Monday, 21 May 2012

Jamestown Weed - 1884

It was a very distressing afternoon for the Greening family of Hughson street north
On August 7, 1884, the five year son of the Greenings had been playing outside in the family’s back yard when he became in a distressed state.
The Spectator account of the incident follows:
“A number of children have died at various times, from eating stramonium, or, as it is more familiarly known, the Jamestown weed, which grows in almost every backyard, on commons and in valleys. The only wonder is that the disastrous results are not more frequent, as plenty of children have an unfortunate habit of chewing indiscriminately at the grasses and weeds growing in uncared for places. Yesterday afternoon, a bright little five year old son of Mrs. Greening, of Hughson street north, came home with his face flushed, swollen and feverish, his manner and actions indicating that he was quite delirious. His peculiar appearance and actions were not noticed at first, but so soon as the mother did observe them, she sent at once for Dr. Woolverton, who came immediately, and seeing that the child had been poisoned, administered antidotes, and did everything in his power to save the little one’s life. The poison had already got into his system however, and at a late hour last night, he was lying in an unconscious state and not expected to recover. Dr. Woolverton said there was a possibility that he might pull through, but it was very doubtful. From a companion it was learned that the child had been eating stramonium in the yard during the afternoon. The poison in the weed is very violent, and parents should prevent its growing in their yards, as the little ones are liable to eat it at any time.”

Regular readers of the Spectator would have been relieved to read the following brief item which appeared in the Diurnal Epitome the day afternoon the report of the Jamestown Weed poisoning incident:
“The five year old son of Mrs. Greening who was poisoned through eating stramonium, is fortunately much better and Dr. Woolverton thinks he will recover.”

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