McLean County, Illinois
Vol. XXIII, No. 1
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
(Printed by authority of the State of Illinois)
by Milo Custer
©Transcribed by Kim Torp
I am fully aware that this effort is not thoroughly exhaustive nor entirely complete, yet I am also convinced that from the very nature of the matter, its full history can never be written. Melancholy and unpleasant above all else, occurring mostly more than three-quarters of a century ago, in a period when no official record of deaths was required by law to be kept, when newspaper obituaries were exceptional and generally confined to a few brief lines, and worst of all, when strenuous exertions were made by local business men of that time to censor and even suppress all news of deaths from such a dangerous disease, through fear that the spread of such information would ruin their interests, in numerous instances all present knowledge of many early local cholera cases is confined almost exclusively to fading memories in the minds of a few of the oldest persons now living. This supplemented by a few published facts, some clear and good and some almost illegible inscriptions on old weatherworn marble gravestones, a few items in broken files of early local newspapers, and last of all, some early estate papers on file in the Probate Clerk's Office in our county, and in the offices of county clerks in adjoining counties, also a few early local marriage records, etc. are the sources from which this paper was compiled.
The relentless mist of obscurity time often casts over personal recollections, and the very finiteness of human life itself, is rapidly obliterating this first source. The elements are gradually destroying the third, and I regret to say that in my opinion, the future security of all the rest is very much in doubt -- most unfortunately, if the convenience of future local historians and research workers is to be considered -- and, if indeed, the future shall produce any more local historical writers.
Altogether, thanks to the kind assistance of a few friends whom I wish to name here in the beginning of my paper and not at the end, viz. Edward Summers, Dr. J.E. Marvel, William Felton, Mrs. Sarah Bishop, D.E. Denman, Miss Agnes McCracken, Mrs. Esther Davison, Stephen A. McWhorter, Robert M. Andrew, O.J. Hougham, James Reeder, I.H. Yoder, M.P. Lantz, Mrs. Alice Hazle, Miss Lura Lindley. The County Clerks at Clinton, Pekin, Pontiac and Eureka, and several other persons who did not wish their names made public, and by doing several weeks' research work of the most intensive kind, I have secured quite a lot of reliable data on this subject, some of which was a revelation even to me, long familiar with many local historical facts.
Asiatic Cholera was one of the swiftest in action of all known contagious diseases, completing its work of destruction on the human body in from one to three days after the first appearance of its symptoms, almost invariably with a fatal termination, and seldom a recovery. So far as available data could be had, the number of recoveries among local cases was only about seven percent of the entire number. I have learned of a total of about 140 deaths from cholera in McLean and adjoining counties during the period 1834-1873, and of only eleven recoveries.
Prevailing in a time when medical science had not yet learned how to combat its ravages, it is little wonder that its visitations created panic and terror in the various communities it attacked.
It is said this disease first assumed epidemic form in the Province of Bengal, India, in the year 1817, and that it first came to America in 1824, then again in 1832, 1833, 1834, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1854, 1855, and last of all, as late as 1873, when it made its final appearance on this continent, and since which time it has been definitely conquered by medical research.
The first instance of a death from Asiatic cholera anywhere in this state, of which I have thus far found a record, was that of Governor Ninian Edwards, third Governor of Illinois, who died at his home near Belleville, Ill., July 20, 1833; though there was an outbreak at Naples, Ill. in 1832. The first local case of which I have knowledge, was that of William ORENDORFF, Sr. on of our prominent pioneers, at Blooming Grove, in this county, in 1834. Mr. Orendorff's case, though said to have been very severe, was numbered among the few recoveries. It was probably contracted from the Pekin, Ill. outbreak of that year, as it is known that Mr. Orendorff frequently had business transactions in that town.
The first local death from this cause, so far as I can learn, was that of Lucian A. SAMPSON, a young merchant, who died here in Bloomington, July 17, 1849.
The third great general outbreak of cholera in the United States seems to have begun at New Orleans, La. about December, 1848, raging there through that and the following month with great severity. It soon came up the Mississippi, following the general course of travel, and also broke out in nearly all the other large cities in this country about the same time, with many thousands of fatal cases. In the city of St. Louis, Mo. alone, it was officially stated that the deaths from cholera January 2, 1849 to July 9, 1849 numbered 3,262 (Bloomington, Ill, "Western Whit," July 21, 1849) . Boston, Mass., New York, Philadelphia, Pa., Pittsburg, Pa., Washington, D.C., Newark, N.J., Petersburg and Richmond, Va., Cincinnati, Dayton and Sandusky, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., Chicago, Ill., Madison, Wis., Peru, Ill and Aurora, Iowa, are specifically mentioned in the early newspaper accounts as suffering more or less severely from this epidemic, and many thousands of deaths are reported to have occurred. The latest deaths from cholera in Central Illinois of which I know, were the four members of the WELLS family who died near Mason City, Ill. in July and August, 1873.
This disease seems to have prevailed mostly in the northern parts of this country in the late summer months, and especially in very hot weather, sometimes occurring in the late spring and extending into the early fall, particularly if the weather was very warm. It generally followed the course of rivers and lakes and usually attacked coast or river towns first, probably not because of any particular affinity of its germs for water, as many have thought, but more likely because our rivers and lakes were the principal routes of travel in the pioneer period, and the disease was more easily spread abroad in this way. Nor was it confined exclusively to the cities. The trails of the early California gold seekers -- the " '49ers," were marked by many "cholera graves" and many fatal cases occurred in widespread rural districts.
It may be of interest to many persons who never saw a case of genuine Asiatic cholera -- and who in all probability, never will -- to have a brief description of it. Early medical works and other accounts unite in stating that its characteristic symptoms were first, extreme and greatly offensive purging, soon followed by vomiting and severe muscular cramping, rapidly terminating in a complete physical collapse, which very few of its victims ever survived. It was said if the patient could survive the collapse stage, his chances for recovery were very good, but only an extremely small number withstood this terrible physical strain. The pioneer physicians applied the name "rice-water evacuations" to the first stage.
Sometimes certain other similar disease such as "cholera morbus" (now called "Gastro-Enteritis"), "dysentery" and bloody flux", etc. were confused with Asiatic cholera, and while all of them were more or less dangerous if not properly treated, yet much needless alarm was occasioned by their prevalence.
My neighbor, Mr. William FELTON, has the unique distinction of being one of the few persons now living who has had personal experience with a case of real Asiatic cholera.
In the summer of 1873, in which year the cholera was raging at Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and at East St. Louis, Ill., and came as near to this locality as Logan County, Ill., Mr. FELTON was staying on a farm located about four miles north of Sandoval, Ill. An elderly man named Mart COFFMAN, employed on the same farm, was suddenly attacked with this disease. His case had all the characteristic symptoms of purging, vomiting and violent cramping.
Mr. Felton applied vigorous manual massaging to relive the patient's cramps, and eventually nursed him to a complete recovery. This was another exceptional case.
It is a noteworthy face that Asiatic cholera seemed to have a great preference for children and young people, and that but very few old people were ever attacked with it. The majority of local cases seem to have averaged about 25 or 30 years of age, and only nine or ten out of the total of 140 were above the age of 60 years. The many premature deaths it caused also occasioned the untimely breaking of many family ties. Re-marriages of surviving consorts, however, show the formation of new families from the wrecks of older ones, thus demonstrating the dauntless pioneer determination to "carry on."
Between the years 1834 and 1873 inclusive, there were at least seven distinct outbreaks of Asiatic cholera in McLean and adjoining counties. From the best data now available, I find these were as follows:
First at Pekin, Ill. in 1834, with at least six deaths, then in Bloomington, with one death and two recoveries, at Tremont, with one death, at Lilly, with four deaths and two recoveries, and at Stout's Grove, with one death, all in the month of July, 1849, quickly followed with 13 deaths at and near Pontiac, in August and September, 1849, and one death at White Oak Grove, in April, 1950. Then came four deaths and two recoveries in Bloomington in April and May, 1854, three deaths at Stout's Grove, sometime during the same year, four deaths on the Houghton farm near this city, four deaths and one recovery at Long Point, DeWitt county, all in September 1854, also eight deaths and no recoveries at and near Selma, in October, 1854.
Then came next the worst and most extensive of all the local cholera outbreaks, that of July and August., 1855. The total number of deaths of this period will never be known, and can only be approximated. So far, I have the names of seventy-two persons who died of cholera here in Bloomington, at Waynesville, at Clarksville, at Stout's Grove, at Congerville, at Twin Grove, at Diamond Grove, and in the vicinity of Shirley, all during this outbreak. Then last of all came the attack in Logan county, at a point about seven miles south of Mason City, with four deaths in one family, in 1873, the cholera's last appearance in Central Illinois,- thirty-nine years after its first.
At least six doctors perished, martyrs to their profession, in these local epidemics, viz. Dr. Perry, at Pekin, in 1834, Drs. Parker and Bromenjam at Lilly, in 1849, Dr. Holland at Pontiac, 1849, Dr. Caster of Bloomington, and Dr. Harrison at Waynesville, in 1855.
According to two official statements published in the weekly Pantagraph, August 8, 1855, signed by Franklin Price, Mayor of the city at that time, a total of seventeen deaths from cholera had occurred here in Bloomington during the week preceding the date of the report, a comparatively large number considering the short period of time covered and the relatively small population of our city. Many other cholera deaths soon followed, but I was unable to find any further "official reports" though they were promised in the first.
Following in my next instalment, I will present a list of all local cholera deaths, nearly in chronological order, so far as could be obtained by many hours patient research. A few of these may be erroneous, but the majority are believed to be strictly correct. I have had several conflicting and widely varying accounts of some of these cases.
While in some instances, nothing seems to be known of some of these victims, yet in many other cases, they were well-known, and have many descendants now living here in Central Illinois and elsewhere. Hence it is hoped this may be of personal interest to a number of local citizens.
The burial places of a number of these could not be located, many are interred in unmarked graves, and their ages could not be learned. In many cases, however, the ages are shown by gravestone inscriptions, ill years, months and days.
