CHOLERA - 1849

The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
Feb 8, 1849

        [From the Cincinnati Gazette] - The press should be careful what it publishes touching the treatment of Cholera, and the public still more careful what they receive as authority and act upon. An almost infinite amount of crude matter has been published concerning this mysterious and dreadful malady, compared to which the really valuable treatises or suggestions are as the planets among the stars. Theories too many to mention have been started, as to the origin or cause of the disease, and nostrums offered for its prevention and cure almost as numerous as trees in the forests. It is rare to find a person who has read a few medical books, and hung out the sign of Doctor, who does not understand all about it, but still more rare to find one who can make a few sensible remarks with reference to it, and propose simple, reasonable, and efficacious means for the treatment of its curable stages.

        We commend to the attention of our readers, and the public generally, the following brief, plain and practical communication. It comes from an old and extensive practioner of this city, who saw and treated a great deal of the Cholera when it was here in 1832. We have confidence in the course of treatment it recommends for the early and curable manifestations of the disease, not only because we know its writer to be one who may be relied on, but also for the reason that we know his suggestion accord with the treatment used successfully when the Cholera was here.

     The questions are daily asked- Will the Cholera visit Cincinnati? -

        When may we expect its approach? Should it make its appearance, what can be done to escape an attack, or to effect a cure? Now I will endeavor to answer these questions in a very concise and simple manner, that all who choose may avail themselves of my suggestions. In the first place there is a strong probability that the epidemic will reach Cincinnati in the course of the present winter, and if the telegraphic report be correct that it is now prevailing in the Staten Island Hospital, we may daily expect to hear of cases among us. What can we do then as a city, or as individuals, to stay its ravages, or to protect our own persons? It is now almost universally conceded that it is not a contagious disease. Of course all quarantine regulations are unnecessary, and experience always shows that wherever they have been adopted they have proved entirely unavailing. All he city authorities can do then, is to abate nuisances, and remove offensive matters of every kind, which, by vitiating the atmosphere we breathe, tend to predispose the system to whatever epidemic may be prevalent.

        But although we cannot rely much upon public effort, we can do much to protect ourselves. Among the most important prophylactic measures are attention to personal cleanliness; keeping regular hours; being temperate in our drinking; taking regular meals of wholesome food, such as beef, mutton, poultry, potatoes, rice and bread- carefully avoiding such kinds of ailment as are known to be difficult of digestion, such as fresh pork, veal, fresh fish, oysters, crude vegetables, pastry, sweet meats, &c., and above all, keeping the mind free from undue solicitude, which is best affected by pursuing our regular business, whatever it may be, so it be honest and useful. And why should we be overanxious? Remember that in ninety-nine cases in a hundred of Cholera, there is a stage of the disease which is almost always curable, and that is the stage of simple diarrhoea. During the epidemic of 1832 many were betrayed into false security by regarding diarrhoea as a pemonitory symptom, whereas it is the first stage of Cholera itself. Attend to that at once, and there is but little to fear.

        That brings me to the last question- What can be done to affect a cure? To this I answer: Any person finding his bowels to be loose, (how ever well he may feel in other respects) should go immediately to bed, and send for his physician. Should the physician not be at hand, take twenty drops of Laudanum with the same quantity of Camphor mixed with a little water, and apply a hot brick to the feet. If there should be nausea or vomiting, apply a mustard poultice over the pit of the stomach. Take no food. If thirsty, drink small quantities of herb tea, such as spearmint or pennyroyal. If the laudanum and camphor should not arrest the diarrhoea in an hour, and the physician does not arrive, take 10 grs. of calomel with 1 gr. of opium, to be followed in 12 hours with a tablespoonful of castor oil. Let the above course be promptly pursued, and we should hear of but few fatal cases of Cholera.


Mar 22, 1849

Prepare for the Cholera

        Each citizen has been furnished with a notice by the corporation, enjoining cleanliness upon them and the removal of every thing from their premises that may have a tendency to superinduce Cholera. In behalf of the citizens, we notify our City Fathers of the existence of a greater nuisance and one that has a stronger tendency to cause Cholera to visit us than all others combined. It stands upon the Front street and invites the disease as it ascends the Mississippi to tarry awhile for victims- Shall it not be abated?

