HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, OHIO 1788 - 1881

by: H. Z. Williams

pages 427-428   

 

 

 

EPIDEMICS

 

   

Marietta has suffered from three epidemics in 1807, 1822 and 1823.  “Except in these three years” says Dr. Hildreth in a communication to a medical journal, “the town has been uniformly healthy and indeed remarkably so.”

    

The sickness on 1807 was principally intermittent and remittent fevers.  These diseases were prevalent up and down the Ohio river for hundreds of miles, and more malignant and fatal at various points in this region of country than at Marietta---notably so at Gallipolis.  the spring of the year was very wet and all throughout the summer there were two or three rainy days for every fair one.  The low grounds were covered in many places by stagnant water, and crops were, in some localities, entirely ruined by the excessive moisture.  The elements of disease were all in existence and it would have been very surprising if general sickness had not prevailed.  The fever made its appearance in July, and in the following month there was scarcely a family residing on the bottom lands which was not afflicted by it.  the disease carried off a considerable number of the people of Marietta and Washington county, but the number of deaths after all was not large, compared to the number who were sick with the fever.

    

The epidemic of 1822 exceeded that of 1807, was similar in nature but proceeded from an exactly opposite condition of the weather.  the summer of 1822, unlike that of 1807 was very dry and hot.  There was not only little rain but what did come was not accompanied, as is usual in summer, by lightening, that great purifier of the atmosphere, and there was scarcely one strong, clearing wind from the north or northwest, during the season.  Hot winds blew almost constantly from the south.  The Ohio and Muskingum were reduced by the drought, so that “they were mere brooks as compared with their usual size.”  The water was covered with a foul scum, and a green mold gathered upon the rank grass which grew along the shores and down into the beds of the streams.  Dr. Hildreth’s opinion was that “the fever had its origin from the sandbars and beaches of the Ohio river laid bare by the great drought.”  Some people thought that the disease was imported by the almost constantly blowing south wind.  the fever varied from the mildest intermittent types, up to the genuine yellow fever.  Ague, cholera morbus and dysentery were also prevalent.  At on time, within a single square mile containing a population of about twelve hundred souls, four hundred were sick with some form of disease attributed to the drought and hot weather.  Dr. Hildreth had about six hundred cases to care for between the first of July and the close of November.  The fever was most widely disseminated in September.  It first appeared upon the “plain” or higher ground in June, but in July most of the cases were in Harmar, and it did not become troublesome at the “Point” until August.  The proportion of deaths was about one to sixteen of the number of persons affected.

    

The people became much alarmed as the season advanced and the deaths became more numerous.  On September 15th a public meeting was held at which committees were appointed to visit the sick, and supply them with whatever necessities they might be lacking.  Upon the eighteenth another meeting was held, of which Dudley Woodbridge, jr., was chairman, and William A. Whittlesey, secretary.  The reports of the committees appointed three days before showed that over three hundred persons were sick in Marietta---a number bearing about the same proportion to the population (Two thousand) that twelve hundred would be to the present.  Resolutions were adopted setting forth that “the distressed situation of our fellow-citizens and friends calls for the utmost exertions and deepest humiliation;”  that “we will exhort and encourage each other in visiting the sick,”  and that, “looking beyond the sword of pestilence to Him who wields it, we humble ourselves before Almighty God, and recommend to our fellow citizens a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, imploring the pardon of our sins, individually, and as a people, the arrest of the pestilence which ravages our town, and grace to receive and do all things, as those who have hope in the Lord.”  Henry Dana Ward and William R. Putnam were appointed a committee to wait on the Rev. S. P. Robbins of the Congregational, and Rev. Cornelius Springer of the Methodist church, and “request them to agree upon a day of fasting, and if agreeable unite the congregations in its solemn service.”  The ministers gave public notice that Saturday, September 21st, would be observed in accordance with the resolution of the citizens’ meeting, as a day of fasting and prayer.  the service was held at the Congregational church.  It was noted a few days later by the American Friend  that with the exception of fifteen or twenty who were quite low the people generally were recovering, and that very few new cases had occurred.  It was not, however, until hard frosts came in November that the epidemic was stopped.  No less than ninety-five persons died in Marietta township during June, July, August, September and October of 1822.

    

We are enabled to give a mortuary list for three months, nearly complete, and containing the names of some citizens of other parts of the county, who died during the prevalence of the epidemic of 1822. *

 

JUNE

 27th, Charles F., son of Ephraim Ranger.