THE ROLL OF THE DEAD
A LIST OF DEATHS FROM ASIATIC CHOLERA IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS,
(Compiled by Milo Custer, 1929.)
Mrs. J. C. Morgan, at Pekin, July, 1834.
Dr. Perry, at Pekin, July, 1834.
Mrs. Dr. Perry, at Pekin, July, 1834.
Thomas Snell, at Pekin, July 23, 1834.
Mrs. Cauldron, at Pekin, July, 1834.
Mrs. Smith, at Pekin, July, 1834.
Lucian A. Sampson, in Bloomington, July 17, 1849, aged 25-9-12.
Matthew L. Harbord, at Tremont, July 23, 1849, aged 36-6-0.
Joseph Seeley, at Lilly, July 24, 1849.
Mrs. Mary Lilly, wf. of Joseph Lilly, Sr. at Lilly, July 25, 1849, aged 53-6-5.
Joseph Lilly, Jr.., at Lilly, July 25, 1849, aged 19-9-2.
Dr. Wanton H. Parker, at Stout's Grove, July 28, 1849, aged 47-5-15.
Dr. William Bromenjam, at Lilly, July 29, 1849.
Garrett M. Blue, Sr., near Pontiac, Aug. 23, 1849.
Mrs. Jane Blue, (nee Somers) wf. of Garrett M. Blue, Sr., near Pontiac, about Aug. 25, 1849.
Rebecca, dau. of Garrett M. Blue, Sr. near Pontiac, about Aug.. 25, 1849 (a child).
Dr. Josiah D. Holland, near Pontiac, Aug. 23, 1849.
Augustus Fellows, at Pontiac, Aug. 24, 1849.
John Blue, near Pontiac, Aug. 28, 1849.
Mrs. Susanna Blue, (nee Nichols) wf. of John Blue, near Pontiac, about Aug. 28, 1849.
A child of John Blue, near Pontiac, about Aug. 28, 1849.
Two children of Augustus Fellows, at Pontiac, about Aug. 25, 1849.
Garrett M. Blue, Jr. near Pontiac, about Sept. 1, 1849, aged 23 years.
Daniel Blue, son of Garrett M. Blue, Sr. near Pontiac, Sept. 3, 1849, aged about 35 years.
Miss Ann Oliver, (sister of Franklin Oliver) at Pontiac, about Sept. 1, 1849.
Mr. Holmes, at Stout's Grove, about July or Aug., 1849. ( ? )
William Garner, near Pontiac, about Aug. 1849, aged about 50 years.
Isaac Allen, at White Oak Grove, April 12, 1850.
Ben Major, at Eureka, May 29, 1852, aged 44-5-2.
Clara, dau. of Alex C. Finley, in Bloomington, July 18, 1852, aged 3-1-5.
Amanda E., dau. of Isaac. Handley, in Bloomington, July 18, 1852, aged 11-10-7.
William H., son of Alex C. Finley, in Bloomington, July 21, 1852, aged 1-11-9.
Alexander C. Finley, in Bloomington, July 21, 1852, aged 28-7-0.
Benjamin Ayers, at Stout's Grove, Aug. 8, 1852.
Leannah, dau. of Zeno Hinshaw, at Stout's Grove, Aug. 10, 1852, aged 14-11-13.
George Y. Hobson, at Stout's Grove, Aug. 10, 1852, aged 35-2-23.
Joel B. C., son of Benjamin Ayers, at Stout's Grove, Aug. 11, 1852, aged 7-6-10.
David K. Haybarger, son of Abraham Haybarger, at Stout's Grove, Aug. 12, 1852, aged 29-9-5.
Mrs. Hannah Redding, at Mosquito Grove, Aug. 13, 1852, aged 63-1-4.
Margaret Brown, at Stout's Grove, Aug. , 1852.
Spotswood Wilkinson, in Bloomington, April 23, 1854, aged 59-2-22.
Perry Cross, in Bloomington, April 25, 1854.
William P. Watkins, in Bloomington, April 25, 1854.
Amos M. Jones, in Bloomington, May 1, 1854, aged 27 years.
Jacob H. Woodward, at Bloomington, Aug. 13, 1854, aged 32-0-9. (?)
Mrs. Mary A. George, (nee Hawkins) wf. of William C. George, at Stout's Grove, 1854, aged 54 years.
John George, (1) son of William C. George, at Stout's Grove, 1854 (a young man).
John George, (2) son of James S. George, at Stout's Grove, 1854 (a child).
William H., son of Moses Hougham, (2) at Long Point, Sept. 2, 1854, aged 5-1-2.
Sarah J., dau. of Moses Hougham, (2) at Long Point, Sept. 3, 1854, aged 7-3-2.
Cary, son of Moses Hougham, (2) at Long Point, Sept. 4, 1854, aged 13-11-6.
John S. Hougham, son of Moses Hougham, (2) at Long Point, Sept. 8, 1854, aged 28-0-5.
Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Andrew, (nee McWhorter) wf. of John B. Andrew, at Selma, (?) Sept. 30, 1854, aged 37-6-3.
Mrs. Elenor A. Creamer, (nee McWhorter) wf. of George A. Creamer, at Selma, Oct. 1, 1854, aged 31-8-8.
Hugh Albert, son of George A. Creamer, at Selma, about Oct. 1, 1854, aged 2-8-25.
Mary E., dau. of James S. McWhorter, at Selma, about Oct. 1, 1854, aged 2-1-23.
Stephen S. McWhorter, at Selma, Oct. 2, 1854, aged 25-6-20.
John W. McWhorter, at Selma, Oct. 2, 1854, aged 23-1-17.
Jacob Wright, at Selma, Oct. 3, 1854, aged 25-1-26.
William Wright, at Selma, Oct. 9, 1854, aged 22-9-1.
Four members of the Woodard Family, on the Stephen Houghton Farm, near Bloomington, about 1854. (?).
Mrs. Caroline Mayors, (nee Dalzell) wf. of William J. Mayors, in Bloomington, July 1, 1855, aged 31 years.
Joshua Willhoite, at Diamond Grove, July 27, 1855, aged about 65 years.
Runnion Hougham, Jr., near Funk's Grove, July 27, 1855, aged 27-5-17.
Mrs. Mary B. Rowan, (nee Baker) wf. of Martin B. Rowan, in Bloomington, July 27, 1855, aged 32!5-15.
Martin B. Rowan, in Bloomington, July 28, 1855, aged 35 years.
John W. Ross, near Funk's Grove, July 28, 1855, aged 43-5-4.
John Ackerson, near Waynesville, July 28, 1855.
Mrs. John Ackerson, near Waynesville, about July 30, 1855.
Mrs. Charlotte Montgomery, (nee Ackerson) wf. of Allen Wiley Montgomery, near Waynesville, about July 30, 1855.
Sarah Ann, dau. of John Ackerson, near Waynesville, July 31, 1855 (a child).
Jane, dau. of John Ackerson, near Waynesville, July 31, 1855 (a child).
Daniel W. Denson, near Clarksville, July 29, 1855, aged 42-5-23.
Mrs. Maria E. Rice, (nee Jenkel) widow of Henry (q) Rice, in Bloomington, July 30, 1855, aged 51-0-23.
Frederick Weilert, son-in-law of Mrs. Maria E. Rice, in Bloomington, July 30, 1855.
Joseph A. Clark, son of John A. Clark, in Bloomington, July 30, 1855, aged 19-3-21.
Mrs. Polly Willhoite, (nee Sparks) wf. of Joshua Willhoite, at Diamond Grove, July 30, 1855.
Dr. L. A. Caster, in Bloomington, Aug. 1, 1855, aged 30 years.
Mrs. Mary F. Brown, wf. of Dr. J. H. Brown, in Bloomington, Aug. 1, 1855, aged 36-1-1.
Belinda A., dau. of Dr. J. H. Brown, in Bloomington, Aug. 1, 1855, aged 15-6-7.
J. ("Mat") Critchet, at Twin Grove, Aug. 1, 1855, aged 21-8-19.
Mrs. Hugh McDonald, at Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Timothy Fitzpatrick, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Mrs. Driscol, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Mrs. Spires, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
John Phelix, ("a German") in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Mr. Allin, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Mr. Fritzer, ("a German") in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
A child (name unknown) of German parentage, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Henry R. (?) Rice, in Bloomington, about Aug. 1, 1855.
Samuel Denman, son of Zenas H. Denman in Bloomington. Aug. 2, 1855, aged 23-6-22.
Frederick E. Rice, son of Mrs. Maria Rice, in Bloomington, Aug. 2, 1855, aged 23-5-24.
Henry E. Rice, son of Mrs. Maria Rice, in Bloomington, Aug. 2, 1855, aged 12-1-29.
Archibald Thompson, in Bloomington, Aug. 3, 1855.
George Beeler, at Twin Grove, Aug. 4, 1855, aged 52-10-26.
Henry Klemkow, in Bloomington, Aug. 4, 1855.
Mrs. Henry Klemkow, in Bloomington, Aug. 5, 1855.
A child of Henry Klemkow, in Bloomington, about Aug. 5, 1855. (?).
Mrs. Elizabeth Doty, (nee Livenger) wf. of Henry A. Doty, Sr. in Bloomington, Aug. 5, 1855, aged 55 years.
John Lang, near Congerville, Aug. 5, 1855, aged 58-1-10.
Jonas Kauffman, Sr., near Congerville, Aug. 6, 1855, aged 29-2-0.
Alexander Hutchison, near Shirley, Aug. 6, 1.855.
Mrs. Elizabeth Ann (?) Hutchison, wf. of Alexander Hutchison, near Shirley, about Aug. 6, 1855.
George W. Barker, at Bloomington, Aug. 6, 1855, aged 29-1-25.
Mrs. Jane Hair, wf. of Thomas Hair, near Shirley, Aug. 7, 1855, aged 44 years.
