Knowing when an epidemic occurred will help us understand why people moved on, and help us to know where and when to look for certain kinds of records.. Here is a list of epidemics, extracted from a Wayne Co., PA mail list posting.

Year(s) Region, Area, City or State Disease
1657 Boston Measles
1687 Boston Measles
1690 New York Yellow Fever
1713 Boston Measles
1729 Boston Measles
1732-1733 Worldwide Influenza
1738 South Carolina Smallpox
1739-1740 Boston Measles
1747 Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina Smallpox
1759 North America Measles
1761 North America and West Indies Influenza
1772 North America Measles
1775 North America (especially in North East) Unknown
1775-1776 Worldwide Influenza
1783 Dover, Delaware (was extremely fatal) Bilious Disorder
1788 Philadelphia and New York Measles
1793 Vermont (a "putrid" fever) and Influenza
1793 Virginia (killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks) Influenza
1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever
1793 Harrisburg, PA (many unexplained deaths) Unknown
1793 Middletown, Pennsylvania (many mysterious deaths) Unknown
1794 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Yellow Fever
1796-1797 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (one of the worst) Yellow Fever
1803 New York Yellow Fever
1820-1823 Nationwide (started at Schuylkill River & spread) "Fever"
1831-1832 Nationwide (brought in by English Immigrants) Asiatic Cholera
1832 New York and other major cities Cholera
1833 Columbus, Ohio Cholera
1833-34 Kentucky Cholera
1834 New York City, New York Cholera
1837 Philadelphia Typhus
1841 Nationwide (especially severe in the South) Yellow Fever
1847 New Orleans Yellow Fever
1847-1848 Worldwide Influenza
1848-1849 North America Cholera
1849 New York Cholera
1850 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1850-1851 North America Influenza
1851 Coles County, Illinois, The Great Plains, and Missouri Cholera
1852 Nationwide (New Orleans 8,000 died that summer) Yellow Fever
1855 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1857-1859 Worldwide (one of the largest epidemics) Influenza
1860-1861 Pennsylvania Smallpox
1865-1873 Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, Washington DC A series of recurring epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever, and Influenza
1873-1875 North America & Europe Influenza
1878 New Orleans (last great epidemic) Yellow Fever
1885 Plymouth, Pennsylvania Typhoid
1886 Jacksonville, Florida Yellow Fever
1918 Worldwide (high point year) more people were hospitalized in WWI from this epidemic than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps, with 80% death rate in some camps. Influenza or Spanish Flu

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