Typhoid Fever Strikes Genesee Falls, New York, in 1859, Leaving Only One Store Open

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Fine mid-19th Century letter with strong details about typhoid fever, affecting the middle aged, a child's passing and sudden deaths and only one store open in Genesee Falls, New York.

6 pp, 7" x 5", April 11, 1859, ALS, woman who signs with her initials H.N.D. writes to her sister.

"I have long wished to hear from you and the rest of my friends at the East. You're the only one that writes me the news from good old Windham [possibly New Hampshire or Maine]. Yet it grieves me to hear of the death of so many of my friends and reminds me that we are all passing away from time to eternity. Soon others will have taken our places, -- and we shall be remembered no more on earth. May we be of that happy number which shall be found ready and waiting when the summons shall come. The typhoid fever has been very prevalent in this section of the country for a few years past it has taken the middle-aged mostly. Mr. Winsor, the tinner in Pike Hollow, and his son. Likewise, his brother, a lawyer, in the same place. Some that I was not acquainted with. Delia Burnett died a few weeks since, with the same disease. She was sick nine weeks. Mr. Whitney, of Mixville died of colic a few days sickness. Mr. Couch, as a neighbor, called in to Mr. Whitney’s after his death. A few minutes after he came in, he dropped dead on the floor to such sudden deaths, caused a gloomy day in Mixville. Funerals of both were attended in church on Sabbath, full house, one being a Methodist, the other a Universalist. Of course had two sermons.

“There was a protracted meeting held at Mixville the past winter. The meetings were quite interesting and about forty became hopefully converted, about twenty-five joined the Methodist Church. Then, there was a little flock left, who could not go with the Methodist (and as it were, having nowhere to go). A few of the old Presbyterians thought there must be something done to form a church in the village. (You recollect, there has been no Presbyterian Church in the place for some years. We all turned in to fill up the Methodist Church. To go on with my story.)

"Mr. Russell of Pike, and a few elders were invited to Mixville and a Presbyterian Church formed. Twenty-seven united the first meeting, counting old members. For elders, they chose Mr. Todd, Edward Davidson, James Severence. The Methodists are a little [wormey]. It is a doubt whether we will have the privilege of holding meetings in their houses or not. I think there will be something done about building a church before long.

"George and family are well, they say the twins are fine looking children. I have not seen them for a year... I think Corrine has some thoughts of getting married... Tom L. waits upon Miss Werner, but don’t act much like marrying her.

"Mixville improves slowly, a few new houses and a new bridge over the creek by the furnace painted red. Only one store in operation at present. Augustus sleeps in the house that Mr. Ross lived in, when you were here. Augustus calls his boy Wallace. He is a fine boy...Mr. Ross moved on to the Butler Farm this spring. Edward is improving that farm, which George lived on, considerable. Jane’s health is not very good. She had a fine little girl last fall (not so small neither), for it weighed 10 pounds. Not living.

"Our family here at home is small when we are ourselves (but that is not very often). Francis Martin Irving & myself have been our family this Winter. John taught school in Portageville. Came home Saturdays. Miss Cooper sewed here five weeks. School master boarded there. Corrine Gilbert has been five or six weeks. A little other company mixed in occasionally, leaves us but a little alone. I have not had any help at housework for six months. Have no girl engaged for the summer.

"We will milk 10 or 12 cows this summer. John is helping the boys on the farm. They have no hired man. Albert is clerk in the Union store at Cold Creek. Henry is in Greenwood, Eldorado Co., California. He was very sick when he went there. His health was good when we last heard from him. William Burnell & Charles Whiton are with him. We hear from them every month.

"Mr. Lancaster left his family and boarded out one year. He is now at home?

"Yours affectionately, H.N.D.”

Normal folds, toning, but overall in excellent condition.

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