Lorenzo D. Eberman, in Bloomington, Aug. 7, 1855,
John, son of L. D. Eberman, in Bloomington, about Aug. 8, 1855.
Mrs. Catharine Guthrie, (nee Spawr) widow of Robert Guthrie, in Bloomington, Aug. 8, 1855, aged 59 years.
A child (daughter) of John Ackerson, near Waynesville, Aug. 9, 1855.
Phoebe, dau. of Absolom Skeen, at Twin Grove, Aug. 10, 1855, aged 18-7-22.
Ellen, dau. of George W. Barker, at Bloomington, Aug. 11, 1855, aged 2-5-23.
Dr. Fielding S. Harrison, at Waynesville, Aug. 11, 1855, aged 51 years.
William H. Scudder, at Clinton, Aug. 12, 1855, aged 31-7-1.
Young Fouts, at Waynesville, Aug. 14, 1855.
Mrs. Young Fouts and child, at Waynesville, about Aug. 15, 1855.
Jeremiah Adams, near Shirley, Aug. 15, 1855, aged 32 years.
John A. Clark, at Bloomington, Aug. 15, 1855, aged 45-3-12. ( ?).
Archie McCullough, in Bloomington, Aug. 19, 1855.
Christian Schmidt, near Congerville, July or Aug., 1.855.
Mrs. Christian Schmidt, near Congerville, July or Aug., 1855. Barbara, dau. of Christian Schmidt, near Congerville, July or Aug., 1855.
A young daughter and a young son of Christian Schmidt, near Congerville, July or Aug., 1855
Isaac Bowman, and child, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
Alexander Gaston, near Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
Mrs. Hoagland, (nee Grimes) at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
Dugald Walker, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855. Mrs. Dugald Walker, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
A child of Dugald Walker, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
A child of Jeremiah P. Dunham, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
A child of Mr. Shelley, at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
An unknown person at Waynesville, July or Aug., 1855.
Joseph Wells, near Mason City, July 30, 1873.
Hannah Wells, dau. of Joseph Wells, near Mason City, Aug. 3, 1873.
John William Wells, son of Joseph Wells, near Mason City, Aug. 6, 1873.
Mrs. Hannah Wells, wf. of Joseph Wells, near Mason City, Aug. 11, 1873.
The following persons suffered attacks of Asiatic Cholera, but recovered, and lived many years afterwards, viz;
William Orendorff, Sr., at Blooming Grove, 1834.
Mrs. Sarah Low, (nee Brooks) wf. of Nathan Low, Sr., at Low's Grove, 1849.
Nathan Low, Jr., at Low's Grove, 1849.
Mrs. Edward Bacon, Sr. (nee Sarah Lilly; first, Mrs. Lucius M. Warden) at Lilly, 1849.
Mrs. George Walker, (nee Mary Lilly) at Lilly, 1849.
Isaac Handley, at Bloomington, 1852.
Mrs. John Summers, (nee Emily Handley; first, Mrs. Alex C. Finley), at Bloomington, 1852.
Ira Hougham, son of Moses Hougham (2) at Long Point, 1854.
Mrs. Rebecca Drake, (nee Messer) near Clarksville, 1855. James S. Pierson, at Selma, 1855.
Mrs. Frederick Weilert, (nee Regina Rice; secondly Mrs. Frederick Sharples) at Bloomington, 1855.
The Ackerson Family and Mrs. Montgomery
Came to Illinois from Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1853, settling near Waynesville. The family consisted of John Ackerson, Sr. his wife, (nee --- Atkinson?), their children, John, Jr., Sarah Ann, Jane, Susan, and an unnamed infant, also Mr. Ackerson's sister, Charlotte, who married Allen Wiley Montgomery, 1852. All were cholera victims except John, Jr. and Susan. John Ackerson, Jr. (born 1847) died at Ashton, Ill., 1920, leaving five children surviving. Susan Ackerson, born 1851, married 1st, William Buckley, 1868, 2ndly, Ira Hougham, 1901, and died in Bloomington, Ill., 1927, also leaving five children surviving by her first marriage. Ira Hougham, was a survivor of the Long Point, DeWitt County, cholera outbreak of 1854 his case being one of the few recoveries. (Box 14, Case 140, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., History of DeWitt County, Ill. 1882, Page 298, and information from Mrs. Susan Hougham.)
He married Elizabeth Robertson, daughter of William Russell and Malinda (Hinshaw) Robertson, 1845. One daughter, Lovisa (A.) Smith, survived her father. His widow married secondly a Mr. Summerfield and removed to Kansas. (Information from Samuel Custer, the writer's father; Ezra Hinshaw, Mrs. Ida Hinshaw Hull, and Gravestone Inscription, Scogin's Cemetery, Sec. 13, Dale Township, McLean County, Ill. )
A native of Tennessee, and one of the first settlers at White Oak Grove in the Northwest part of McLean County, Ill. Came to Illinois about 1833. His children were William S., Susannah (A.) Carlock, Mary J. (A.) Leatherman, Sarah Ann (A.) Lupton, Abner P., Amos W., and James K. (Bloomington, Ill. "Western Whig," April 13, 1850: Early Probate Records, Woodford County, Ill., History of Woodford County, Ill. 1878, Page 458, History of McLean County, Ill. 1879, Page 683, and "Old Family Records" No. 6.)
Mr. - - Allin
Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855, in Weekly Pantagraph. No other data found.
Father of the late Joseph B. Ayers, a prominent citizen of Danvers, Ill. and Normal, Ill. Benjamin Ayers had married secondly, Mary Susan (Haybarger) Hinshaw, widow of Charles Hinshaw, in 1851. She survived him. He was the father of Mrs. Caplinger, Carlinville, Ill. and also of William B. Ayers and John T. Ayers, late of Danvers, Ill. both now deceased. (Box 11, Case 38, Box 12, Case 441, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. and Information from C. C. Hinshaw, a step-son.)
George W. Barker
He married Elizabeth Toliver, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Maxwell) Toliver, early pioneers of Bloomington, Ill. 1852. A son, George Barker, and a daughter, now Mrs. Leckann (B.) Tiffy, of Clinton, Mo. survived him. (Box 15, Case 160, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 7, 1855, and Information from Mrs. Ida Hinshaw Hull, niece of Mrs. G. W. Barker, Bloomington, Ill. )
A native of Fayette County, Kentucky. Son of Samuel (2) and Mary (Graves) Beeler. He married Delilah Sheeley, 1823, and came to Illinois about 1830. He left surviving, his widow, and four children, viz. Mary Ann (B.) Winn, Benjamin S., Harriet (B.) Fowler, and Beverley. (See Beeler genealogy by the author. Information from J. B. Enlow, Bloomington, Ill. 1929, and Gravestone Inscription, East Twin Grove Cemetery, Dry Grove Township, McLean County, Ill. )
The Blue Families of Livingston County, Ill.
Came to Illinois from Virginia about 1830. Garrett M. Blue married Jane Somers. Their children were Daniel, Mary Ann (B.) Barrett, Benjamin H., Matilda (B.) Ross, Polly J. (B.) , Keziah (B.) Gentry, Garrett, Jr. and Rebecca. (Early Probate Records, Livingston County, Ill. History of Livingston County, ill. 1878, Page 301, and Portrait and Biographical Album of Livingston County, Ill. 1888, Page 755.)
An Isaac Bowman married Elizabeth Perry somewhere in McLean County, Ill. in 1837. This one? (Early Marriage Records, McLean County, Ill. and History of DeWitt County, Ill. 1882, Page 298. No other data found.)
Dr. William Bromenjam
After making diligent and intensive research, I have been unable to learn anything about this man other than the item contained in the Bloomington, Ill. "Western Whig" of Aug. 1, 1849, in which his death is noted. I have wondered whether this is the correct spelling of his family name. In many years of experience as a student of family names, I never before saw this one, and I cannot find it in any family name dictionary, nor anything closely resembling it. I do find, however, that the name "Brummajem" is a corrupt nickname for the city of Birmingham, England. M. C.
Mrs. Dr. J. H. Brown and daughter, Belinda
Mayor Price's death list, Aug. 7, 1855, and Gravestone Inscriptions, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. No other data.
Was she married or single? Information from C. C. Hinshaw to Miss Agnes McCracken. No other data found.
Dr. L. A. Caster
Probably a native of Ohio or Pennsylvania. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855, and Gravestone Inscription in Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. No other data found.)
John A. Clark
Uncertain. He may not have been a cholera victim, though his death followed soon after that of his son, Joseph, who is known to have died of cholera, and both lie buried in adjoining graves in the Old City Cemetery in Bloomington, Ill. (Box 16, Case 146, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, IIl.) Among his estate papers is an undertaker's bill for a coffin for "Ambrose." Query; Was this Mr. Clark's middle name or was "Ambrose" another cholera victim?
Joseph. A. Clark
Son of John A. Clark, who lived "on Grove Street" in Bloomington, Ill. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855, and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill.)
J. ("Mat") Critchet
He was a single man employed on the farm of Jesse Hill, at Twin Grove, a few miles west of Bloomington, Ill. My informant, Mr. Enlow, called him Matthew Critchet, and says he was commonly called "Matt," but the gravestone shows the name as J. Critchet. (Information from J. B. Enlow, 1929, .and Gravestone Inscription, East Twin Grove Cemetery, Dry Grove Township, McLean County, Ill.)
Death Notice in Weekly Pantagraph. No other data found.
A native of Ohio. Son of Zenas H. and Elizabeth (Townley) Denman, and an uncle of D. E. Denman, Normal, Ill. He was not married. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855 and information from D. E. Denman, Normal, Ill.)
Daniel W. Denson
Born at Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Proprietor of a grist mill at Clarksville, near Lexington, Ill. He left a widow and two children, Eugene D., and Mary Ann, surviving. (History of McLean County, Ill. 1878, Page 699; Box 15, Case 151, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. and Gravestone Inscription, Scroggins' Cemetery, Lexington, Ill.)
