the second decade of the 20th century North Carolina enacted a
Quarantine Law requiring physicians, parents and teachers report every case of
whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, smallpox, scarlet fever and typhoid fever
to the County Quarantine Officer. The
Quarantine Officer then sent a yellow placard with the name of the disease to
the home to be posted on the front of the house. He also send instructions for the treatment
and control of the patient.
County Health Officer, Dr. C.W. Hunt was Transylvania County’s first Quarantine
Officer. He worked diligently to inform
the public of the dangers of contagious diseases and improve the health of all
county citizens through weekly health education articles in the Brevard News. He emphasized that reporting cases showed
people were interested in reducing illness and saving the lives of children.
who failed to report contagious diseases or to obey the law could be charged
and fined. Transylvania County had a
legally-enforced quarantine which many counties did not. Brevard Judge M.H. Justice was noted for
promoting compliance with the law.
August 1917 one case of scarlet fever was reported in Penrose and in September
two cases were reported in Davidson River and Brevard, along with a case of
whooping cough in Brevard.
Fall of 1918 the Spanish Influenza had made its way to the United States and
was the greatest concern to public health.
It reached its peak in North Carolina during October and November ultimately
causing 13,644 deaths in the state.
Transylvania County Board of Health took action to limit the spread of the
disease by closing churches, schools and places of entertainment, as well as
placing restrictions on businesses in mid-October. In early December it was announced that
churches could reopen for one weekly service after it was certified that their
community had been clear of the influenza for 10 days. Schools reopened soon after.
Dr. Hunt retired as County Health & Quarantine Officer in January 1919 he
was praised for “his insistence on an early and strict enforcement of a
county-wide quarantine against the influenza” which greatly helped reduce its impact on county residents.
W.J. Wallis, who had long served on the County Board of Health, was elected to
fill the position. He was Quarantine
Officer for the next five years. In
February 1920 Dr. Wallis and the County Board of Health again enacted
quarantine orders limiting public gatherings to stop the resurgence of the
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at