Plutonium Injections – Patient HP-9

This biography is in honor of one of the patients that were injected with plutonium in Rochester, NY during WWII.

Frederick C. Sours was born 18 Aug. 1881 to Henry Lowell and Mary J. (Wilson) Sours. An online source says that Henry Sours died of tuberculosis on 3 Nov. 1885. The same online source says that Fred Sours was baptized 4 Sept. 1881 at Our Lady of Victory Church as “Clarence Frederick Sours.” Fred also had a sister, Edna E., born in 1884. She was a stenographer until her untimely death on 3 Sept. 1914.

Fred Sours

Fred Sours

Fred lived with his widowed mother until her death on 25 May 1927. The first time that Fred shows up in the Rochester city directories was in 1901 and he was a manager at the Armstrong Piano Company. He worked there until 1908. Then in 1909 he is a clerk at Ryan and Sours Saloon on West Main Street in Rochester. The “Sours” that owned the saloon was Fred’s uncle, William H. Sours, who also owned the Newport House on Irondequoit Bay. In 1913 the saloon was changed to Sours and Sours Liquor Store. The owners in this case were Fred with his uncle William. This business only survived until 1920 when it had to be closed because of national prohibition. From 1922 to about 1941, Fred owned and operated Young’s Shell Oyster and Fish Market on West Main Street in Rochester.

Fred was married to Lulu A. Ryan in 1928 in Rochester. They moved to Chili Avenue in Gates soon after that. It was also about time that Fred took an interest in politics. He was first a member of the Highway Committee. Then as the Republican candidate he was elected as the Supervisor of the Town of Gates; a position that he would hold from Jan. 1936 and for the rest of his life. The picture  of Fred is him opening, for the first time, a new Gates Town Hall on Buffalo Road in December 1939.

He was a life member of Rochester Lodge of Elks and a member of the Grange, the Gates Exempt Fireman’s Association, the Rochester Exempts and the Men’s Club of St. Helen’s Church.

Tombstone for Fred & his sister

Tombstone for Fred & his sister

Fred was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital with a history of general dermatitis and weakness. Then on 3 April 1946 he was injected with .386 microcuries of plutonium. That would be 55 times the amount of radiation that a person would receive in the average lifetime. Fred would remain sick until he died 2 July 1947 at aged 65 of bronchopneumonia at Strong Memorial Hospital. His funeral was held at St. Helen’s Church and he was buried in the family plot of Section D of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester. His widow, Lulu, survived until 7 Oct. 1969.

Then on 18 May 1978 Fred’s body was exhumed. The cemetery was closed and employees were forced to leave during the exhumation. It would July or August 1981 before Fred’s remains were returned to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery where he still rests peacefully.