June 7, 1849


       ...Cholera is not contagious, and it is important that this fact should be thoroughly understood.

        During the prevalence of the epidemic, the collection of the sick into narrow, damp, badly-ventilated situations, greatly favors its intensity and extension. Persons attacked in these situations should be instantly removed.

        During epidemic cholera derangements of the digestive functions are more common.

1. Those who feel symptoms of cholic or diarrhoea, or who have pains of the stomach, should be excessively prudent in diet; and avoid fatigue, cold, and humidity.--They should wrap the abdomen in a flannel jacket, go otherwise warmly clad, and use mild infusions of tea, or sage or chamomile, or balm. If these symptoms do not suddenly disappear, a physician should be sent for. It rarely occurs that attacks of cholera are not ushered in by symptoms of disease of the stomach and bowels. In this condition any intelligent person is capable of giving relief; and promptitude is the important point.

2. If the disease is not checked in this, its first stage- and if diarrhoea increases, accompanied with vomiting, chilliness, coldness of the extremities- the patient must be placed in a warm bed, between blankets; have hot bricks, or bags of sand, or bottles of water, applied to his feet, and warm napkins to the abdomen and stomach- the extremities must be rubbed with flannel dipped in alcohol, camphor, or other stimulant--warm drinks must be administered every few minutes; such as teas, chamomile &c. - cataplasms of ground flaxseed and mustard must be put on the extremities- all causes of chilliness must be avoided- and small injections of rice water, starch, or decoction of marshmallow must be given, with a decoction of poppy heads superadded- frequent small injections are best.

3. When pain in the head, cramps, in the limbs, and extension of cold occur- when the tongue is cold, the eyes sunken, the skin bluish on the face and hands- the remedies above indicated should be more promptly used until a physician arrives.


2 DOZEN packages of this popular remedy received on commission per last boat
for sale by A.SANDERS.
May 31st.


July 5, 1849


     Our town has thus far been almost wholly exempted from Cholera, but two deaths of citizens from that disease having occurred.

     It is universally conceded that during the prevalence of Cholera all diseases partake of its characteristics, hence an individual having a bilious attack exhibits many of the symptoms of Cholera, and doubtless if medical aid be not summoned the disease would eventuate in Cholera. And thus is why there are few deaths from other diseases during the prevalence of cholera and why at that time bilious fever to so limited an extent prevails.

     If our citizens continue and increase sanatary [sic] precautions, our town may yet escape the visit of the epidemic with that virulence which has attended it at other towns south of us.

     As many reports prejudicial to the health of Davenport have been circulated in the country, we would inform those abroad that we have yet had but two deaths from cholera, exclusive of those Germans who landed on our wharf sick, and that it is our intention to publish every death that occurs in our place, and for that purpose request the friends of the deceased, or their medical attendants to furnish us with a notice of the same.


Thursday Morning, July 5th--The Cholera is still upon the increase in St. Louis. Last Sunday there were 175 deaths reported by the City Register.


DEATHS ON THE TOBY- The Cholera on the Uncle Toby on her last trip was fatal enough without contemporaries multiplying the number of deaths. But fifteen were buried before arriving at this place and two dead bodies then on board made seventeen, the whole number that died between St. Louis and Davenport. Of this we were assured both  by officers of the boat and the emigrants.

The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
July 19, 1849


        We have noticed many cases of persons presumed to have died from cholera, but who previous to burial revived and subsequently recovered. The disease is one that racks the nervous system and leaves the unfortunate person utterly prostrated, hence the calm and quiet of its victim previous to dissolution. Again very large quantities of opium and other narcotics are employed, which from the condition of the patient, are frequently rendered powerless, for the time being, but afterwards display their effects in a stupor that may sometimes be mistaken for death. How important that the positive proof of death be obtained before the body is consigned to the earth? The simplest method of doing this, good medical authority states to be, to apply a heated iron to the surface, if a blister be raised, the person is not dead, if there be no blister hope may be banished.

