It started with a sore throat, “Just a cold,” I thought. “I probably picked it up from one of my new-found friends.” Within a day my sore throat was accompanied by a high fever. Then the bright red rash! I was only 15, but I knew about Scarlet Fever. I knew the symptoms and I had all of them.
My name is Anne Martin, daughter of Morgan L. Martin and Elizabeth Smith Martin. My sister, Sarah, and I had been sent to boarding school in Poughkeepsie, New York, the
state both of my parents were raised and educated in. A letter was sent to ma-ma and father telling them to come quickly. In the meantime I was taken to an isolation hospital and my personal belongings were burned.
Treatment for the disease was bloodletting, purging, starving and vomiting. Doctors thought Scarlet Fever was due to an imbalance of blood, phlegm, yellow bile or black bile and with treating by starving or one of the other methods, balance would be restored.
With isolation, treatment and rest, I began to feel better. So when ma-ma arrived in Poughkeepsie, it was decided that we would go to Lowville, New York to stay with
relatives while I recuperated and became stronger. Sarah was enrolled at Lowville, our father’s alma mater and I would join her at the academy when I was recovered.
Upon my recovery, ma-ma returned home and I joined Sarah at the academy. I thought I was doing well and resumed walking, canoeing and attending classes. Within a few weeks, I was not getting stronger so I was taken to the doctor where he listened to my heart. I had Rheumatic Fever.
In a letter to ma-ma and father, he explained that it was a disease that could develop as a complication of inadequately treated strep throat or Scarlet Fever. The disease attacked my heart’s major valves, the heart muscle or the heart’s outer membrane and there was nothing that could be done for my damaged heart.
Ma-ma was summoned to come to Lowville to be with me. It was a comfort to have her there, holding my hand and reassuring me.
On November 25, 1862 I passed quietly away from heart failure.