The Horrors of a Raving Maniac.

June 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

Given the comportments of our country’s current Chief Executive and the Texas Legislature, which can charitably be described as erratic, I have had mad dogs, mad men and mad stones on the brain. And as I am prone to do, I have dug back into Texas’ “good old days,” before the Pasteur vaccine, for a couple of stories about one of humanity’s most dreaded maladies — hydrophobia — which was indiscriminate with regard to its victims, from the lowest street urchin to the mightiest politician.

Both of these articles appeared in the Austin Daily Statesman.

December 21, 1887

HYDROPHOBIA.

A Young Merchant Expires With the Horrible Malady.

A death from the effects of hydrophobia occurred this morning in the town of Anna, the victim being a prominent young merchant by the name of John Herrington, of Petty, in this state.

The deceased went on a business trip to Denton county three weeks ago, and, while there encountered a dog afflicted by hydrophobia, which he made an effort to kill by shooting, but failed and was bitten several times on the face. He came immediately to Anna, where a farmer by the name of McKinney lived, who is the possessor of a mad stone, which has been used successfully in cases of hydrophobia for more than half a century.

The stone adhered tenaciously to the wound, drawing out large quantities of poisonous matter, and it was thought the patient was relieved. He returned to his home at Petty and entered upon his business duties.

In about a week he was suddenly attacked with hydrophobia, evincing great fear of water and having all the prominent symptoms of the disease. He was taken immediately to the mad stone, but received no benefit, and for ten days past suffered the horrors of a raving maniac, till this morning death relieved him of his suffering.

 

September 5, 1882

Hon. George A. Reeves

His Death Yesterday Of Hydrophobia.

A private dispatch to your correspondent tonight announces the death at noon today, at his home in Grayson county, of Hon. George A. Reeves, speaker of the present Texas house of representatives, and a candidate for reelection to the new legislature. His death was one of most horrible character.

He was bitten about a month ago by a rabid dog. He had mad stones applied but they did no good. A few days ago he showed symptoms of approaching virulent hydrophobia, and two days ago the attack was so bad it was necessary to tie him in bed. He frothed and snapped and raved in the most virulent manner, without cessation, till death. Physicians were in constant attendance but could not relieve him.

Mr. Reeves was one of the best known and best liked public men in Texas, He was born in Crawford county, Arkansas, about sixty-five years ago. His father, William Reeves, represented Crawford county in the Arkansas legislature upwards of forty years ago.

He moved to Texas thirty-eight years ago, settled nine miles from Sherman at old Ft. Georgetown, then in Fannin county, but now a part of Grayson, and the family has resided there ever since.

The deceased was a deputy sheriff in 1845; was major in a Texas regiment during the war between the states; had several times been a member of the legislature, and years ago presided over the house as speaker, the same position he occupied at the time of his death. Mr. Reeves was a planter and a man of more than ordinary ability.

One strange thing about his life was that in almost forty years’ residence in Texas he had never visited Galveston.

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