CHOLERA PREVENTIVES- An old physician of Cincinnati in speaking of brandy as a preventive of cholera, very sarcastically remarks, that all who do not die of cholera this year will die of mania potu next year. There is considerable truth in that remark, and those who take it as a preventive will find that as a remedial agent it has lost, with them, much of its virtues. The best preventive is a serene mind, a fearless heart, and an immediate resort to medicine upon the first symptoms of disease.

Cholera at Peru
        By arrivals from the Illinois river, we have intelligence that the cholera was making great havoc at Peru, and on Sunday evening, the time of the last reports, was supposed to be increasing.

        The number of deaths that day, the first inst., were 10- about in the same proportion or greater than in St. Louis at the worst point. On the preceding day 7 died and on Friday, 9. Generally on the Illinois river there was but little disease.

            ~~ A private letter from Cincinnati under date of the 4th inst. States the cholera to be very bad in that city, on business of any kind doing except those relating to the epidemic, and some of the Drug stores closed from sickness or death of their proprietors. In Dayton the cholera was also very bad and more fatal than in Cincinnati. In the latter City the doctors appear to be more successful than at almost any other place. Dr. Buchanan, it is stated in our letter, "has never lost a case when called before the collapsed stage."

- Twelve cemeteries report for last Saturday week, 123 deaths by Cholera, 89. The same number of cemeteries for Sunday report 107 deaths, by Cholera 80. On Monday deaths by Cholera alone, 135. On Tuesday, by Cholera 145. On Wednesday, 157 deaths, Cholera 124. Thursday, 136 deaths, Cholera 105.

CINCINNATI- During the 24 hours ending Wednesday last, there were 76 interments from cholera and 50 from other diseases. The epidemic is abating. The treatment of the cholera in the Hospital under the management of physicians has been very successful.

LEXINGTON, KY.- The Louisville Courier of the 9th says of Lexington: The cholera has been raging with increased violence at this place during the past week. It attacks indiscriminately and does not appear to yield as readily as heretofore to medical treatment. The citizens are greatly alarmed and numbers of them are hurrying away from the place.

KEOKUK [ IOWA]- There were twelve deaths from cholera in Keokuk during the week ending Thursday last, and thirty-eight during the last four weeks.

QUINCY, ILL.- The Quincy Whig of last week reports seventeen interments from cholera the previous week. On Saturday evening the disease broke out with still more virulence, and five deaths were reported Saturday afternoon. The citizens were leaving and much anxiety and alarm was manifested.

BELLEVILLE, ILL.- There have been many fatal cases of cholera at this place. For twenty-four hours ending with Thursday last, there were ten deaths. The disease is prevalent also in the vicinage.

The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
July 26, 1849

There were one thousand deaths in New York during the week ending the 17th inst., against two hundred and eighty-four of the same week last year. Of the above number 184 died of Cholera.- On the 17th there were 103 cases of Cholera and 15 deaths; on the 19th, 53 cases and 36 deaths.

PHILADELPHIA- During the week ending the 17th inst., there were 469 cases of Cholera and 171 deaths in this city. On the 17th there were reported 73 cases and 31 deaths from Cholera; on the 19th, 87 cases and 32 deaths.

ST. LOUIS- The Cholera is gradually abating in St. Louis. On Monday and Tuesday of last week the number of deaths had decreased to 61, each day, and on Saturday last to but 37.

CHICAGO- The epidemic is on the increase in this city. On the 16th there were 9 deaths, and on the 17th, 11 deaths from Cholera.

CINCINNATI- During the three weeks ending the 8th inst., there were 2,485 deaths in this city, a greater mortality than ever before known in Cincinnati. The Cholera is now steadily on the decline. On the 19th there were but 43 deaths from Cholera.


       The Epidemic- Its ravages-Other diseases- Melancholy incident-Mercantile community-Corruption of great cities, St. Louis in particular.

