The Island was the home and final resting place of the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” who was the first person in the U.S. identified as an asymptomatic (didn’t show any signs) carrier of the typhoid disease, and subsequently was quarantined on the island.
Mary Mallon (her real name) worked as a cook for several families in NYC from 1900 to 1907. Within a few weeks of her initial employment, several members of the families fell ill with typhoid fever. Mary was unaware of her connection to the disease (or basic hygiene like washing her hands) and kept on moving from family to family, with her employers getting ill, causing outbreaks wherever she went.
In 1906, an investigator found the link to each family was Mary, so they went to investigate her. She refused to believe she was a carrier, didn’t consent to any tests and tried to run. She believed she was innocent and being persecuted, which forced the authorities to forcibly arrest and confine her.
She was sent to live in isolated quarantine on North Brother Island in 1907.