SmallPoxEpidemic Victims in1856 Discovery of an old Chamorro graveyard, dating back to the terrible plague that swept the Island in 1856, was made in 1918 by workmen engaged in the excavation for the Marine Barracks then under construction at Asan. Skeletons were found, piled thickly together in trenches, when Captain W. F. Brown's crew reached a depth of three feet in their digging along the sandy beach where the new barracks were to be built. The bones were piled one atop of the other, as though the bodies had been dumped into the trenches in great numbers. It was believed that when the excavations extended further down the beach on the sea side, mere skeletons would be uncovered, as apparently only the outer edge of the old buriai ground had been brought to light. Bilntv-roui years ago a trrible plague of small pox swept the Island and natives died by tlie tLrousands,the bodies accumulating faster than they could be buried, even by utilizing trenches, where they were dumped by the cartloads. tr'ive bodies oflen 'uverepiled into one carabao cart, carried to the trenches and dumped in without ceremony. Natives were powerless to check the ravages of the disease and the families of the dead often too weak to bury its victims. The pestilence was not stopped until it had taken a toll of nearly 4,000 lives. Early records show that before the pestilence the population of the Island was 9,500 and a few years afterwards was only 5,500, a decrease of 4,000. Agafia alone had a population of 5,620 before the plague, while afterwards the towns of Agaffa, Pago, Sinajafla, Anigua, Asan and Tepungan had a total population of only 4,049. Chamorro history, according to Juan Perez, state that the visitation of the terrible plague was coincident with the arrival on the Island of Padre Palomo, the aged priest who came to Guam in 1856 about the time of the plague. So thoroughly did the epidemic take in every part of the Island that it is probable many other towns have burial grounds on their beaches, similar to the one unearthed by the Quartermaster's force at Asan. Excavations at Agafia sometime ago reveale'd a series of trenches that probably dated back to the time of the
Achievement Test Seventh Series 1. With what activity is the name of Alexander Graham Beil associated? What major city in the world is nearest to sea level? What were the two decisive battles of the World War? 4. If you ordered "pommes de terre" from a French menu what would )'ou get? 5. What state leads in flour mill products ? b. What country has a rent tax? 7. How much perspiration is normally discharged by a healthy person? What was the original purpose of Andrew Carnegie Foundation? q Is the dog or cat mentioned in the Bible? 1 0 . Besides sight, r,vhichof the other sensesdoes ja,de appeal to'l 1 1 . What is the piural of the word "axis" ? t 2 . What is a tocsin ? 1 3 . How does the size of the stomach of a doe compare to that of a human being? t-+. Wliat part of the people of the 'uvorlduse a knife and fork in eating? 15. At what age do the eyes of human beings attain their full size? 16. Who brought Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish songstress to the United States? 17. What hobby puts a premium on poor printing? 18. How much tax per year does a person pay who smokes a package of cigarettes a day? 19. What proportion of the women in the United States are \Mageearners? 20. What is a de facto government? See anszuers on page 4.3 7A
plague. The natives of this generation say that during the epidemic the neighbors were not always particular about waiting for death to be accomplished and sometimes carted away the plague victims as soon as it was evident that they had been caught by the disease. The skeletonsfound at Asan were charactefized by unusually thick skulls and protruding jaw bones and seemed to indicate that the plague victims were a larger people than the Chamorros of today.
Published on May 8, 2010
In partnership with the Micronesian Area Research Center, Guampedia is e-publishing the Guam Recorder. The Guam Recorder was a monthly maga...