Hoof and mouth disease

Below is a 1902 newspaper clipping found in a scrapbook kept by Mary Harris. The photo they mention was badly stained so I couldn’t use it. Instead is a photo of Frank Adams Buttonwood Farm.

Frank Adams Buttonwood Farm circa 1909. Photo provided

“Windham and Windsor counties are the only ones in the state effected by the dreaded foot and mouth disease among cattle. Chester, Weathersfield, Andover, Grafton and Windham are the only towns under quarantine, and the only towns in which cattle have been killed are in Chester, Windham and Weathersfield. The excitement among the farmers in these towns has been intense, but is now abating. The farmers who have had their herds killed have been heavy losers, although the United States government has paid 70 percent of the assessed value of the cattle when they were well.

“The revival of this disease in this country is supposed to have been caused by the straw or hay packed around articles imported from Scotland where the disease is very common for the disease is very contagious. To one herd in Chester the disease is supposed to have been carried by a cat.

“This trouble began this time in Dedham, Mass., from a cow bought at an auction in Concord, Mass. From this same auction a dealer sent to Chester several cows which were distributed about town.

“Probably Chester has suffered the most of any town from the disease because the effected herds were all the very best in town and probably could not be excelled in the state. LeRoy Weeks’ cattle for instance took the premium at the Rutland fair last fall. George A. Boynton of Gassetts lost more than any one else as his herd numbered 65 and was pronounced the finest herd in these parts. The government appropriated $50,000 for the extermination of the disease. The work in Chester and vicinity was under the charge of veterinaries, Dr. Henry J. Washburn and Dr. Charles F. Flocken of Washington, D.C., and Dr. F.A. Rich of Burlington.

“To kill and burn seemed to be the only sure way of thoroughly stamping out the disease. It has been thought by some that many of the cows might have been cured and that it was not necessary to kill so many, but the veterinaries report that in many cases where the external blisters were slight they found large ones on the internal organs and in many cases two or three gallons of water would be found inside the creature.

“The accompanying picture will give some idea of the method of disposing of diseased animals. There are two herds in the picture, those of Leroy Week and Frank W. Adams, both of Chester, in all 43 cattle, 23 hogs and one sheep. These creatures were taken across the lots to the slaughter barn on Love Lane. Mr. Adams’ herd had to cross the main road at a very narrow place and this was at once thoroughly fumigated. The animals were either knocked down or shot, then cut open and the intestines taken out. The carcasses were then chopped into small pieces, there being nothing larger than a quarter and most of the pieces being smaller than that.

“At the burning shown in the picture a ditch two feet wide and two feet deep and 60 feet long was filled with kindling. Then logs were placed across at right angles. A layer of meat was followed by a layer of four foot dry wood, then more meat and more wood until the whole was disposed of. The pile in the picture is just ready for the kerosene which was poured over the whole. The pile is 50 feet in length and eight feet high, being four feet wide. This pile was something like 12 hours burning, but not a scrap of meat was left.

“Other herds which were treated in the same way were those of Frank P. Wells 22 lost, Guild and Lawton 18 lost, E.A. Edson 16 lost, George Farr four lost, E.M. Farr seven lost, Will Baldwin one.

“The barns and premises of afflicted herds are being thoroughly fumigated and as no new cases have been reported for some time it is believed that the disease is wiped out.”

Ted Spaulding remembers his father Ed telling him about E.A. Edson’s cows being destroyed. At the time Edson lived where Pizza Stone is today. Ted’s father said Edson’s cows were piled like cordwood near the railroad tracks when they were burned.

Frank Adams was a major cattle dealer owning Buttonwood Farm. In 1914 his barn was destroyed by fire as seen below from another newspaper clipping.

“Thirteen head of registered Holstein cattle, several head of high grades, five horses and five pigs comprised the livestock burned, with about one hundred tons of hay, fifty tons ensilage in a new silo which had just been erected in the barn. Among the livestock burned were an eight-months-old Pontiac bull calf, for which Mr. Adams paid twelve hundred dollars ($30,700 today) last spring; a yearling heifer which cost one thousand dollars ($25,600 today).”

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