American Epidemics

Genealogical research often involves a detailed search for people who disappear from local records, or migrate to parts unknown. This list of american epidemics may help in finding the cause.

1690New YorkYellow Fever
1738South CarolinaSmallpox
1739-40        BostonMeasles
1747CT, NY, PA, SCMeasles
1759N. AmericaMeasles: areas inhabited by white people
1761N. America and

West Indies
1772N. AmericaMeasles
1775N. AmericaUnknown epidemic: especially hard in NE
1775-6WorldwideInfluenza: one of the worst epidemics
1783Dover, DE"Extremely fatal" bilious disorder
1788Philadelphia and New YorkMeasles
1793VermontA "putrid" fever and Influenza

Influenza: killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks
1793PhiladelphiaYellow Fever: over 4,000 deaths
1793Harrisburg, PAMany unexplained deaths
1793Middletown, PAMany unexplained deaths
1794Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever
1796-7Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever
1798Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever: one of the worst
1803New YorkYellow Fever
1820-3Nationwide"Fever" - started Schuylkill River and spread
1822New York and New OrleansYellow Fever
1831-2NationwideAsiatic Cholera: brought by English emigrants
1832NY City and other major citiesCholera
1832New OrleansAsiatic Cholera: over 1,000 deaths
1832Ayrshire towns of Stevenston, Dalry and Kilbride     Cholera
1833Columbus, OHCholera
1834New York CityCholera
1841NationwideYellow Fever: especially severe in the south
1847New OrleansYellow Fever
1848-9North AmericaCholera
1849New YorkCholera
1849-50New OrleansCholera: 3,000 deaths
1850NationwideYellow Fever
1850Alabama, New YorkCholera
1850-1North AmericaInfluenza
1851Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains,

and Missouri
1852NationwideYellow Fever
1853New OrleansYellow Fever: 8,000 die
1855NationwideYellow Fever
1857-9WorldwideInfluenza: one of the greatest epidemics
1865-73Philadelphia, NY, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, Washington DCSmallpox, a series of recurring epidemics of Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever
1873-5N. America and EuropeInfluenza
1878New OrleansYellow Fever: last great epidemic
1878Memphis, TNYellow Fever
1885Chicago, ILwater-borne disease
1885Plymouth, PATyphoid
1886Jacksonville, FLYellow Fever
1900Galveston, TXcholera
1905New OrleansYellow Fever: last US outbreak
1918Worldwide[high point yr] Influenza: more people were hospitalized in WWI from this epidemic than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps, with 80% death rate in some camps

Abbreviations ~ Diseases ~ Epidemics ~ Latin ~ Occupations ~ Terminology

More information about epidemics can be found in the books:

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918


Man and Microbes: Disease and Plagues in History and Modern Times


The Plague of the Spanish Lady: The Influenza Panademic of 1918-1919


Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793


Quarantine! East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892



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