Boston, American Colonies - Onesimus brought smallpox inoculation to Boston. It saved dozens of lives. It was the first time inoculation was known to whites, in America.
Cotton Mather was a white slaveowner. He enslaved Onesimus. Mather feared smallpox and wanted some way to treat it. Onesimus offered inoculation as a cure. Mather tried it first on enslaved Black Americans. When they did not get sick, Mather used it on his white family.
Thousands got sick from smallpox, in Boston. Hundreds died. Those who were inoculated only died at a 2% rate. That compared to a 10% rate for all others. People in Boston died 5 times as much as those inoculated.
For all the lives saved, neither Mather nor the whites in Boston gave Onesimus his freedom. Instead, Onesimus had to work many more years to buy his freedom from slavery.
Onesimus Inoculated Boston