PHILLY-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > PHILLY-ROOTS > 2009-04 > 1240452521
From: "Liane Fenimore" <>
Subject: Re: [Phly-Rts] Emigrant Graves in Philadelphia
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 22:08:41 -0400
I read this elsewhere and thought the reporting was a bit sloppy with some strong statements made that were not questioned by the person writing it. Why were they expecting to find bullets? Was there any evidence or were there contemporary newspaper accounts of shooting during the epidemic? There would have hardly been time. People could die within a few hours after the symptoms appeared, most didn't last more than 24 hours or so.
If 57 of the workers died, what about the locals? Certainly quite a few of them had to have gotten such a contagious disease. And mass graves were very often used in epidemics - didn't they try to bury people quickly trying to contain the spread? They still thought the soil could be contaminated in those days.
I also wish the article would have explained how they were able to find those names on the passenger list - were the men perhaps buried with their effects?
>From Plague, Pox and Pestilence edited by Ken Kiple: Asiatic cholera spread to Russia in 1830-31. By the next year it had spread to western Europe; in Paris in April 1831 over 13,000 were ill and 7,000 died. Corpses piled up because the gravediggers were afraid of contamination.
By the spring of 1832 it had travelled to America.
Several distant Philadelphia cousins of my husband [according to Prof. Watson the 'respectable segment of society'] somehow contracted it and died in Columbus, Ohio during the outbreak. On the other side of the family, an immigrant Irish couple died after catching cholera when they sailed from Nova Scotia to New York in '32.
Cholera and the like are always found more often in crowded cities [and on ships] but I don't think it discriminated if you happened to be nearby. Over 900 died in Philadelphia.
Good luck to the group with their DNA testing, it would be quite an accomplishment to make identifications -