The Citizen (Tulsa, Okla.), Vol. 11, No. 9, Ed. 1 Friday, May 19, 1911 Page: 2 of 8
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lll.'UK is not ;i city ol’ gnat si.-.- in the country Hint hits not a
dozen or more lepers walking about with utmost freedom.
I There is not a state In the union that has not its lepers.
1 rhere is no way to detect theb and they will not give them-
selves up. And who can blame them? A murderer is not
more hounded than a leper. A burglar is treated with far
more consideration than a man who has leprosy. These
5,000 or more Innocent men are keeping the awful secret of
their disease within their own hearts because nowhere In
the land is there a decent asylum where they can go and
receive a white man's care.
New York has a leper ward on Blackwell's Island. An
American would lind it worse than a medieval dungeon.
Louisiana has her lazarette and an average man should be
pardoned for shooting himself rather than go there. Every
other part of the country will drive the leper from spot to
spot like a dog. Yet leprosy is not a grew so me disease. The tales that are
told In fiction and the traditions that have been handed down from ancient
times are responsible for the Ignorance and dread one lias for the disease.
Yet, to be a leper to-day, is to be an outcast from the world.
On Blackwell's island in New York there are four lepers. They en-
joy a sort of liberty. They are within 50 feet of a great hospital, where
1.300 sick are cared for. They see hundreds of people every day and no wall
is built about them. They can walk about the island as they wish, and they
are well treated For them it is all right. But they are three Chinamen
and a Pole. They all sleep In one room; they all eat In one room. What
would become of an American if he had to share that same room with
them for the rest of his life? Yet there is no other place.
Early, the Philippine veteran, Is living in a tent on the banks of the Po-
tomac, shunned by everyone except his wife. Old Gen. Warden and his
wife were driven across two states and could not find shelter to rest their
heads. Not long ago a man was driven front place to place through rain
and wind, and finally died of the exposure, near Baltimore. No one would
take them and there was no National home that held out a welcome for
these innocent outcasts from the world.
It is not generally known that we can live with an ordinary leper for
a lifetime and not contract the disease. There is a keeper on Black well's
island who sits iu the one small room with them, but he would be surprised
Joseph Damien was born in 1840 and he entered the
priesthood in his nineteenth year. Long before he had
completed his education us a priest he received a call to
take up work in the islands in the Pacific. Up to that time
only temporary spiritual aid had been administered to the
lepers on Molokai, but upon hearing the bishop lament the
fuct that he could not send a man away to die among
the diseased colonists, Father Damien offered his services
without a moment’s hesitation, and took up the work
which brought an end to his life. For 12 years he es-
caped the dread disease, but finally he fell under the shad-
ow of it, and even when begged to leave the island In order that his
life might he prolonged he refused, but stayed on the Island and passed
His good deeds were chanted in every corner of the globe and his
is one of the too few cases of giving up life that others might be bet-
tered by his knowledge.
Another and more recent instance of martyrdom exacted for the
hopeless cause of the diseased race is that of Sister Marcella of St.
Joseph's hospital, Philadelphia, who recently left lucrative employment
to devote the remainder of her life to the care of lepers at the New
There are now 60 lepers in the place, who are attended by six sisters
of charity, whose mother house is at Kmmitsburg, Md., and by Rev. A. V.
Keenan, the chaplain. Recently one of the sisters was taken ill. Another
was needed and Sister Marcella offered her servies.
Interesting experiments have been made among the lepers in the colony
and five have been greatly benefited, and, in fact, it is believed have been
cured of this supposed incurable disease.
Among these is a woman of Kentucky, who a few years ago was promi-
nent in Louisville and the blue grass region. Many years ago this woman’s
husband, a man of large means and a merchant, committed suicide by shoot-
ing. The reason for liis suicide, which occurred in Frankfort, was never
known save to a few friends. It was learned later, however, that he had
beer, told by physicians In Indianapolis he had leprosy.
The reason for his suicide was never told to the wife and daughters.
They were well supplied with money. A few years later, when the daughters
had grown into womanhood and attained a prominent place in the social
life of Kentucky, the mother developed what was thought to he an eczema
on the hands and lingers. She was treated by the best doctors in the state,
hut without result. Then it was developed she had leprosy.
The fact that the widow and mother of the two handsome girls was a
if anyone were to tell him (hat he was brave or that he was taking a risk.
The doctors visit the patients every day and think no more of it than they
do of an ordinary skin disease. The only way a person can contract leprosy
is by having tin open cut and allowing that cut to come In contact with the
skin of the leper.
There are forms of the disease In which the victim's fingers and limbs
drop off but they are very rare. There are other forms In which noisome
pu" flows and they are very dangerous, but this form is even more rare
than the other. In 9!) cases out of 100, there is even less danger iu going
near a leper than there is in going near a consumptive. Yet in all the
land there is no place where a leper may be sure of u decent place to lay
No one has ever been able to do more Ilian estimate tbe number of
lepers there are in this country. Naturally, those who have it are not go-
__ _ |ng to advertise the fact and until
!i‘N the stages of tho disease none
hut an expert can detect it. The
writer has seen cases that look
to he only a slight skin affection
and if a doctor had not accident-
ally, in treating the cases for an
entirely different complaint, dis-
covered the disease, they would
still he at liberty and probably ig-
norant themselves of their afflic-
tion. Norwegians, Swedes and
the Chinese are the greatest suffer-
ers. In all these countries there
are large colonies of lepers.
