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Annie McFadden (1848-1935)
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By Angela Beaudrow, Jonathan Piitz and Tammy Auranen, Black Gold Project Team

McFadden arrived in Oil Springs in 1871. While not formally trained as a nurse, she had spent time working with her grandfather, who was a doctor. The skills she learned from him were put to good use in the village. While visiting a home, McFadden recognized that a small child was sick with smallpox. She immediately went to the village doctor to warn him. The young doctor had never seen a case of smallpox in his life. She persuaded him to visit the child. He did, but the child died a few days later. McFadden wrote that she had been inoculated “for the natural pox” by her grandfather, so she was not afraid to go along with the doctor to the homes in the village that had infected patients. All of the houses with smallpox were quarantined, and some were even burned down, on doctor’s orders. The outbreak was soon stamped out. The doctor eventually took ill and went home to Niagara Falls. Doctors came and went over the years, but McFadden continued to spend much of her time helping her neighbours deal with outbreaks of scarlet fever and diphtheria

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