14 September 2019

Smallpox reported in Massachusetts Bay 1676-1688


As seen in Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016), a few town clerks sometimes added notations for the cause of death, including smallpox. (Not all towns, such as Boston, are part of this database.)

Massachusetts Bay colonists first encountered smallpox in their communities in 1677, with epidemics also occurring in 1689–1690, 1702, 1721, 1751, 1764, and 1775. The highly infectious disease started with a fever followed in two or three days by a skin rash that turned into fluid-filled bumps with a dent in the center. Some colonists were familiar with or had the disease in the old country and knew that isolating its victims from the general population helped contain the spread of smallpox. But they did not have medical treatments or preventative measures.

Of the 4,283 deaths reported from 1676 to 1688 in the database, 32 notations mentioned death by smallpox. Typically, the rate of death after contracting the disease was 30 percent, though higher for babies. This suggests an average of 1,285 people died of smallpox, though only .74% were reported.

However, from the small sample (the 32 listed below), it’s possible to see how smallpox traveled (by placing the dates in order) and how relatives and neighbors were infected. 

Roxbury
----, Peter, a[n Indian] boy of Holbrook’s, small pox, 5: 11m : 1678-9. C.R. 1.
Davis, Samuel, s. Toby, small pox, bur. 10: 2m : 1679. C. R. 1.
Davis, Willia[m], small pox. at Boston, bur. 18: 10m: 1678. C. R. 1.
Gary (see also Garee, Gery), Dorcas, inf. d. ----, wid. Nathtaniel], small pox, bur. 21 : 12 m : 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Gery, Deborah [Gary, d. wid., small pox. C. R. 1.], Mar. 8, 1678 [1678-9. C. R. 1.]
Gery, Nathaniel [Gary, small pox. C. R. 1.], Jan. 28, 1678. [1678-9. C. R. 1.]
Goard, John [a young man], small pox, bur. 18: 12m: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Goard, Phebe, w. Richard, small pox, bur. 28 : 12 m : 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Heath, Dorothy, d. wid., small pox, 3: 11m: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Holbroke (see also Holbrook), John [Holbrook, small pox. C. R. 1.], Dec. 25, 1678.
Hopkins, Hannah, w. Willia[m], small pox, 5: 11m: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Hopkins, Mary, small pox, bur. 8: 12m [Feb.]: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Lamb, Mary, d. Caleb [small pox. C. R. 1.], July 4, 1679.
Newel, Abraham [Newell, C. R. 1.], s. Isaac [small pox: C. R. 1.], Dec. 25, 1678. [a. 11 y. C. R. 1.]
Newel, Jakob, small pox, 30: 10m: 1678. C. R. 1.
Newel, Mary, d. Jakob, small pox, 5: 12m: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Stevens, ____, small pox, 13: 10m: 1678. C. R. 1.
Tatman (see also Totman), Elizabeth, inf. d. Jabesh, small pox, 30:9m: 1678. C. R. 1.
Weld, Elisabeth, w. Joseph [small pox. C. R. 1.], Feb. 15, 1678. [1678- 9. C. R. 1.]
Weld, Margaret [Marget. C. R. 1.], d. Joseph and Elisabeth [small pox. C. R. 1.], Feb 12. 1678.
Williams, Theoda, small pox, bur, 8: 12m: 1678-9. C. R. 1.
Wise, Jeremiah, small pox, 17 : 9m: 1678. C. R. 1.

Billerica
Hamlet, Mary, w. Jacob, small pox, July 9, [16]78.

Newbury
Beedle, ________, ch. Robert, small pox, Jan. 4, 1678. [Jan. 9. CT. R.]
Blanchard, John, small pox, July 24, 1678.
Lunt, ________, ch. John, small pox, Sept. 30, 1678.
Moody, Judith, d. Caleb, small pox, at Salisbury, Jan. 28, 1678.
Morse, ________, ch. Joseph, small pox, Feb. 5, 1678.
Morse, Joseph, small pox, Jan. 15, 1678.

Woburn
Cutler, John, Sen., s. of ____, of the small-pox, in the family of Isaac Brooks, 1678 or 1678-79.
Farrar, Jacob, s. of ____, of small-pox, 1678 or 1678-9.
Wyman, David, s. of ____, of small-pox, 1678 or 1678-9.



03 August 2019

Using the Essex Institute Historical Collections

Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., circa 1910s
The Essex Institute of Salem, Massachusetts, was formed in 1848 by the merger of the Essex Historical Society and the Essex County Natural History Society. This literary, historical, and scientific society had a deep interest in Essex county, 

In 1992, the Essex Institute merged with the Peabody Museum to become the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).

One hundred years of the Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC) is available online through the Internet Archive. The journals contain family genealogies, histories, probate records, and other miscellaneous records of interest to genealogists.

Indices


Vol. 1 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1859)

Vol. 2 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1860)

Vol. 3 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1861)

Vol. 4 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1862)

Vol. 5 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1863)

Vol. 6 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1864)

Vol. 7 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1865)

Vol. 8 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1866)

Vol. 9 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1869)

Vol. 10 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1870)

Vol. 11 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1871)

Vol. 12 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1874)

Vol. 13 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1875)

Vol. 14 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1877)

Vol. 15 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1878)

Vol. 16 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1879)

Vol. 17 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1880)

Vol. 18 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1881)

Vol. 19 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1882)

Vol. 20 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1883)

Vol. 21 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1884)

Vol. 22 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1886)


Vol. 23 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1887)

Vol. 24 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1888)

Vol. 25 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1889)

Vol. 26 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1890)

Vol. 27 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1891)

Vol. 28 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1892)

Vol. 29 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1893)

Vol. 30 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1894)

Vol. 31 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1895)

Vol. 32 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1896)

Vol. 33 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1897)

Vol. 34 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1898)

Vol. 35 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1899)

Vol. 36 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1900)

Vol. 37 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1901)

Vol. 38 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1902)

Vol. 39 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1903)

Vol. 40 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1904)

Vol. 41 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1905)

Vol. 42 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1906)

Vol. 43 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1907)

Vol. 44 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1908)

Vol. 45 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1909)

Vol. 46 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1910)

Vol. 47 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1911)

Vol. 48 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1912)

Vol. 49 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1913)

Vol. 50 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1914)

Vol. 51 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1915)

Vol. 52 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1916)

Vol. 53 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1917)

Vol. 54 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1918)

Vol. 55 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1919)

Vol. 56 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1920)

Vol. 57 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1921)

Vol. 58 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1922)

Vol. 59 Essex Institute Historical Collections (1923)


Other Publications

Proceedings of the Essex Institute

Bulletin of the Essex Institute: Communications

Annual report of the Essex Institute


See more 

Digital Public Library of America

HathiTrust



25 March 2019

Sidney Perley's Essex Antiquarian

Born in 1857, Sidney Perley was a well-known lawyer in Essex county, Massachusetts. He also wrote books and articles on history, genealogy, and the law. From 1897 to 1909 he published the Essex Antiquarian. These journals include so much valuable information, I've included the links below. Perley died in 1928. 















For more articles published by Perley, check out my links to the Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC). He also wrote pieces for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (AmericanAncestors.org).