       We are indebted to the kind attentions of a friend for the following extracts from a letter received by him under date of St. Louis, 19th inst. The reflections upon the mercantile community may in the main be correct as applied to all cities, but in St. Louis their sombreness is relieved by the well known philanthropy of that class of its citizens. In proof of this assertion we would instance the alacrity and the substantial manner in which they responded to the appeal from Pittsburg, proceeding out of its affliction from the devouring element. We would point to the many and heavy outlays individually encountered by the merchants for materials to purify their city and rid it of the pestilential vapors which for months has involved them. All  honor to the fraternity who have nobly stood their ground and fought the destroyer, rather than flee and leave the weak and indigent alone to its embraces:-

       "The Cholera has been with us a long time. It commenced here early last winter, the cases then were few, and scattering and doubts as usual were expressed as to its being the genuine Asiatic, but those doubts were soon removed. As the warm weather approached, the disease developed itself more fully, and before the great fire, was considered very bad; that fire seemed to check it for a short time, but it soon began to increase, until it finally devastated our city, and made it a perfect grave yard. For the last 3 or 4 weeks we have been burying from 800 to 1000 per week. Last week's reports for the week ending 16th inst. show a mortality of 867, and this in a population decreased by death and departures to not over 40,000 and some say 30,000- usually 60 - 65,000. This is a fearful mortality, and much greater than is on record in any other city of the Union.- This week there is an improvement, the deaths average from 80 - 90 per day, while last week they run as high as 189 per day. The mortality from Cholera yesterday was down to 50, from other diseases 34, in all 84. With the decrease in Cholera, there seems to come an increase of fatality in other diseases, as Bilious Dysentery and Congestive Fevers, which are as much to be dreaded as the Cholera; the one wasting its victim like wax before the fire, the other producing death almost as soon as Cholera; quickly reducing to insensibility, from the effect of which the sufferer never awakes. In all cases of death from these diseases, decomposition takes place so rapidly as to render speedy burial unnecessary; from 6 to 24 hours begins, and ends, the case. In most cases medical skill is useless-the disease setting at defiance all known modes of treatment.

       It would be impossible for me to relate all the individual cases of distress that have come under my knowledge; they are too numerous, and extend through the whole community; in some instances whole families have been swept away from earth, in so short a time, as almost to defy belief. Lately Mr. Gilman's book-keeper, Mr. Ranson died, and when the grave closed over him there was none of his name, or kindred, to drop a tear to his memory, and there were eight new-made graves side by side, containing his family, his wife, and children, who, but a week or ten days previous, were all together and well. This is but one out of many cases, more or less distressing.

       We have strict Quarantine Regulations, Boards of Health, &c. Our people are put on low diet; vegetables and fruit are not allowed to enter the city, and there has been considerable fasting, if not as much prayer as there should be-but it all fails. The disease seems to have its own way and will run its course, but I trust we have seen the worst, and that I shall have better news for you hereafter. Every one feels sad and dejected, not knowing at what moment those nearest and dearest to him may be taken away. The brave man under these circumstances feels fear, as well as the coward, but their feelings arise from different sources. You could not imagine any thing more unpleasant than a residence in this city during the last 3 months- every one knowing, and feeling that every day or hour, may produce some new disaster.

       Our mercantile community hang on well. With them is something like a field of battle, there is no give up as long as there are men to fill the ranks of the fallen. The prize of money must be secured and it would be sacrilege to call them away for an hour from the pursuits of gain, to attend to the comparatively unimportant duty of relieving the wants of suffering humanity. With them the only suffering seems to be in the pocket and they appear to claim exemption from any duty excepting attending to business. My friend, if you value your happiness, your physical, or moral health, if you wish to keep alive within your bosom any of those nobler attributes of our natures given us by the Creator, keep out of a great city, for there are gathered together in undue proportion, and flourishing with the rankness of weeds, all the evil propensities of our natures- wealth and poverty, happiness and misery, pomp and arrogance, splendor and wretchedness, blasphemy and wickedness, all festering together, until God's curse rests on them and they are only spared because there is one good man among them. This is my opinion of cities, and I do not thing that I exaggerate, nor would others could they see all behind the scenes ,visit our gaming houses, brothels, drinking establishments, &c. It seems to be impossible for a man to last long in a place like this; the vital energies are soon exhausted, and constant excitement wears out life with great rapidity.

