Above: Computer-generated rendition of the Fort Boreman Pest House as described in detail from a late 1860s document.
Parkersburg, West Virginia's lazaretto, or "pest-house", was a city-financed infirmary for those individuals infected with the pestilence (contagious diseases such as smallpox). It served both private citizens and Civil War soldiers. Its exact location is uncertain. The pest-house had its own cemetery; unfortunately, the names of individuals buried there are not recorded. The following newspaper article sheds some light into its history.
Excerpts from "NEW GRAVE IS MADE IN OLD CITY PEST-HOUSE CEMETERY," by Orpha Cross, Parkersburg Sentinel, Wednesday, March 24, 1937.
Financed by the city, the pest-house was established as a place to house for treatment or care for those victims of smallpox and similar, often-fatal, contagions. That was before proper treatment of dread smallpox was understood and many considered the building almost a place to which victims were sent only to die. Physicians and those brave enough cared for the victims in the old "hospital." Sometimes they recovered. Sometimes they did not. So they had the pest-house cemetery. G. L. Fries says that the building was used in the early '70s and '80s and abandoned as a place for housing smallpox patients about 1896. Afterwards, it was rented until it was destroyed by a fire about 1926 while occupied by a large family. No evidences are there today to prove that it was every a cemetery for men and women. Victims who had been shuttled off from family and home because of the dread disease, then slipped out and buried in the dark of night- not in the family cemetery with weeping friends and relatives looking , but in the lonely little plot beneath great old trees. There other victims had been interred, their place of burial designated by unmarked gravestones of white marble. Even those markers have been buried beneath the surface with some of them believed stolen. Mr. Jones, who has been caretaker of the property for several years, said there had been a number of markers on old graves covered with tangled brush and weeds, when he first had visited the scene. One day they were there- next day they were gone- just like that. In the field one of them was found broken. Mr. Jones believes the others were carried away.