Mrs. Elizabeth Doty
A native of Pennsylvania. Born Livenger. Married Henry A. Doty, Sr. Came to Bloomington, Ill. 1850. Husband died at Ottawa, Ill 1876. They had seven children including Catharine, Henry, Jr. and Rebecca. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 7, 1855; Portrait and Biographical Album of McLean County, Ill. 1887, Page 364; Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. and Extracts from Diary of Isaac L. Kenyon, in "School Record of McLean County, Ill. " 1903, Page 402.)
Mrs. --- Driscoll
(Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855. No other data found. )
Lorenzo Dow Eberman and son, John
Uncertain, though they both died within a short time of each other, and during the cholera epidemic. Probably the "Mr. Everman" of Mayor Price's death list. The father left a widow, "C. M. Eberman" and five minor children, viz. Mary, Joseph, Emaline, Sarah, and William, surviving. (Box 15, Case 138, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. )
A native of New York State. He was an early hotel proprietor at Pontiac, Ill. His widow married secondly, Nelson Buck. (History of Livingston County, Ill. 1878, Page 301, and early Probate Records, Livingston County, Ill.)
The Finley and Handley Families
Alexander C. Finley was an early daguerreotype artist in Bloomington, Ill. His widow, nee Emily Handley, daughter of Isaac Handley, married secondly, John Summers, of Woodford County, Ill. and they were the parents of Miss Carrie Summers and Mr. Edward Summers, of Bloomington, Ill. who have assisted me very greatly in gathering material for this paper. (Gravestone Inscriptions, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. and Information from Edward Summers.)
Probably a native of Ireland. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855. No other data found.)
Mr. and Mrs. Young Fouts
History of DeWitt County, Ill., 1882, page 298, and early Probate Records, DeWitt County, Ill. No other data found.
Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855. No other data found.
Information from Sylvester Potter to H. J. Mies, Pontiac, Ill., 1929. No other data found.
History of DeWitt County, Ill., 1882, page 298. No other data found. (Dr. J. E. Marvel of Waynesville, Ill. made diligent efforts to learn more about this and many other Waynesville cases but without success.)
The George Family
William C. George, the head of this family, born in Virginia, 1796, married Mary A. Hawkins in Hampshire County, Va. 1816, and died in Champaign County, Ill. 1876. Buried in East Twin Grove Cemetery, Dry Grove Township, McLean County, Ill. Their children were Samuel, John, (1), Thomas, James S., Catharine (G.) Simons, Elsie (G.) White, Mary (G.) Brown, Sarah (G.) Smith, Rebecca (G.) Emmett, William, Abraham and Isaac; (Portrait and Biographical Album of McLean County, Ill. 1887, Page 317-18, and Gravestone Inscription, East Twin Grove Cemetery, Dry Grove Township, McLean County, Ill.)
Mr. and Mrs. Grimes
History of DeWitt County, Ill. 1882, Page 298. No other data found.
Mrs. Catherine Guthrie
Born in Pennsylvania. Daughter of Valentine and Margaret (Richer) Spawr Grandmother of P. A. Guthrie, veteran County Clerk of McLean County, Ill. She married Robert Guthrie, and left ten children surviving, viz. John, Margaret, Robert E., Jacob, Mary (G.) Holmes, Adam, (Father of P. A.); Thomas H., Rebecca, Lee, and Catherine E. (See Diary of Isaac L. Kenyon,-extracts from-in "School Record of McLean County, Ill. 1903, Page 402, and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. Also Information from P. A. Guthrie, Bloomington, Ill., and Weekly Pantagraph, Aug. 15, 1855.)
Mrs. Jane Hair
Information from Samuel Caster, the writer's father, and Gravestone Inscription, Grassy Ridge Cemetery, near Shirley, Ill. No other data.
Matthew L. Harbord
Son of William and Jane (Coffey) Harbord. He married Catherine Low, daughter of Nathan, Sr. and Sarah (Brooks) Low, 1836. Their children were George Corteus, Alphonzo, Sarah J. (H.) Brown, lone (H.) Brown, Laura, and Matthew Adolphus. His widow married secondly, Hon. Bailey H. Coffey. Matthew L. Harbord was an uncle of Gen. J. G. Harbord, noted World War soldier. (Bloomington, Ill. "Western Whig," July 28, 1849; Box 7, Case 358, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. and "Old Family Records" No. 6, also Gravestone Inscription, West Twin Grove Cemetery, Dry Grove Township, McLean County, Ill.)
Dr. Fielding S. Harrison
Came from Ohio to Waynesville, Ill. 1840. Married Martha Hash. (Her mother, Elizabeth (Crockett) Hash, was a cousin of the noted David Crockett). His children who lived to maturity were Andrew T., Mary (H.) Hull, Martha E. (H.) Dunham, Addison, William, and Adeline (H.) Long. His widow died 1891 aged 85 years. (Information from Dr. J. E. Marvel, Waynesville, Ill.)
David K. Haybarger
Son of Abraham, Jr. and Mary (Crobarger) Haybarger, and a native of Augusta County, Virginia. He was also a brother of the second wife of Benjamin Ayers. He was not married. (Information from C. C. Hinshaw and Gravestone Inscription, Hinshaw Cemetery, Danvers Township, McLean County, Ill.)
Miss Leannah Hinshaw
Daughter of Zeno Hinshaw. (See Hinshaw-Hinshaw Family History, edited by the writer. Information from C. C. Hinshaw; also Gravestone Inscription, Hinshaw Cemetery, Danvers Township, McLean County, Ill. )
Mrs. - Hoagland
History of DeWitt County, Ill. 1882, Page 298. No other data found.
George Y. Hobson
Probably a son of Joshua Hobson, an early pioneer of Stout's Grove, McLean County, III. He married Adah L. Smith, 1847. (Information from C. C. Hinshaw, and Gravestone Inscription, Hinshaw Cemetery, Danvers Township, McLean County, Ill.; also Box 12, Case 444, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill.)
Dr. Josiah D. Holland
A pioneer physician of Pontiac, Ill. No other data found. (History of Livingston County, Ill. 1878, Page 301, and early Probate Records of Livingston County, Ill.)
Mr. ---- Holmes
Information from Mrs. Ricketts, to L H. Yoder, Lilly, Ill. 1929. No other data found.
The Hougham Family
Moses Hougham, Jr. an 1812 War veteran, married Elizabeth Ann Rhodes, and came from Ohio to DeWitt County, Ill. at an early date, settling at Long Point, near Waynesville. Their children were David, Amos, Rebecca (H.) Draper-Harrold, Ann (H.) Veteto, Mary (H.) Veteto, Andrew, Cary, (2), Ira, John S., Miriam (H.) Wooster, Sarah J., and William. Of these the last two named, Sarah J. and William, and their older brother, John S., died of cholera. Another older brother, Ira Hougham, was attacked with the disease but recovered. John S. Hougham married Samantha Adkison, 1852, and had a son, John A. Hougham, born after the father's death. (Information from Oscar J. Hougham, son of Ira Hougham, Heyworth, Ill. 1929; Gravestone Inscriptions, Halsey Cemetery near Waynesville, Ill. and early Marriage Records, DeWitt County, Ill.; also information from Dr. J. E. Marvel, Waynesville, Ill. 1929.)
Runnion Hougham (2)
Another member of this well-known pioneer family. He left a widow and three minor children, Isabella, Laura, and William G. (Information from Samuel Custer, the writer's father, D. R. Stubblefield, Box 16, Case 137, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. Gravestone Inscription, Funk's Grove Cemetery, McLean County, Ill. and "Old Family Records," No. 6.)
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Hutchinson
Probably natives of Kentucky. Among the papers on file in connection with his estate is a bill from Dr. Eli K. Crothers
for $59.10. "To medical attention, family in cholera." They left two minor children, George and Amanda. (Information from Samuel Caster, the writer's father. See also Box 14, Case 152, and Box 15, Case 143, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill.)
Amos M. Jones
A native of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Came to Illinois, 1850. An I. O. O. F. resolution on his death in the Weekly Pantagraph, May 10, 1854; " Waynesboro & Chambersburg, Pa. papers please copy." No other data found except death notice in Weekly Pantagraph.
Jonas Kauffman, Sr.
Born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Left a widow surviving and had a son, Jonas Kauffman, Jr. born after the father's death. (Information from Milo Plank Lantz, Carlock, Ill. 1929.)
The Klemkow Family
Germans. Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 7, 1855- name misspelled "Kramkow"- and Box 15, Case 142, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. No other data found.
Born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Married first, Magdalena Yoder, secondly, Sarah Hostetler. Children by first marriage, Lydia, Joseph, Simeon, Magdalene. Children by second wife, Eli, Samuel, Malinda. (Information from Milo Plank Lantz, a grand-son, Carlock, Ill. 1929.)
The Lilly Family
The family consisted originally of five persons, Joseph Lilly, Sr., his wife, Mary, son Joseph, Jr., and two daughters, Sarah, (first Mrs. Lucius M. Warden, secondly, Mrs. Edward Bacon, Sr.) and Mary, (Mrs. George Walker.) The mother and son died of cholera, the two daughters were attacked but recovered. The father died at Lilly, Ill. in 1858. He was a pioneer tavern keeper. Some descendants are now living. The town of Lilly, in Tazewell County, Ill. was named for them. (Bloomington, Ill. "Western Whig," July 28, 1849; Gravestone Inscriptions, Lilly and Bacon Cemetery, Lilly, Ill. and Duis' "The Good Old Times in McLean County, Ill." 1874, Page 304.)
Born in Kentucky, Oct. 31, 1796; Married Lucy Davenport, who was born Sept. 15, 1802; Came to Ill. 1834; One of the founders of Eureka College, at Eureka, Ill. Son, Jo Major. (Early Probate Records, Woodford County, Ill. and History of Woodford County, Ill. 1878, Page 604.)