       It is different here now from what it was when you were here; the trade of the city is vastly increased, while the facilities for doing business are in no manner improved, or increased, consequently everything is done in a hurry. The cursing and yelling of draymen; the drunken blasphemy of boatmen and deckhands, are never out of hearing, till finally you become disgusted and leave, or get into the same habits.- One day of quiet country life, is productive of more enjoyment to me, than a life time in a city- and if Providence spares and favors me and mine, I will evacuate Flanders, as Geo Wood used to say.

       July 20th- Deaths yesterday 60-36 from Cholera- 30 from other disease, this is gratifying, and trust will continue."

Oct 11, 1849

COFFINS- The Cinicnnati Nonpariel says, that one establishment in that city sold over twelve thousand dollars' worth of coffins in that city, since the breaking out of the cholera.

Oct 25, 1849

New York, Oct. 19

The Cholera is decreasing in all parts of Europe. Total deaths in England since the 7th of June 13,000.

Nov. 29, 1849


       The importance of a microscope in investigating the origin and phenomena of disease, is daily becoming more apparent. Already has it determined many disputed points in medical science, and it seems destined to still greater achievements.

        The animalcular theory of contagion is likely to receive important aid, if not the triumphant establishment, by its wonderful revelations.

        That Cholera has an animalcular origin is no new theory, but it is recentmicroscopic revelations which has given to it apparent confirmation.

        Prof. R.D. Mussey, of the Ohio Medical College, to whom we alluded yesterday, in the course of a series of investigations and experiments, as early as the first of September last, discovered in the atmosphere of rooms occupied by Cholera patients, animalcules, in the greatest abundance, and, by a series of observations, noted the changes that daily took place, and compared these atmospheric animalcules with those found in the rice-water discharges and the muscle of cholera patients.

        Prof. Mussey experimented upon specimens of fluid obtained by the condensation of vapor by the side of cholera patients- on a single drop placed under the microscope, a multitude of animalcules were discovered moving in all directions. In the rice water discharges also, the same animals were discovered--one of these animals, viewed through a magnifier of 2000 linear diameters, appears about one-fourth of an inch long, and moves with a lateral flexure of his body, like a serpent on the ground.

        These animals exhibit considerable tenacity of life- they are active at nearly eighty degrees Fahrenheit. The atmospheric animalcules survived thirteen days in a loosely corked phial, and the rice water animals were alive after fourteen days.

        In the muscle of a cholera patient, taken ten hours after death, multitudes of animalcules were seen, but the same experiment with a piece of muscle taken from a subject, dead of crysipelas, discovered not a single animalcule.

        The hydrant water was also tested without finding any of these animals, and the atmosphere of rooms and neighborhoods some days after the cholera had disappeared, was condensed and examined without detecting animalcules.

        The atmosphere of rooms in which are small pox patients, has also been examined and animalcules of apparently a different species have been discovered.

        The important experiments and discoveries of Professor Mussey, will be made public in the forthcoming November number of the Western Lancet, and we hope and trust, will aid in explaining the mysterious movements of this "black death", and result in discovering a preventive and a remedy.--Cincinnati Gaz.

Dec 27, 1849

Cholera- It is said that the cholera has again broken out at Copperas Landing on the Illinois River, and that eight persons have died. The Peoria Register says, that six or seven deaths had occurred from the same disease at Lancaster Landing, twenty miles below Peoria.

Dec 27, 1849

Cholera- It is said that the cholera has again broken out at Copperas Landing on the Illinois River, and that eight persons have died. The Peoria Register says, that six or seven deaths had occurred from the same disease at Lancaster Landing, twenty miles below Peoria.

Jan 2, 1850

Six monks died of cholera on board the steamboat Constitution near St. Louis, on the 15th ult. They were from Waterford, Ireland and bound for Dubuque-Galena Gazette.

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