Excerpt from The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. 99: July-December, 1878
The case is reported of a house in Hadley, built by a clergyman, where a well existed in the cellar into which foul air from the sink drain had access. Vegetables were kept in the cellar; the windows were never taken out; there was no escape for the foul, damp air; and water stood in drops upon the ceiling and walls.
After a few months' residence in the house the minister's wife died, of fever, so far as I can learn. He soon married again, and within one year of the death of the first wife the second died, from, as I understand, the same disease. The children were also sick. He lived in the house about two years. The next occupant was a man named B His wife was desperately sick. A physician then took the house. He mar ried, and his wife died of the fever. Another physician was the next tenant, and be, within a few months, came near dying of erysipelas. All this while matters had remained as before described with reference to ventilation. A school-teacher then rented the house, and tore up the closed box, but did not cover the well. This was about eight years after building the house. The sickness and fatality were so marked that the property became unsalable. When last sold every sort of pre diction was made with reference to the risks of occupancy, but, by a thorough attention to sanitary conditions, no such risks have been en countered.
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