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‘Cardinal Charlie’: Smallpox meant quarantine in 1912

Published 11:16pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ray Johnson went to his home in Dowagiac Sunday. His mother was sick at the time and Tuesday the cause was pronounced as smallpox. Ray was at once quarantined at the home of Charles Gill and it is hoped he will not take the disease.

gillOn April 30, Ray Johnson, who has been quarantined since last Tuesday of last week because of being exposed to smallpox, will probably be released soon as there are no indications of his taking the disease.

No, this is not the Charles Gill you know and is not my relation.

But in my 1872 Atlas of Cass County, Charles R. Gill owned 80 acres on both sides of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks.

This was south of the 1872 Dowagiac city limits.

He also owned 660 more acres in four blocks of Pokagon Township (boy, I sure wish he was one of my relatives).

1913: May 13, Thomas Holmes found one of the largest hen’s eggs on record in his coop on Wednesday. It measured 7 1/2 inches by 9 inches and weighed 5 1/4 ounces. It was laid by a White Orphington.

The ordinary egg weighs a little over two ounces.

1913: Oct. 7, Dowagiac Alderman Fred Phillips, who was selected by the socialists, was recently read out of the socialist party, but the council refused to accept his resignation.

1913: There was a bounty paid for woodchuck scalps and mole feet, but it didn’t say what the amount of the bounty was.

1913: If you want to be on time at your work, there is just one thing for you to do. Get one of our Big Ben Alarm Clocks and be sure to wind it. You may “cuss” in the morning, but you will be thankful when payday comes around — no lost time (Clyde Hart Jeweler advertisement).

1913: Mrs. D.H. Bishop of Dowagiac, one of the survivors of the ill-fated Titanic, lies at the point of death in Kalamazoo as a result of an automobile accident.

1914: Feb. 27, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Mosier of Dowagiac found a baby boy evidently about 4 weeks old on their doorstep last Wednesday evening.

He was found shortly after an eastbound train passed through the city and it is believed was brought to Dowagiac on the train.

The child was neatly dressed and resting in a basket.

Attached to the dress was a note: This is a treasure worth keeping, kindly find a home for him. Mr. Mosier is a prominent Dowagiac attorney and Mrs. Mosier is a county commissioner of schools.

They will probably adopt the child (the Mosiers were neighbors in the ’30. I never knew this story).

Maybe someone will give me an e-mail or a phone call if they remember this.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

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