Consumption Hits the Blalock Mansion

Deathly illness at the Blalock Mansion in the mid-1890s. The family had enjoyed the mansion for nearly 10 years, but divorce, infighting, and petty jealousies made the house especially cold and hostile.
Rebekkah Blalock hung in there even though husband Frederick was gone on business more than he was at home. Becky and only daughter Barbara seemed to fight the world, together. Barbara came down with TB, and the doctor said he couldn’t do much for her. Just keep her comfortable, help her cough up what she can, and keep “pouring soup into her.” Lots of chickens lost their lives in their fight against this prolonged illness, and you can see soup on the small wood stove. The two of them took over one large downstairs bedroom, closing it off from the rest of the mansion. Tuberculosis spreads quickly and easily, and they wanted to seal themselves off to fight this together.

One remedy for consumption, as it was often called,  had sick patients sleep outside on cold nights, covered with mounds of quilts,  hoping the cold air breathed in would neutralize the nasty germs. Becky hadn’t tried that yet and was not sure she wanted to. More on this later.


One Reply to “Consumption Hits the Blalock Mansion”

  1. There might be some wisdom to freezing out the germs. A man I knew went from VietNam to a stateside hospital and he swears he was put in a room so cold he could run his finger-nail down the wall and scrape off frost. I’m not sure but I think they were fighting malaria and something else. 100%

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