Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Did you know...

In the summer of 1832, an epidemic of asiatic cholera was responsible for the deaths of a considerable number of people in Princeton and the vicinity, including many laborers working on the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

The disease is spread by infected water and contaminated food. In 1832 there was a widespread epidemic of cholera in Europe, which eventually came to the port of New York and soon spread to many other cities and towns in the United States. On August 15, 1832, the New York Evening Post reported that four laborers on the Delaware and Raritan Canal were found dead in one of the shanties along the line of excavations a few miles north of Trenton. The newspaper speculated that four laborers were attacked with cholera simultaneously and were able only to reach their beds, where they were later found in a state of putrefaction. The newspaper also related that no one wanted to go near the decomposed bodies for fear of catching the disease. Finally, some people were induced, by the offer of a large reward, to undertake the burial of the dead bodies, after which they burnt the shanty to the ground.

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