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Cattle Plague of 1866 and 1867

From the research I have done on this it seems to have been a really bad infestation of cattle over a 2 year period in England and Scotland. As can be seen from the diary of John Ostle below smaller farmers were losing their herds because probably the precautions that were put in place recently with the foot and mouth disease were not put in place then. However I would think that the disease was not so easily spread as it was in modern times with transport going long distances with cattle, and people carrying it from one town to another. I know that during the foot and mouth crises I went to America and those of us from Britain had to walk through disinfectant before we were allowed into the country. Back in the 1860's people did not travel such long distances so the disease was not transported so heavily. I do have a lot more information on this if anyone would like to see it, please email me.

John Ostle (1828-1890)
kept a journal in which he recorded the happenings, both momentous and mundane of a Quaker farmer's life.

January came in very windy with some showers. The Cattle plague is spreading through the county like a roaring lion seeking whom it may devour. Some say it is a Russian disease, they call it the Renderpest. Some say it came from the heights of Siberia. It came into Cumberland about the end of November by some men of trade. T Lawson of Campfield brought it near Bowness in Cumberland. One Johnston brought it to Cardulees by some cattle he bought at Carlisle. Not in the market in a field near.

January 15
The cattle plague has got into the Holme a few days or a week ago. W Mark of Angerton has nine died in two days. Named Rinderpest. The magistrates are stopping all the sales of cattle that is within two miles of a diseased stock. There was a plague among cattle about one hundred years ago much like this by accounts. Some say it raged about for twelve years. So if this Rinderpest rages on as fast as it has lately, I think it will clear the county of all the cattle in much less time than that.

March 24
W Carson, Foulsike, has not one of his stock left alive. They are all either dead or destroyed. Sir R Brisco and Captain James insists on destroying all the cattle where the disease breaks out whether they are healthy and weal or ailing or recovering. I doubt they are taking the power out of the Almighty hands. I think the Lord will have some compassion on us and leave some alive but Sir R Brisco and Captain James will leave none alive.

April 13
William Sharp and Joseph McFarren, New Cooper have got the plague among their stock. They are destroying them fast. McFarren has none left on the 20th April 1866. Sharp has some left yet. Three Sterks, one cow, one calf.


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