1777A town meeting warrant proclaimed that the town was to decide on the smallpox inoculation.Government and Public Service, Health, Military

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Warrant for Town Meeting, June 17, 1777. Gloucester Town Records, 1753-1800. Vol. 3, 1800, p. 197

Although inoculation with the smallpox disease to prevent further spread had been taking place since the 1720s, the practice was still controversial. During the Revolutionary War, the disease was a severe problem for the Continental Army. In February of 1777, General George Washington decided to have all soldiers inoculated in what was the country’s first medical mandate.

A warrant for the June 17th Town Meeting included an item “to know if the Town will consent that any of the inhabitants may have disease to be innoculated with the small Pox in the town pest house or any other place in the town under the inspection and direction of a Committee to be chosen for that purpose and to be governed by such rules and orders as the town shall think proper…” The item was deferred to a future meeting.

Gloucester Town Records, 1753-1800, 1800. http://archive.org/details/townrecords17531800 “Smallpox, Inoculation, and the Revolutionary War (U.S. National Park Service).” https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/smallpox-inoculation-revolutionary-war.htm.
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