Mrs. Caroline Mayers
Born 1824, Kentucky or Virginia. Daughter of John and Keziah (Nichols) Dalzell, who came from Virginia to Kentucky, thence to Logan County, Ill. at an early date. Related to the Depew Family. No children. (Death Notice in Weekly Pantagraph; and Information from Mrs. Harriet Lawrence, niece of Mrs. Mayers' husband, Bloomington, Ill. 1929. See also "Old Family Records," No. 5.)
Extracts from Diary of Isaac L. Kenyon, as published in "School Record of McLean County, Ill. and other Papers," 1903, Page 402. No other data.
Mrs. Hugh McDonald
A native of Ireland. Came to America 1844. She left surviving, her husband, four daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoy, Decatur, Ill., Mrs. Catharine Dixon, Bloomington, Ill., Mrs. Margaret Martin, Decatur, Ill. and Mrs. Bridget Roach, El Paso, Ill. also one son, Patrick McDonald, California, all now deceased. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855, and Information from Thomas Dixon, a grandson, Bloomington, Ill.1929.)
The McWhorter Families
Several varying accounts exist. As best I can learn, Hugh McWhorter and six of his thirteen children came from Clinton County, Ohio, and settled in McLean County, Illinois, probably about 1848. The children who settled here were James S. McWhorter, married, who lived in Selma, near Lexington, Ill.; Mrs. Elenor A. Creamer, wife of George A. Creamer, who lived on a farm in Sec. 14, Martin Township, McLean County, Ill.; Mrs. Sallie Reeder, wife of S. J. Reeder, who lived near Saybrook, Ill.; Stephen S. McWhorter, married, John W. McWhorter, single, and Miss Nancy Catharine McWhorter, single, who lived with their father on a farm near Heyworth, Ill. In September, 1854, Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Andrew, (wife of J. B. Andrew,) an older daughter of Hugh McWhorter, came from Ohio to visit her father and other relatives in Illinois. She contracted Asiatic cholera supposedly at a hotel in Chicago where she had stopped to rest a few days while enroute to Illinois, partly recovered, succeeded in making her way on to Bloomington, (if my information is correct) went to the home of James S. McWhorter in Selma, Ill, where her sister Mrs. Creamer and her two younger brothers also came to visit, and was there again attacked with the disease, along with several others. A total of eight deaths resulted within a few days, all starting from this single case. Those who died were Mrs. Andrew, Mrs. Creamer, Stephen S., John W., a young daughter of James S., a young son of Mrs. Creamer, and two neighbors, Jacob Wright and William Wright, brothers. Mrs. Andrew left surviving, a daughter, Mary Ellen (A.) Williams, and a son, Robert McWhorter Andrew, Oregonia, Ohio; Mrs. Creamer left two daughters, Mary E. and Eliza J. (C.) Fry, wife of Thomas Fry. Stephen S. McWhorter left a son, Stephen A. McWhorter, New York City, N. Y. The widow of Stephen S. McWhorter, (nee Louisa Perry) married secondly, Edward Wilson, and left several children of her second marriage surviving at her death many years later, including Mrs. Esther (Wilson) Davison, Chicago, Ill. Hugh McWhorter died near Heyworth, Ill. in 1864, in his 77th year. James Reeder, Normal, Ill., former Sheriff of McLean County, Ill. is a son of Sallie (McWhorter) Reeder. (Information from Mrs. Esther Davison, Stephen A. McWhorter, Robert M. Andrew, and James Reeder. See also Box 18, Case 334, Box 21, Case 70, Box 28, Case 742, and Box 63, Case 2077, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. also Gravestone Inscriptions, Adams Cemetery, near Selma, Ill. and Heyworth Cemetery, Heyworth, Ill. also History of McLean County, Ill. 1878, Page 838., also letter of Mrs. Sarah Bishop, 1929.)
Miss Ann Oliver
History of Livingston County, Ill. 1878, Page 301. Relatives still live in Livingston County, Ill.
Dr. Wanton H. Parker
A native of New York State, and probably of Oneida County. Son of Archelaus R. and Sarah (Tefft) Parker, the father a native of Massachusetts. Came with his parents to Ashtabula County, Ohio, about 1815, married there to Rosannah Lemmon, 1824. Attended medical lectures at Columbus, Ohio. Settled at Versailles, Woodford County, Ill. about 1833, later removing to Stout's Grove, (now Danvers Township, McLean County, Ill. ) about 1840. Like many other pioneer doctors, he was both farmer and physician. His estate papers show that at his death he had more than two thousand dollars in accounts for medical services outstanding. His attack of cholera was contracted from the Lilly family whom he had attended professionally. His children were Fidelia Ann ( P. ) Beeler- Mahaffey; Mary C. ( P. ) Miller, Dr. Robert L. Parker, Polly ( P. ) Stillwell, John H. Parker, and Hannah (P.) Hayes-Griffith. He was an older brother of Orrin Parker, the writer's maternal grandfather. Fred S. Larison, a well-known business man of Bloomington, Ill. is a great-grandson, and numerous other descendants now live in McLean County, Ill. and elsewhere.
The Pekin, Ill. Victims of 1834
Thus far the only data I have been able to secure about these people is that found in the History of Tazewell County, Ill. 1879, at Page 566, with the single exception of Thomas Snell, whose estate is shown in the early Tazewell County Probate Records, with a limited transcript of the same in the early McLean County Probate Files. Query; Was he an ancestor of the late Col. Thomas Snell, Civil War Veteran, and prominent citizen of Clinton, Ill.?
Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 7, 1855. No other data found.
Mrs. Hannah Redding
Gravestone Inscription and Information from C. C. Hinshaw. Buried in a lone grave at "Mosquito Grove," Section 5, Allin Township, McLean County, Ill., at the site of her home.
The Rice Family and Mr. Weilert
Once a prominent, cultured and wealthy family of Alsace-Lorraine, who later suffered severe reverses through the misfortunes of war. Henry (?) Rice, Sr. emigrated from Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, about 1848. He died on board ship and was buried at sea. His family consisted of his wife, Maria, (nee Jenkel or Jencquin), and six children, Regina (R.) Weilert, (secondly Mrs. Sharples); Elsie (R.) Lampe, Sophia (R.) Sesselberth, Charles, Frederick, and Henry; the family came to Bloomington, Ill, about 1855, being referred to as "strangers" in Mayor Price's list. Of these the mother, Mrs. Maria Rice, and the son-in-law, Frederick Weilert, died of cholera and the two sons, Frederick Rice and Henry Rice, soon followed, victims of the same disease. The daughter, Regina (Rice) Weilert, was attacked with cholera but recovered. She married secondly, Frederick Sharples. Sophia married Charles Sesselberth, Elsie married Charles Lampe. Charles Rice became a soldier in the Civil War, later married Lena H. Schneekloth and died near Bloomington, Ill., at an advanced age, leaving three children, Lena (Rice) Scott, Regina (Rice) Castle, and the late Joseph F. Rice, former County Treasurer of McLean County, IIl., surviving. (Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855, Gravestone Inscriptions, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill., and Information from Mrs. Regina (Rice) Castle, and Miss Emma Keeran, Bloomington, Ill. 1929.)
Henry R. Rice
Uncertain. Was he the "Mr. Rice" of Mayor Price's death list? Box 13, Case 217, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. shows the estate of Henry R. Rice, whose widow, Jane Rice, was appointed guardian of their five minor children, viz. George, Mary, Clarinda, Lucinda, and William, in 1856, with Simeon Rice and John R. Rice, bondsmen. (No other data found.)
John W. Ross
Born in Indiana. Son of Jacob Ross. Came to Ill. 1830. Married Nancy Funk, daughter of John Funk. They had seven children, viz. Margaret (R.) Brazill, James, Mary (R.) Nicol, William H. H., Francis M., Martha Ellen (R.) Park, and John W., Jr. (Information from Samuel Custer, the writer's father; D. R. Stubblefield, Portrait and Biographical Album of McLean County, Ill. 1887, Page 618, Box 15, Case 153, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. and Gravestone Inscription,- Funk's Grove Cemetery, Funk's Grove, Ill.)
Mr, and Mrs. Martin B. Rowan
Mr. Rowan, was, I think, a native of Kentucky. Mrs. Rowan was a daughter of Dr. Isaac Baker, one of McLean County's earliest and most well-known pioneers. They were married in McLean County, Ill. 1843. Two children, Albert H. Rowan, and Ella (Rowan) Mason, wife of Judson R. Mason, survived them. (Weekly Pantagraph; Gravestone Inscriptions, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. and "Old Family Records," No. 5.)
Lucian A. Sampson
The cholera's first victim in Bloomington, Illinois. Probably a native of Massachusetts and a relative of John Magoun, whose mother was a Sampson. He was an early merchant in Bloomington, Ill. He married Eliza S. Oliver, 1844. They had two children. His widow married secondly, Dr. Henry Conkling, 1851, and died in 1873, aged 46 years. (Bloomington, Ill. "Western Whig," July 21, 1849; Box 7, Case 360, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. Duis' "The Good Old Times in McLean County, Ill." 1874, Page 304, and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. )
William H. Scudder
An early jeweler of Bloomington, Ill. He left surviving, a widow, Mary Jane, and two young children, William A. and Sarah E. (Weekly Pantagraph, and Box 13, Case 213, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., also Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill.)- He died at Clinton, Ill. but was buried in Bloomington.
A native of England, probably of London. He left surviving, his widow, Sarah, and three minor children, viz. "F. J., a boy," aged 14 years in 1849; "D. M., a girl," and Ellen S. "a girl" both "under 18 years of age" according to the declaration of Amasa C. Washburn, of Bloomington, Ill.. who was appointed their guardian and administrator of his estate. (Box 8, Case 375, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. and Duis' "The Good Old Times in McLean County, Ill." 1874, Page 304.)
The Christian Schmidt Family
This family consisted originally of ten persons, the father and mother and eight children. The parents and three children perished in the cholera epidemic, five children survived. Those who lived were Peter, Joseph, Mary (S.) Felrath, and Lena (S) Meininger. (Information from Milo Plank Lantz, Carlock, Ill., 1929.)