 30th, Frances, wife of Colonel George Turner

 

JULY

10th, Humphrey Hook (in Wood county) Virginia

 

AUGUST

1st, Mary, wife of Elder John Gates -- Abram Seevers (Fearing)

21st, Hon. Paul Fearing (Harmar) -- Cynthia, his wife (within six hours)

26th, John Cornell -- Edmund Moulton

27th, wife of Captain Nathan Bowen

30th, Mrs. Catharine McClintick.

 

SEPTEMBER

9th, Jonna Lincoln -- Juana R. Bowers -- Mrs. Merriam (in Adams)

10th, Reuben Merriam (in Adams)

14th, Mrs. Nancy Bliss

15th, Aaron Smith

16th, Major Robert Bradford (Belpre) -- Mrs. Persis Howe (Belpre) -- Mrs. Solniger (in Union)

19th, Charlotte, wife of A. W. Putnam -- Christian Ulmer

20th, John Miller -- Ann Eliza, wife of Levi Cole

21st, Justus Morse -- Silas Barter

24th, Jacob Schachtelien

25th, Elder John Gates -- Mrs. Mills -- John Drown (on the island)

26th, Captain Obediah Lincoln -- John Clark -- Sarah, his wife

27th, Mrs. Deborah Erwin -- Hugh Dixon -- Tiffany Adams (in warren)

28th, Angelina Lincoln -- Harriet, wife of Wyliys Hall -- Caroline, wife of James Bliss -- Mary Ann, wife of Jasper Taylor

28th, Lucy, a woman of color

30th, Clarissa, wife of Captain Timothy Buell

 

OCTOBER

1st, Jefferson Lincoln -- Wealthy A., wife of Richard Alcock -- Infant son of John Kelley -- Mary, wife of S. D. W. Drown (on the island) --  Solomon Jarvis (in Wood county, Virginia)

2nd, Titus Buck -- James Knight -- Manasseh, son of Ephraim Cutler (in Warren)

4th, Colonel Jacob Ulmer

5th, Mark Anderson -- Mrs. Polly White (in Fearing)

6th, Henry Winum

7th, Mrs. Mees

8th, Philip Cunningham -- William Judson

9th, Mrs. Lyon -- Eliza Anderson

10th, Abraham Sharp -- Mrs. Schachtelin -- Mrs. Lucretia Hempstead

12th, Jonas Livermore

14th, Charles Lincoln

16th, John Brough, 18, Dudley Dodge

21st, Henry Murphy

 

NOVEMBER

4th, Lydia, wife of William White (Fearing)

27th, John Dye, Sr.

Jonathan Guitteau and Joseph Babcock, of Marietta, died also during the epidemic, but the dates of their deaths are not known.

    

    

The sickness of 1823 seemed to be a new breaking out of that of 1822, but, unlike the epidemic of that year, this one was not confined to the water courses of their immediate vicinity.  “The spring,” says a newspaper writer (R. M. Stimson) reviewing the subject, “was pleasant, with every prospect of a salubrious summer.  But how sad the disappointment.  the sickness broke out in June and pervaded nearly all parts of the west.

    

The country was deluged with rain in June and July, with very little thunder and lightening and no heavy winds.  Every spot that could hold water was filled with it.  fields of wheat and corn were ruined and grass rotted.  the low land exhaled noxious vapors, so that people in passing were obliged to put their hands to their noses and hasten through some disgusting spots.  In plowing in rich bottom lands, instead of the pleasant odors that usually arise from freshly plowed land a sickly smell would be sent forth.  The rains ceased the last of August, but the systems of the people had become charged with miasma.

    

The disease was more malignant and fatal in the country than in town, especially in rich bottoms, where weed grew in many places to the enormous height of fifteen or eighteen feet.  In spite of the draw back on corn in the early part of the summer, the crop was heavy from its luxuriant growth and almost without cultivation, otherwise famine would have followed, for there were not well persons enough to take care of the sick, much less to cultivate their farms.”  Those who were attacked with the fever in 1822 usually escaped this year.  July 17th was observed in Marietta and the immediate vicinity.  the whole number of persons interred in Mound cemetery during July, August, September, and October was one hundred and forty-one.  Of these seventy-two were of the township outside of the corporation;  and fourteen from other townships.  the number of deaths in August was forty-six;  in September forty-five; and in October nineteen.  Upon the Harmar side of the Muskingum---Harmar was then included in Marietta corporation---there were eleven deaths.

    

The American Friend said: “The late sickness has made great, we had almost said irreparable, breaches in society, not only as it respect numbers, but the characters also of those taken away.  In many cases children are left without any father or mother.”

    

Following is a list of deaths in Marietta or vicinity (those of persons buried in Mound cemetery) during the epidemic of 1823---from July to October inclusive.