But the case of Lieut. Early
brings the disease home to Ameri-
cans. He contracted it in the Phil-
ippines and the question is how
many other soldiers are going to
carry it home with them, or rath-
er, how many have, unknowingly,
already brought It home?
But until there is some fit
place to care for them, these inno-
cent victims of the world's most
dreaded disease cannot he blamed
for keeping secret their awful af-
fliction. Until they nre assured
they will not he driven about from
spot to spot, like dogs, they will go
on living amongst other people and endangering all with whom llu> conn, in
There ts now some fertile talk of the government s st.n in-, a azare e.
States cannot do it, for there are not enough known eases, but it is pucic e
that if the government were to open an asylum hundreds ot lepeis wou (
flock to it, as a refuge where they could find some relief from the pain t icy
suffer and where they could die in comparative peace. For die they must.
There is no known cure for leprosy. That is the pity of it. they are con-
demned. yet stricken as they nre, and hopeless, they have not even a place
where they can lay their heads.
It was back In 1865 when the Hawaiian leper colony was established
on the Island of Molokai. The settlement is located on the north end of the
Island, a peninsula of 11,000 acres being set apart for the diseased colony.
Previous to that year the king of Hawaii became alarmed at the condi-
tions which prevailed throughout his realm. Able American and European
physicians, who were his advisers, warned him that the people were far too
lenient with the disease. At that time the acquisition of a leper in a family
was not shunned and if otic of the members caught the disease there was
no effort to secure treatment, but the diseased person ate and lived just
as if there was no disease. Of course conditions were shielded from the
eyes of the law.
When the leper colony plan was decided upon the policemen were or-
dered to act as health officers and were instructed in the signs which told of
the dread disease. House to house canvasses were made throughout
Hawaii and the lepers were torn from the households in which they belonged
and bundled off to the leper settlement.
Of course they are practically prisoners on Molokai, hut they have treat-
ment which the best trained nurses can give them and they don't have to
The martyr of leprosy about whom you will he told, should you ever visit
Molokai, after having secured a government permit to do so, is Father
Damien, n priest, who lived among the victims until lie, too, perished from
leper was kept secret. The woman was hurried from her home to the leper
settlement in Louisiana and the two girls were taken to Europe on a long
The mother and daughters lived in a splendid home in one of the prin-
cipal towns in Kentucky. After the daughters left for Europe and the
mother for the leper colony the home was closed, and it is still closed
and boarded up. The house was dismantled and the furnishings sold to
second-hand dealers. These dealers practically have been forced out of busi-
Reports from the leper colony received recently say that.all signs
of leprosy have left this woman, hut that before she was successfully trnatn-i
her ears had dropped off and she was scarred about the face and is without
QOT MONEY WITH INTEREST
Fish Story That Is Offered with
“Proof” of Veracity.
Few more remarkable experiences
have ever befallen a fisherman than
those of Nathan Rosensteln of St.
Paul, who last August wene fishing in
beautiful Lake Bermidji. Bernstein
caught seven sunfish and a perch anti
was about to give up and quit when
an enormous pickerel made a furious
dash at his bait.
Rosensteln had just placed liis pipe
between Ills teeth and was exploring
his trousers pockets for a match. The
suddenness of the “strike" startled
him and he jerked liis pole with his
free hand, while Involuntarily tugging
at the other to get It free from liis
pocket. All would have gone well, but
for the pocket flap, which caught his
hand and held It for a second.
Another vicious tug freed the fork
manipulator, hut as it came loose a
$10 gold piece slipped out of the
pocket and rolled toward the gun-
wale. Rosensteln dropped the pole
and grabbed for the coin, but It slid
overboard and with a dull “chug"
slipped gently downward through the
clear wnter. Fascinated by the sight,
Rosensteln could but sit and watch.
Theu a curious thing happened.
The big pickerel, wrenching itself free
from the hook, and attracted by the
shining coin, swung under the boat.
The great jaws opened and the coin
disappeared before Rosenstein's very
A few days ago Rosensteln was
again o.i Lake Bermidji and made a
fairly good day's catch. Trolling hack
toward the dock in the evening he felt
a strike, and after a furious ten-min-
ute battle landed an enormous pick-
erel. It looked familiar, but when he
reached the dock and began to strip
his catch, what was liis surprise on
splitting the big pickerel to find the
$10 piece lost last fall.
Rosensteln poked around with the
knife and uncovered 58 cents in small
silver coins and pennies. It was Inter-
est at the legal rate on the lost $10
Rosenstein's “pickerel hank” has ay-
ready become a part of the classic lore
of the Lake Bermidji anglers. They
proudly show the spot where the big
pickerel was cleaned in proof of the
veracity of this account.
If men spent as much time court-
ing their wives as they do their sweet-
hearts the divorce lawyer would be
driven out of business.
Here’s what’s next.
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Jourdan, R. L. The Citizen (Tulsa, Okla.), Vol. 11, No. 9, Ed. 1 Friday, May 19, 1911, newspaper, May 19, 1911; Tulsa, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc1077105/m1/2/: accessed February 20, 2019), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.