Miss Phoebe Skeen
Miss Skeen died at Twin Grove, a few miles west of Bloomington, Ill., but was buried in the Old City Cemetery. No other data, except Box 47, Case 1594, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., which shows the estate of her father, Absolom Skeen, who died in 1867. (Information from Mrs. Laura A. Mikesell, Bloomington, Ill., 1929, and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill. )
Mayor Price's death list of Aug. 3, 1855. No other data found.
Information from Samuel Custer, the writer's father, to Miss Agnes McCracken, 1913, according to Miss McCracken; also Box 15, Case 141, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill. I think Miss McCracken must have learned of this cholera victim from some other informant, as my father in his life time never mentioned this name to me when telling of his personal experiences during the cholera period of 1855.
Mr. and Mrs. Dugald Walker
History of DeWitt County, Ill., 1882, page 298. No other data found.
William P. Watkins
Death notice in Weekly Pantagraph. No other data found.
The Wells Family, 1873
The cholera's last victims in Central Illinois. (Bloomington, Ill., Weekly Leader, 1873, Withers Public Library, Bloomington, Ill. )
A native of New Kent County, Virginia. I think he was a bachelor. His mother survived him. He died at the residence of Hon. James Miller, 801 South Madison Street, Bloomington, Ill. (Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill., and obituary in Weekly Pantagraph.)
Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Willhoite
Mr. Willhoite was born at Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky, and was a veteran of the War of 1812. He came to McLean County, Ill., in 1851. His wife's maiden name was Polly Sparks. Their children were Dr. Willis C. Willhoite, Elial T., James M., Lucy ( W. ) Hancock, Alexander, and Reuben. (See "Soldiers of the Revolution and War of 1812 Buried in McLean County, Ill." by the author, 1912.)
The Woodard Family
I have been unable to secure satisfactory data for this family. Whether Jacob H. Woodward was one of them or not, I have been unable to determine. (Information from Miss Lura Lindley, and Mrs. Alice Houghton Hazle, Bloomington, I11.,1929. No other data found.)
Jacob H. Woodward
Uncertain. He may or may not have been a cholera victim and he may or may not have been a member of the Woodard family mentioned by Miss Lindley and Mrs. Hazle. He left two young daughters, Elizabeth Ann, and Alice, both "minors of tender years" according to Hon. Franklin Price, who was appointed their guardian. (Box 14, Case 125, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., and Gravestone Inscription, Old City Cemetery, Bloomington, Ill.)
He was a blacksmith and a young man of exceptionally robust physique, according to my informant. His widow, Rebecca, married secondly, Jesse B. Thompson. (Information from Mrs. Sarah Bishop and Grant Hare; see also Box 13, Case 64, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., and Gravestone Inscription, Selma Cemetery, Selma, near Lexington, Ill. )
A brother of Jacob Wright. He left a widow, Margaret. (Information from Mrs. Sarah Bishop and Grant Hare; see also Box 11, Case 76, Probate Files, McLean County, Ill., and Gravestone Inscription, Selma Cemetery, Selma, near Lexington, Ill.)
NEWSPAPER ITEMS AND EDITORIALS.
The following represents only a part of the entire number of items and editorials referring to this subject, as they occur in the files of these very rare old Bloomington, Illinois, newspapers. There are many others containing much valuable historical information, that would doubtless be very useful to anyone writing a general article covering the entire state or the whole United States; such as names of cities and towns in other parts of this state and other states where the epidemics prevailed, number of deaths for certain periods, references to measures taken to prevent the disease spreading, etc., but the limitations of this paper compelled me to confine my transcriptions to such portions as apply directly to Central Illinois. Therefore, I have made a special selection of the following twenty numbered items, all of which have been chosen with great care. I have had access to much other more or less scattered data on the cholera, as published in various county histories, the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, etc., but enough copies of all these publications exists to insure their safe preservation and the material they contain is in no immediate danger of becoming lost, while on the contrary, only two files of the Bloomington, Ill., "Western Whig," the Bloomington, Ill., "Intelligencer," and the Bloomington, Ill., "Weekly Pantagraph" covering the cholera periods are known to exist, and all of these files are incomplete. In several instances only one copy is known to exist of certain numbers, for instance that of the "Western Whig" of Aug. 1, 1849, containing the account of the deaths from cholera of Drs. Bromenjam and Parker, the Illinois State Library copy of this number, which is incomplete of itself, the second sheet being missing. A third file of the Bloomington, Ill., "Western Whig" once owned by the New York State Library, was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1912. For this reason I trust my copies of this very rare material will be appreciated by all who are interested in this subject. Altogether they form a fairly well connected contemporary history of the cholera epidemics in Central Illinois.
(1) "Western Whig ", Jan. 13, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor.:
"This fearful epidemic has made its appearance arrayed in all its wonted terror, at New Orleans. From fifty to sixty persons have died with it daily for some days, the weather being extremely warm at that time. People fled from the city in all directions, and business was nearly suspended. But the rage of the disease has nearly abated, and it is hoped that it will soon disappear as the weather gets cooler. Many deaths have occurred on board of steam boats on their way up the Mississippi and Ohio. Some fatal cases are reported at Cincinnati and also several on board of steamboats at St. Louis, but none in the city, at last accounts. At New York the disease progresses very slowly without much apprehension of its becoming severe or general. We still believe that this disease will be stayed in its progress up the country by the cool weather of the season and by closing of navigation on account of the ice in the river.
What is the exact nature of the malignant agent in the atmosphere which causes this disease has not been discovered-But it is undoubtedly a miasma arising from the decay of vegetable matter about the mouth of the Ganges in Asia where it takes its periodical rise and spreads on westward through Europe and America.
It generally follows the course of rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, being more or less violent in its character in proportion to the habits of the people, the warmth of the climate, the season of the year, the abundance or the scarcity of vegetation in the vicinity, the low or high situation of the country, etc. Something of the kind prevails more or less every year in some countries. In this country sickness of somewhat a similar character though much more mild in its effects is common every year, and it is undoubtedly attributable to similar causes."
(2) "Western Whig," May 12, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor:
"This fearful malady is advancing slowly into more remote parts of the country. It has very much abated in New Orleans, and other places on the Missouri it has decreased in violence. *** Several cases have occurred at Peoria."
(3) "Western Whig," May 19,1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor:
" CHOLERA "
"From St. Louis papers we learn that the cholera is increasing in fatality on the Missouri and its branches. It is still progressing in St. Louis, Cincinnati and New York. Report says that it is raging in Chicago, but many papers have so strangely suppressed the truth on the subject that one is at a loss what to believe. It would be infinitely better on every account to publish the plain facts and then let people act on their own responsibility."
(4) "Western Whig," July 14, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor:
" CHOLERA "
"This malady continues to rage with increased violence. At St. Louis the deaths from this disease were for several days from 100 to 127. Owing to delay of the papers for the Southern mail, we have no very recent news from that city. Quarantine regulations have, however, been established, and all boats up from New Orleans are obliged to land their passengers below the city. It is hoped that much benefit will result from these arrangements, as the great mortality at that place has been owing principally to the continual rush of Emigrants from Europe, with all the predisposition to disease acquired on their passage. At Cincinnati, there has been a great increase in the number of cholera cases, and in their fatality. On one day the number of deaths were 134, though 100 was about the average number per day last week. At Louisville, it is mild. Several towns in the southern part of this State have suffered considerably. At Peru, on the Illinois, the mortality has been very alarming, so that the town is mostly deserted by the inhabitants. Several other points on the same river, and on the canal, have been visited. At Chicago the number of deaths has ranged from three to five daily up to the 8th inst."
(5) "Western Whig," July 21, 1849, and July 28, 1849; Advertisements:
"CURE FOR CHOLERA."
"D. Jaynes Carminative Balsam for the cure of cholera which, he writes, never failed in 30 cases of Asiatic Cholera. It ought to be in the hands of every person and in every family. "
"For sale by R. 0. Warrinner & Co.,"*
(6) "Western Whig," July 21, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor:
" CHOLERA. "
"It is our painful duty to announce the death by cholera in this place, of Mr. L. A. Sampson. On this subject we shall state our honest conviction of the facts-most assuredly not from any unkindness or disrespect for the deceased, but from a sense of duty to the living.
Mr. Sampson had been absent for some days on a trip to Chicago, and was intimately exposed to cholera influences on the canal and river boats. On the 15th between Peoria and this place, supposing himself to be safe from the influence of the cholera, he dined improvidently, making free use of vegetable food. On the evening of the same day, having arrived at home, he felt somewhat unwell, was worse on the 16th, and died on the forenoon of the 17th. As to the spread of the disease, there is no such thing in this town to spread. There are no grounds for standing in fear of cholera now in this place than for two months past. Bloomington is now as healthy as it ever was or as any other place in the country at this season of the year. Let the people of this vicinity go cheerfully about their business, exercise that amount of good sense which they are wont to employ on other subjects, avoid all excesses of every kind, partake very prudently (that is not at all) of new vegetable food, fresh meats or early fruits, attend promptly to the first indications of the disease, and all will be well. If people would be but half as anxious to avoid the causes of the disease as they are to escape the consequences, few, comparatively, would be sick. Truly it may be said that the follies of mankind cost them more than their faults, and their wants more than their necessities.
Our friends in the country need be under no apprehension of our concealing the facts in reference to these matters- they will be set forth in truth and soberness." *Early druggists of Bloomington, III.
(7) "Western Whig," July 28, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor:
"We learn that Mr. Lilly, residing some three miles this side of Mackinawtown, has been severely afflicted in the loss by cholera, of his wife and son, Joseph. Others of the family have been sick but they are recovering. Mr. Lilly's house has long been favorably known by the traveling community in this vicinity."
