In case you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors disappeared 
during a certain period in history, this might help.  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
 1732-3         Worldwide                               Influenza
 1738           South Carolina                          Smallpox
 1739-40        Boston                                  Measles
 1747           CT,NY,PA,SC                             Measles
 1759           No. Amer.
                [areas inhabited by white people]       Measles
 1761           N. Amer. and West Indies                Influenza
 1772           N. America                              Measles
 1775           No. Amer.
                [especially hard in NE] epidemic        Unknown
 1775-6         Worldwide
                [one of the worst epidemics]            Influenza
 1783           Dover, DE ["extremely fatal"]           Bilious Disorder
 1788           Philadelphia and New York               Measles
 1793           Vermont [a "putrid" fever]              and Influenza
 1793           VA
                [killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks]   Influenza
 1793           Philadelphia
                [one of the worst epidemics]            Yellow Fever
 1793           Harrisburg, PA
                [many unexplained deaths]               Unknown
 1793           Middletown, PA
                [many mysterious deaths]                Unknown
 1794           Philadelphia, PA                        Yellow Fever
 1796-7         Philadelphia, PA                        Yellow Fever
 1798           Philadelphia, PA [one of the worst]     Yellow Fever
 1803           New York                                Yellow Fever
 1820-3         Nationwide
                [starts-Schuylkill River and spreads]   "Fever"
 1831-2         Nationwide
                [brought by English emigrants]          Asiatic Cholera
 1832           NY City and other major cities          Cholera
 1837           Philadelphia                            Typhus
 1841           Nationwide
                [especially severe in the south]        Yellow  Fever
 1847           New Orleans                             Yellow Fever
 1847-8         Worldwide                               Influenza
 1848-9         North America                           Cholera
 1850           Nationwide                              Yellow Fever
 1850-1         North America                           Influenza
 1852           Nationwide
                [New Orleans-8,000 die in summer]       Yellow Fever
 1855           Nationwide [many parts]                 Yellow Fever
 1857-9         Worldwide
                [one of the greated epidemics]          Influenza
 1860-1         Pennsylvania                            Smallpox
 1865-73        Philadelphia, NY, Boston, New Orleans   Smallpox
                Baltimore, Memphis, Washington DC       Cholera
                [A series of recurring epidemics of]    Typhus
                                                        Scarlet Fever
                                                        Yellow Fever
 1873-5         No. America and Europe                  Influenza
 1878           New Orleans [last great epidemic]       Yellow Fever
 1885           Plymouth, PA                            Typhoid
 1886           Jacksonville, FL                        Yellow Fever
 1918           Worldwide [high point yr]               Influenza
                (more people were hospitalized in
                WWI from this epidemic than wounds.
                US Army training camps became death
                camps, with an 80% death rate in
                some camps)

Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:

 1833           Columbus, OH
 1834           New York City
 1849           New York
 1851           Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains, and Missouri

Submitted by Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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