George Rashid - The Leper of Pickens

1901 George Rashid came to America from what was then known as Syria and what is now known as Lebanon. He travelled with a group of Maronite Catholics and eventually settled in Waterville Maine. Between 1901 and the first half of 1906 there is little information about George until early June 1906 when he arrived in Elkins West Virginia complaining of a skin ailment. One doctor in Elkins had seen leprosy and diagnosed George after he had been in Elkins visiting with friends for three weeks. His diagnosis required that George be quarantined in Elkins and eventually be sent to Lebanon via New York. Between boarding the train in Elkins and riding the train to the Maryland/West Virginia boarder, news broke out about George's diagnosis of leprosy causing mass hysteria. George was placed in the custody of the B&O Railroad and was sent to the end of the line of the B&O Railroad - Pickens West Virginia, where his nightmare really began. He was cared for by Dr. James Cunningham a doctor employed by the railroad. Dr. Cunningham was notorious throughout West Virginia and when he died, was the nation's oldest living physician. This is a story of George's journey seeking medical help and his sentence to Pickens by public health officials. It is also a story of Dr. Cunningham who worked to save George from a mob who learned about leprosy from the Bible, and decided that George should not be allowed to remain there dead or alive.