#MedicalBreakthrough: Onesimus

Cotton Mather is often given the credit for inoculation during the small pox epidemic. Less often is it mentioned that inoculation was already popular in Africa and the Middle East. Even less often is it mentioned that Mather didn't come up with the idea himself, but got the idea from one of his slaves. A man named Onesimus (I wonder if he was named after the Biblical Onesimus?) told Mather about the practice, used in West Africa. Other slaves confirmed Onesimus' testimony, convincing Mather to try it on the general population. So, you can thank a black man and West African slaves for the fact that you've never had small pox if you were born and raised in the US.


  1. Matthew Niederhuber. "The Fight Over Inoculation During the 1721 Boston Smallpox Epidemic". Harvard University: Science in the News. December 31, 2014
  2. Arthur Boylston. "The origins of inoculation". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. July 2012

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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