Nursing group has long history

While researching our story on the Souhegan Nursing Association’s decision to move out of Milford, our reporter came across some fascinating information in “The Granite Town,” a history of Milford, and we thought it might interest you, too:

It’s in the section headed “Municipal Services” under the subheading “Health Care in Milford.”

“Because well water was being contaminated from open sink drains and seepage from privies near homes, three health officers were appointed in 1886 to investigate and find a solution to the problem. They concluded that the only answer was for the town to install sewer and water systems. Consequently a sewer system was put in, starting with the Square, in 1889; and in 1890 the town purchased the privately owned water system that had been started on upper South Street in 1887.

“While laying pipes around the Square they encountered such fetid soil that it created an epidemic of typhoid fever and diphtheria. This was not surprising, since there were thirteen privies within fifty feet of one another. With antibiotics as yet undiscovered, diseases spread rapidly and many deaths occurred, especially among children.

“Smallpox was another serious disease to contend with and was so prevalent throughout the United States that a law was passed as early as 1867 that all children had to be vaccinated before entering school. Even after 34 years of vaccinations, Milford had five cases of smallpox in 1901.
A few parents objected to having their children vaccinated, but most did not. One father was jailed in 1920 because he refused to allow his child to be vaccinated, but the case was settled by having the boy privately tutored.”

Later in this chapter, the book references the founding of the Souhegan Nursing Association.

Initially, the Red Cross had furnished a district nurse, starting in 1919, the year after the great influenza epidemic in which Milford had 600 cases resulting in 40 deaths.

Then there was this:

“Following the war, in 1948, the Red Cross discontinued furnishing a district nurse. In order to carry out this service, the Souhegan Nursing Association was formed for Milford, Amherst and Mont Vernon.”

So, as you can see, the association has been around for quite some time and has provided many good services.

It will be missed.