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Alex Poole To Samuel Gridley Howe, November 16, 1842

Creator: Alex Poole (author)
Date: November 16, 1842
Source: Perkins School for the Blind


Dennis Nov 16th 1842


Dear Sir


Your circular of 10th Oct was handed to me by the Post Master some time since but several of the blind residing several miles from me it has not been convenient for me to make the necessary enquiries earlier -- I now give you such information as I have been able to collect --


Mercy Leary, 79 years old -- was from her youth troubled with a humor which she supposed to have been "Salt Rheum". was otherwise healthy and always accustomed to hard labour in her family -- About 25 years since after a very hard days work out washing she got wet by a shower, on the following night was attacked with severe pain and inflammation in the eyes, her sight began to decline ad in the course of three years resulted in total insensibility to light. She had one cousin deranged, and one cousin, the son of a niece, blind -- supposed to be cause by close application to books.


Maria Ann Baker, 18 years of age lost her sight at 2 years -- Susan Baker 16 years old, lost her sight at 6 years -- Rebecca Baker 10 years old, blind in one eye and partially so in the other -- These are children to David Baker and have all been at the Asylum, consequent by I suppose you know more of them than I could learn in an interview of a few minutes -- David Baker, their father had two great aunts deaf & dumb, which was the only peculiarity I could learn concerning their family.


Reuben Baxter Age 26 was from early childhood subject to severe "nervous headache" which resulted in blindness at 8 years -- Crowell Baxter is 37 -- is partially blind, could not see to read -- come on as sequel of measles -- married and has two children who see well -- The above are brothers, sons of John Baxter -- I could not learn that there was any peculiarity among their relations or ancestors.


Levi Taylor, about 70, an inmate of the alms house, had fits when about a week old and from that time he has been blind. Could learn no peculiarity in the family except that a sister in neighboring town, some years his superior is nearly or quite blind probably from age.


The above are all the cases I have been able to find n this town -- Should you wish to make my further enquiry I shall always be happy to serve you


Respectfully yours, Alex Poole


S.G. Howe Superintendent of the Perkins Asylum for the Blind