"From most points the reports are favorable in reference to this disease. At St. Louis the number of deaths from cholera for several days has averaged less than fifty, and gradually decreasing. It is about the same in Cincinnati-the number of deaths being somewhat less. At Chicago it is increasing gradually, the number being from fifteen to twenty daily. In the towns in the interior of this state, as a general thing, where it has hitherto been severe, it is disappearing. Springfield and Jacksonville are said to be entirely free from it. In some of the interior towns of Ohio it has been quite fatal. Dayton has suffered severely. This place continues healthy as heretofore."
"On the 24th inst. of cholera, at Tremont, Tazewell Co., Ill., Mr. Mathew L. Harbord of Davis Co., Missouri, formerly a resident of this county. He was 36 years of age."
(8) "Western Whig," August 1, 1849; Editorial on first page; C. P. Merriman, Editor;
"Dr. Parker of Stout's Grove, in this county, died of cholera in the forenoon of Saturday, last. He had attended on the family of Mr. Lilly, in Tazewell County, and had been unwell two or three days.
Dr. William Bromenjam also died of the same disease, on Sunday night last, at the house of Mr. Lilly, on whose family he had attended professionally. No other cases have been heard of.
In St. Louis the cholera is rapidly disappearing, the number of deaths being, on Thursday last, 14, and on Friday, 10. In Cincinnati, it is about the same according to the latest dates."
(9) "Western Whig," August 18, 1849; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor;
"The Boston Transcript of the 24th says : "Owing to the prevalence of the cholera, south and west, pleasure travel from large towns and cities has been diverted to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and many a country tavern has a plethora of fashionable people who dine daily on boiled pork and potatoes and New England pudding, well contented with that fare, if only privileged to breathe an air free from pestilence. It is said that so numerous is the company in some of the public houses in the vicinity of the White Mountains, that at night they place travellers on the floor in rows, till they get to sleep, then they set them up against the wall and lay down another set, and so on, until all are accommodated. "
(10) "Western Whig," April __, 1850; Editorial; R. H. Johnson, Editor;
"This disease again 'stalketh abroad' in different parts of the country, and it is certainly the duty of everyone to be on their guard and use every exertion in their power to escape its fearful ravages.
We are informed by Dr. Rogers who was called to see Mr. Isaac Allen of White Oak Grove in this county, that it was a case of cholera. The patient had just returned from the south and upon his arrival home was prostrated with the fearful disease. When the Doctor left him he was supposed to be beyond recovery.
This case is almost in our immediate neighborhood and should warn our citizens to prepare for its blighting scourge. Our streets and alleys should be cleaned immediately and every preparation be made to keep it from our midst, as it comes "like a thief in the night" (and) we know not how soon it may visit us."
(11) "Western Whig;" October 12, 1850; Contribution; Johnson & Underwood, Editors;
(A long article by Dr. Eli K. Crothers of Bloomington, Ill. written in reply to another long article signed "Silas," written from Hudson, Ill. and published in an earlier issue, (that of September 28, 1850), attacking Dr. Crothers for maintaining that the disease then prevailing in this locality was dysentery and not cholera. In his reply, of which the following is a brief extract, Dr. Crothers defended his stand on the subject and set forth very clearly his reasons for holding that the epidemic then prevailing was not cholera. Both articles are entirely too long for the limits of this paper. M. C.)
Who? Dr. Silas Hubbard ? (Extract from Dr. CrotIers' article)
"In cholera we have vomiting and purging almost invariably after the cholerine or diarrheal stage of a peculiar character, well known as the rice colored evacuations. * * * * Cholera in the great majority of cases runs through its different stages, from which danger is apprehended, in from one to three days. Attending it invariably are spasms of the involuntary muscles, of a very severe and decided nature." *
(Note:-" Silas's" article refers to an earlier article in the Bloomington, Ill. "Reveille," of about Sept. 21, 1850, no copy of which is now known to exist. M. C.)
(12) "Western Whig," June 18, 1850; Editorial; Johnson & Underwood, Editors;
"Cholera-This fell destroyer is again abroad in the land. Papers from all parts of the country speak of its awful ravages and destruction. The disease seems to be prevailing to a great extent on the rivers, and pursues the channels of commerce and trade. The mortality is not so great now as it has been heretofore. Yet it is sufficiently alarming to induce all to exercise great prudence in regard to eating green and unhealthy fruit and berries. Let all be cautious."
(13) "Bloomington, Ill. Intelligencer," August 4, 1852; Editorial; Jesse W. Fell, Editor;
"CHOLERA IN TOWN."
"Much excitement, we are informed, prevails in some parts of the adjacent country in reference to the prevalence in our city of this alarming disease. This is wholly uncalled for, as from the best information derived from most reliable sources, not a case does or has existed for some time past. A week or two ago, as is generally supposed, three or four cases, having a fatal termination, occurred,* but none it is believed now exists, and no excitement whatever (is) here felt on the subject. Our friends in the country need be under no apprehensions in visiting this place." *Undoubtedly a reference to the Finley and Handley families. M. C.
"Cholera:-We regret to learn from the offices of the Regulator that the cholera has again made its appearance among the laborers on the railroad and public works in the neighborhood of Peru on the Illinois. Sixteen deaths had occurred, nine at Peru and seven at La Salle. None of the citizens had been attacked, and no great alarm was felt of the disease spreading to any great extent."
"St. Louis Intelligencer."
(14) Weekly Pantagraph, May 10,1854; Editorial; C. P. Merriman, Editor;
"There has been manifested some little disposition to censure us for publishing three or four deaths last week as by cholera-fearing that it might keep people away from Bloomington and injure business men.
Now we have only to say that those cases were reported by those who had been witnesses thereof and stated them to be cholera. Whether they were cholera, or aggravated cases of some milder malady, we do not pretend to say-that being the business of the doctors to decide, and we do not feel disposed to invade their peculiar province-though Heaven knows that among our many sins and shortcomings, there will not be found the sin of paying too much deference to professional men of any kind.
"Nor do we pretend to decide whether the result-sudden death in the said cases was induced by the extremely warm weather for the season, or by the medicines employed.
We are not unaware that it is the custom with many editors to conceal the truth in such diseases for fear that it might injure the character or the business of their places, but in such rascality we will not participate. Such concealment would be indictable in a court of moral equity, and the perpetrators of it would be accessory to the deaths of those who should die in consequence of exposure to the disease under such circumstances.
In this as in all other cases, honesty is the best policy, and let the impression get among the people in the vicinity, that the cholera was actually in our city, but that efforts were made to suppress the fact, and it would injure the place ten times more than the truth. Such is the healthiness of Bloomington, that it has nothing to fear from the truth on the subject. Our friends in the country rest assured that there are not money and influence enough in this place to suppress the truth, should the cholera make its appearance among us, and our fellow-citizens will also find that we are no alarmist. The true principle is to state the facts, and then let each one act knowingly on his own responsibility.
There is now no more cholera in Bloomington than there was on Mount Ararat on the day in which Noah's dove returned no more on the Ark."
Note: No file of any local newspaper covering the latter part of September and the early part of October, 1854, in which period the cholera deaths at Selma-the McWhorter families-occurred, can be found. M. C.)
(15) Weekly Pantagraph, August 1, 1855; Editorials; Charles P. Merriman and Jacob Morris, Editors;
"We have heard of five deaths in the city and two in the country, occurring suddenly, and it is said to have been from cholera, within the last two or three days. Amongst these are Mr. and Mrs. Rowan, residing on Center St., the former of whom died yesterday, and the latter early this morning.
Prudence and temperance should be observed both in eating and drinking, particularly during the prevalence of symptoms indicating a predisposition to this disease."
"All will do well to remember that Wells "Cholera Specific" is the most safe and certain remedy in existence for Cholera, Cholera-Morbus, Diarrhea, Dysentery, &c, &c. This is the ark of safety."
"Deaths by Cholera-We have heard of five deaths by cholera since Saturday morning; but have not been able to learn the names of the victims, with a single exception, viz. Mr. Joseph A. Clark, son of J. A. Clark, on Grove Street. Three of the others were Germans, one man and two women, and the other was an Irish woman."
(16) Weekly Pantagraph, August 8, 1855; Contributions; Charles P. Merriman and Jacob Morris, Editors;
"As many false and unwarrantable reports are in circulation respecting the health of our city, I have taken upon myself the responsibility of obtaining all the information to be procured, and herewith present you the name and number of deaths that have occurred from Cholera, or otherwise, since Thursday the 26th day of July, the day upon which the first case of cholera appeared in our city."
"The following are the cholera cases-17 in no."
Mr. Allin, residence Peoria Junction, died in jail.
Mr. Clark, City.
Mr. Rice, City, German. (Mr. Weilert?)
Mr. Fritter, City, German.
M. B. Rowan and Mrs. Rowan, City.
A German child, City.
Mrs. Spires, City.
Two Germans named Rice, City-strangers.
Mrs. Rice, mother of the above, City.
Miss B. A. Brown, City.
Dr. Caster, City.
Mrs. McDonald, City.
Mrs. Driscol, City.
Timothy Fitzpatrick, City.
Samuel Denman, City.
"No deaths are reported this morning, and the physicians think the disease has abated.
Hereafter, weekly reports will be published giving all the interments from this date until the suppression of the epidemic."
"Franklin Price, Mayor."
"Bloomington, Aug. 3, '55."
(Also the following in the same issue)
"For the Pantagraph"
"Messrs. Editors-The mortality of our city since Friday last is as follows :
Mr. Kramkow, German.
Mrs. Kramkow, German.
John Phelix, German.
Flora Fell. (Error-This child died of cholera morbus. M. C.)
Mrs. J. H. Brown.
"F. Price, Mayor."
"Bloomington, Aug. 7, '55."
(17) Weekly Pantagraph, July 4, 1855; Death Notice; Charles P. Merriman and Jacob Morris, Editors;
"On Sunday night, last, Mrs. Caroline Mayers, wife of William Mayers, of this city, very suddenly. Her disease is said to have been cholera."
(18) Weekly Pantagraph, August 15, 1855; News Item; Charles P. Merriman and Jacob Morris, Editors;
"DEATHS FROM CHOLERA."
"Two deaths from cholera were reported yesterday, Mrs. Guthrie, and a woman in the south part of town.
