Quite a pretty day. Zac is quite sick. Gave him quinine to stop his chill, but he had rise of fever. Repeated the calomel, Jalap and rhubarb, and then gave him salts. – – Gave Tom broken doses of tartar emetic. He has continued fever. – – Pigeo’s complaining some.1 – – I cut out a Garreholdi, a piece for her and Nan of dotted muslin.2 – – Martha spinning. Dellah finishing off a chemise a piece for herself, Martha and Bettie.
- Perhaps this is a good time to note that we are now in the midst of the most unhealthy time of the year, in a place long noted for endemic and epidemic afflictions, the tidewater south. What Woodbury’s families, white and black, and probably their neighbors, were enduring were endemic, intermittent fevers – fevers and agues – of varying durations and intensity. In short, they display the classic symptoms of malaria. Seldom fatal themselves in the short-term, in the long-term the effects of these fevers and chills weaken the body and made it more susceptible to other maladies. It also sapped the mental strength of the affected populations. Readers will note that after the first cold weather these symptoms will appear less frequently in Caroline’s entries. They will reappear when warm weather, and the mosquitos, return. It was also the season for yellow fever epidemics as well as the poorly understood affliction of children running barefoot, hookworm. It will take another generation or two before the causes of these diseases – and others associated with poor sanitation – were understood, and corrective measures begun. Until then, no one was immune. And traditionally the mistress of the household was primarily responsible for care of the ill. Even with her college-trained physician son living a few miles away, Caroline retained the lead role at Woodbury in determining medical diagnosis and treatment. (back)
- In “Garreholdi” that “h” is a “b,” the “e” an “i,” and the “o” an “a.” That would make it a Garibaldi shirt or jacket. Also see 1860s in Western fashion, the section on “Military and political influences.” Caroline’s handwriting is more clear in later entries. (back)