San Diego Hysterical Society



Cow-pox Outbreak in Mission Hills

by Dr. Anderson Metlock


In the Spring of 1896 the community of Mission Hills was nearly made uninhabitable by an infestation of cow-pox.

Cow-pox in the Mission Hills medical community
- A dental hygienist fights cow-pox -

First only a few, then within days, thousands of cows were swarming over the lawns and gardens of stately Mission Hills homes, medical clinics and sidewalk cafés

The infestation was first believed to have been the result of a derailed rodeo train on Market Street. An observant sheriff's deputy noted however an unusual brand on each cow….the "Crystal Ball" brand of Madam Sonya, the gypsy rancher of Normal Heights.

It was found that Madam Sonya had placed the " Pox of Cows on Thee" curse upon the peaceful citizens of Mission Hills when a local dentist had refused to validate her parking after a routine tooth cleaning. She agreed to have her men round up the cows only after she was granted free parking for life by the City Council.

While the cows were quickly removed from the streets, traces of the cows' passing haunted the sensibilities of the City Council members for months.


Table of Contents
San Diego Hysterical Society home page.