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THE year 1859 was a dark and tragic one for Orange. In the Connecticut Medical Society Proceedings, 1858- 1863, we find this item: ''Within the past four years, diphtheria has been unusually prevalent. In 1858-9 it made its appearance in many parts of the United States, especially in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut; prevailing both as an epidemic endemic and sporadically.'' It struck Orange in March, 1859.The story of it is best told by the editorials which appeared in the New Haven papers of that time.
New Haven Palladium, Friday, April 8, 1859
''A remarkable epidemic which has puzzled our most skillful physicians has made its appearance in Orange, and has caused great consternation, there. It has already caused the death of eight persons, and two others are beyond hope of recovery, if indeed they have not died, today. Drs. Chas. Hooker, Ives and Knight of this city, and Daggett, Beardsley and Dutton of Milford have been called; and they say they have never seen anything of the sort, and do not know what to call the disease, and are utterly at a loss to know what treatment should be adopted. The attack commences with a sore throat, which soon assumes a form of most malignant ulceration, finally the throat swells unaccountably and the sufferer dies. The physicians say the disease is not like the ordinary, ulcerated sore throat, nor like the 'black tongue,' but exhibits features different from any disease on record.
"'Nearly all that have been taken thus far have died, and in some cases its progress is fearfully rapid, though