The disease is apparently abating. We hear of no new cases this morning.
"The cholera still prevails at Shelbyville in this state, and a large number of its inhabitants have left the town. Deaths occur daily. On Thursday week nine are said to have taken place."
(19) Weekly Pantagraph, August 15, 1855; Editorial; Charles P. Merriman and Jacob Morris, Editors;
"Correction:-We have been twice in error in alluding to the sickness near Waynesville. We mentioned on the authority of a "colporteur" who had been in the neighborhood where the mortality prevailed, that nine deaths had occurred in one family. This we now learn was erroneous. Only five deaths occurred in the family alluded to- Mr. Akison, (Ackerson) the father, mother, and three daughters. Three of the number were lying dead at one time in the house. The total mortality in the neighborhood was at last accounts, about 20. The sickness was subsiding."
(Also the following death notice in the same issue)
"At Clinton, DeWitt County, night before last, of cholera, William H. Scudder, jeweler, of this place."
(20) Bloomington, Ill., Weekly Leader, August ,20,1873; Editorial; Charles P. Merriman, Editor.
"The Cholera-Four members of the family of Joseph Wells, who lived in the edge of Logan County, about seven miles from Mason City, have recently died with the cholera. Mr. Wells was taken sick on Wednesday and died on Sunday. July 30th. Hannah Wells, a daughter, was taken on the following Wednesday and died on Thursday morning. John William, a son, was taken Saturday, and died Sunday. Sarah Wells, the wife, was taken on Saturday and died the next Friday. Four children of the family are left orphans by this terrible calamity that has fallen upon them. Mr. Wells was a brother of James Wells of this city."
SOME HISTORICAL INCIDENTS.
There can be no doubt but that some of the cholera afflicted families endured some heart-rending experiences. Several stories have come down to us traditionally that seem almost unbelievable. Some are ludicrous, a few even humorous despite their tragic setting. Perhaps all of them are more or less reliable and true,- some may be gross exaggerations. Some, told in the uncouth language of the early pioneer rural communities were unsuitable for publication, therefore must be omitted.
Many cholera victims died on river steamboats that stopped at the nearest river bank as soon as possible after a death occurred; burial was hastily made, often in a strange land, far from the victim's home and friends, and the grave left unmarked, soon became lost and unknown.
Perhaps one of the most repeated of these stories was the following: A young Negro man, a deck-hand on one of the Mississippi river steamboats, suffered an attack of cholera, passed through all its various stages, including the collapse, was pronounced dead, placed in a cheap, hastily constructed coffin, carried ashore and preparations were made for a hurried burial. While digging the grave, the man who was doing the work heard a slight noise. Looking up he was astounded to see the supposed dead man sitting up in the coffin, blinking his eyes and looking around him. "What yo-all doin?" he asked. "Why, I was getting ready to bury you!" said the grave-digger, realizing the situation and recovering his self-possession. "The h-1 yo' was!" said the Negro, and kicking off a few boards from the flimsy casket, he leaped out and fled.
When Lucian Sampson died here in Bloomington, in 1849, his friend, John Magoun waited on him and nursed him during his fatal illness; Abram Brokaw and Goodman Ferre, two of our most prominent pioneer citizens, buried him. Another prominent citizen, hearing of this death, and not knowing the cause, came to the house of the deceased to make inquiry and perhaps offer condolence. On learning it was a case of cholera, it is said, he instantly ran out of the house, through the back yard, leaped over a high board fence, and fled. What his name was "deponent sayeth not," but those familiar with early local history could hazard a good guess.
From several different sources I have heard the stock tale of the family who with the exception of one young infant, were all discovered to be dead of cholera by some neighbors, who in a frenzy of zeal to prevent the disease spreading, quickly removed the child and set fire to the house, consuming it with all its contents, including the unburied bodies of the dead. I made diligent efforts to learn the name of this family and also to determine the exact site of this peculiar act of pioneer sanitation, but so far, without success. No particular community or town within the territory covered by my researches seems desirous of claiming the honor. It is a fact, however, that the house of John Ackerson, Sr., (near Waynesville, Ill.) who with his wife, sister, and three children, (two children surviving) were all cholera victims within the space of a few days, in August, 1855; with all its contents, was actually set on fire and completely destroyed by neighbors shortly after the deaths occurred, but the bodies of the deceased were first removed and buried, at least bills for five coffins supplied by two undertakers are still on file along with other documents relating to his estate.
While the flames were roaring, it is said, little John Ackerson, Jr., one of the two survivors, then about eight years old, stood looking ruefully upon the blaze, and was heard to make this remark: "I didn't care much for the old house, nor anything else we had in it, but I left a darn good pair of new boots in there!"
When Dr. Wanton Parker was stricken on his return from a professional visit to the Lilly family, it is said he was so ill when he arrived home, he was unable to guide his horse, the faithful animal making its way to his destination by its own instinct, and the doctor was already too sick to dismount without assistance.
When Nathan Low, Jr., was attacked with cholera in 1849, his mother made a mistake and gave him a double dose of the prescribed medicine. Recovery followed and the attending physician told Mrs. Low that the double dose was all that saved her son's life. In striking contrast is the following:
In 1855 a second "cholera scare" visited Selma, according to Mrs. Sarah Bishop. A young man named James H. Hays, aged about 25 years, feeling slightly ill, hastened to a doctor who gave him some medicine with the usual instructions to take it in certain prescribed doses. The young man hurried home, drank all the medicine in one dose, "went to sleep and never woke up." His grave is still to be seen in Selma Cemetery, marked by a good old marble headstone.
Sad indeed were the experiences of some of the pioneers who came into actual personal contact with cholera cases. It is said that most of the attacks commenced late at night, generally between midnight and morning, and that most of the deaths also occurred late at night. The late C. C. Hinshaw once told me that when young David Haybarger (I believe it was) died, there was but one man in the neighborhood who was willing to stay with him until the end came and then sit up with the corpse the rest of the night. (I have forgotten who Mr. H. said it was.) Mr. Hinshaw said that in telling about it afterwards, the man said it seemed to him that long bitter night would never end, that it seemed to him the longest night he had ever known.
According to Mrs. Esther Davison, when Mrs. Elizabeth Andrew was attacked with symptoms of cholera on an Illinois Central railroad train while on her way from Chicago to Bloomington, in September, 1854, the obliging conductor stopped the train at some town on the way, went to a drug store and bought Mrs. Andrew a bottle of some kind of cholera medicine, which soon gave her temporary relief, enabling her to reach her destination.
In 1850 a disease known as dysentery was epidemic in Bloomington. It was very severe and caused several deaths.
Dr. Eli K. Crothers, (Father of Miss Lulu Crothers, the noted playwright) then a young man, practicing medicine in this city and vicinity, pronounced the malady dysentery and treated it as such. Some person at Hudson, Ill., signing the name "Silas" to his letter, wrote a long and scurrillous article to the editor of the "Western Whig" attacking Dr. Crothers for his stand and claiming that the disease then prevailing was really Asiatic cholera. Dr. Crothers "came back" two weeks later with a scholarly article, showing fully that the disease was not cholera, and offered ample proof of his views. Both articles were published in full and are contained in the Withers Library file of the Whig.
In a historical sketch of the local German M. E. Church by Mr. R. N. Woodworth, published in the Bloomington, Ill., Bulletin several years ago, it is stated that Rev. John Schmidt, the first (missionary) pastor, who came here in February, 1855, was well acquainted with medicine, and that when the cholera broke out here in the summer of that year, he used his talents in aiding the people of his congregation, many of whom died with the disease, however.
Referring to the rapidity with which the disease progressed, Mr. Thomas Dixon tells me his mother (Mrs. Catharine Dixon) whose mother, Mrs. Hugh McDonald, was a cholera victim of 1855, in Bloomington, told him that many of the victims hardly knew they had the disease until they were dying of it.
A Description of Cholera from an Old Medical Work.
"After watery diarrhea, generally of a few hours' duration, vomiting begins, of a clear colorless fluid; which as well as the copious passages from the bowels, resembles rice-water. There is, also, coldness of the skin, which gradually increases; with cramps, thirst, great feebleness of the pulse, and general prostration, deepening into collapse. In this last condition, the patient is blue all over, with skin shrunken, and the pulse at the wrist is imperceptible ; sometimes the breath is cold. Few recover." (MacKenzie's Ten Thousand Receipts, Edition of 1866, Medical Division.)
Extract from letter of Dr. J. E. Marvel, Waynesville, Ill.
August 7, 1929.
"Mr. Milo Custer,
Bloomington, Ill. "Dear Sir
"Your inquiry received in regard to persons who died from Asiatic cholera in Waynesville and vicinity in 1855. I will give you all of the data that I have.
"My father, the late William Thomas Marvel, often related to me that the cholera epidemic was in July and August in 1855. On account of the panic produced by the scourge, several families who then lived at Waynesville, temporarily abandoned their homes and left the village. A few remained to care for the sick and bury the dead. They were usually rolled in a blanket and buried in haste to prevent further spread of the disease. Many feared to go near a victim of the scourge. Time was seldom taken to construct a wooden casket for the dead.
"The cause of cholera was then unknown and nothing filled the public mind with more alarm and apprehension than this fatally malignant disease. It began suddenly with fever, nausea and vomiting, colicky griping, abdominal pains, ricewater discharges from the bowels, rapid pulse, and marked prostration. After a few hours the eyes sunk in the head, the pulse quickened and was often imperceptible to the touch, then violent cramp pains seized the muscles of the limbs and abdomen. The skin became purple in color.
"The disease was characterized by violent purging and rapid collapse which led to death in a day or two. When the patient survived the collapse, color returned to the skin and warmth to the body.
"In 1884, Koch, a German scientist announced the discovery of the comma bacillus, the specific organism of this disease. Vaccines were developed at a later date for the specific cure of the disease. Since 1873 the disease has gained no foothold in the United States.
Dr. J.E. Marvel,
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