Jefferson County
Illinois


Epidemics in U.S.
1657 - 1918


If you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors seemed to disappear during a certain period in history, it may have been due to an epidemic. Epidemics have always had a great influence on people and therefore the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be attributed to people 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 1761-61 - North America & West Indies: Influenza 1772 - North America: Measles 1775 - North 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 & 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 more died 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 Other epidemics in the US - mostly in "big" east coast cities: 1813: "spotted fever" which we know as cerebral spinal meningitis--6,000 died. 1813 to ?: tuberculosis also called "consumption" was on the rise. 1842-43: erysipelas [strep infection of skin and mucous membranes
 

 

 
 


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