 

JULY

5th, George Howe

8th, Jacob Drake

11th, son of S. Briggs

13th, Mrs. Dempsey

14th, Joseph Bartlett -- T. J. H. Sanford -- Mrs. Hill

18th, Mrs. Mary A. Cunningham -- William Taylor

19th, Mrs. Bacon

21st, John Locker

22nd, daughter of George Corner -- Mrs. Livermore

23rd, Caleb Thornilly -- Matthew Miner -- son of Samuel Stone -- child of Mr. Bacon

24th, Harriet Hartshorn -- Harriet Heafn --Mrs. Miner

25th, Mrs. Miller -- Mrs. Thornilly

26th, Pamelia Rood -- son of a. Daniels

28th, Rachel Howe -- Mrs. Hoff -- Levi Benjamin

29th, Leonard Foster -- William Fulton -- Anna Rogers

30th, Jonathan Carms

 

AUGUST

1st, Mr. Brown

2nd, Mr. Folliett

3rd, son of Jacob Brown

5th, Eliza Stanley -- daughter of Broadhurst -- James Lincoln

6th, child of W. Holyoke -- Mrs. Merrill -- Mrs. rood -- D. Woodbridge, Sr. -- child of D. Protsam

8th, child of _____Pratt

9th, Pearce Morse -- William McAllister

11th, child of A. Daniels

12th, child of D. Murray

13th, Joseph Harris -- Harriet Goodwin

14th, Sally Druse -- Child of C. Thornilly - Mrs. Ezekiel Deming

15th, Mrs. Dr. Jett -- Mrs. Duncan

16th, Mrs. Pratt

17th, Mrs. Morse --child of T. Buell -- child of R. McCabe

18th, child of Mr. Wheeler -- Mrs. Goodwin -- Mrs. Keating

19th, child of _____Cherry -- Mr. Goodwin

20th, John Phelps

23rd, child of J. Brown -- child of J. Clark

24th, child of William Talbot

26th, Mrs. Guitteau

27th, Ruth Johnson

28th, Mrs. Browning -- Mary Stone

29th, Eliza Palmer -- son of J. chase

30th, Mrs. Stephen Hildreth -- Emily Hoff -- Andrew Webster -- Child of G. Gilbert

 

SEPTEMBER

1st, Judson Guiteau -- Mrs. Spencer -- Mr. Rood

2nd, son of J. Chase -- Mrs. Pearce Morse

3rd, Rev. S. P. Robbins -- Mrs. Garnet

5th, Dr. N. McIntosh

6th, Dr. Jabez True -- Mary Stone, Sr.

11th, Mr. Needham

12th, child of _____ Mercer -- John Gibson -- Mr. Shoemaker -- A. Shay -- Mrs. Tucker -- child of Mr. Brown

14th, Luther Edgarton Sr.

15th, Ephraim Foster, Sr.

16th, child of Mrs. Harley

17rh, child of J. Graham

18th, child of J. Chase

19th, Elizabeth t. Willard -- child of _____ Crandall

20th, Ephraim Hill -- child of J. Graham -- child of J. J. Preston

22nd, Robert G. Duncan --woman (from Fearing) -- child of S. Lee -- child of R. Mills

24th, Rev. Joseph Willard -- Caleb Barstow -- Allen McNeil -- child of William Alcock

25th, Mrs. Deem

26th, child of Mr. Locker

27th, James Gilbert

28th, Henry Gibson -- child of Mr. Rich -- child of J. Chase

29th, Julia A. Geren

30th, child of D. Gilbert -- Mrs. McCabe

 

OCTOBER

1st, Mrs. Evans -- child of C. D. Bonney

3rd, Hopkins Green -- Joshua Shipman -- Mrs. William M. Case

6th, child of William Alcock

12th, Lorenzo Protsam

14th, child of E. Ryan

15th, child of T. Buell

17th, child of Wyllys Hall

18th, Mrs. Crandall

20th, child of J. Chase

21st, Mrs. Bodwell -- Mrs. Ryan

22nd, child of Mr. Bacon

28th, Mrs. McCune -- Mrs. Nat. Dodge

29th,  Edward Guitteau

A long list of burial certainly to be made in a small village in four months.  There were a few deaths that are not included in the above list:  Esra Crane

Lucretia Saltonstall

Amzi Stanley

Elizar Carver

Lydia McKawen

Anna Sheperd

Margaret Morse

Sarah Wiseman.

 

 

 

HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, OHIO 1788 - 1881 by: H. Z. Williams

pages 427-428   

(contributed by Debbie Noland Nitsche)