of]

Eben Floyd
Ruben Dodge, Selectmen

Blue Hill
14 Sept. 1798