Seneca Searchers
September-October, 2000


EPIDEMICS in U.S. - 1657 - 1918

From the South Bend, IN Area Genealoical Society, April 1996

Epidemics have always had a great influence on people, and thus influencing, as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below:

1657 Boston: Measles
1687 Boston: Measles
1690 New York: Yellow Fever
1713 Boston: Measles
1729 Boston: Measles
1732-33 Worldwide: Influenza
1738 South Carolina: Smallpox
1739-40 Boston: Measles
1747 Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania &  South Carolina: Measles
1759 North America (areas inhabited by white  people): Measles
1761 North America & West Indies: Influenza
1772 North America: Measles
1775North America (especially hard in New  England): Epidemic (unknown)
1775-76 Worldwide: Influenza
1781-82 Worldwide: Influenza (one of worst flu  epidemics)
1788 Philadelphia & New York: Measles
1793 Vermont: Influenza and a "putrid fever"
1793 Virginia: Influenza (kills 500 people in 5  counties in 4 weeks)
1793 Philadelphia: Yellow fever (one of worst)
1783 Delaware (Dover): "extremely fatal" bilious  disorder
1793 Pennsylvania (Harrisburg & Middletown):  many unexplained deaths
1794 Philadelphia: Yellow fever
1796-97 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever (one of worst)
1803 New York: Yellow Fever
1820-23 Nationwide: "fever" (starts on Schuylkill  River, PA and spreads
1831-32 Nationwide: Asiatic Cholera (brought by  English emigrants)
1832 New York & other major cities: Cholera
1837 Philadelphia: Typhus
1841 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (especially severe  in South)
1847 New Orleans: Yellow Fever
1847-48 Worldwide: Influenza
1848-49 North America: Cholera
1850 Nationwide: Yellow Fever
1850-51 North America: Influenza
1852 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (New Orleans:  8,000 die in summer)
1855 Nationwide (many parts): Yellow Fever
1857-59 Worldwide: Influenza (one of disease's greatest epidemics)
1860-61 Pennsylvania: Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New  Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, &  Washington D.C.: a series of recurring  epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus,  Typhoid, Scarlet Fever & Yellow Fever
1873-75 North America & Europe: Influenza
1878 New Orleans: Yellow Fever (last great  epidemic of disease)
1885 Plymouth, PA: Typhoid
1886: Jacksonville, Fl: Yellow Fever
1918 Worldwide: Influenza (high point year) More  people hospitalized in World War I from  Influenza than wounds. US Army training  camps became death camps --with 80  percent death rate in some camps.

Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:

1833 Columbus, Ohio
1834 New York City
1849 New York
1851 Coles Co., Illinois
1851 The Great Plains
1851 Missouri



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