Henderson County, Kentucky



In the summer of 1822, an aggravated bilious fever, visited most, if not all of the river towns of Kentucky, and while it was not so distressing at this point as at others, it was yet frightful.  So terrible was this disease in form and character, it gained and deserved the name of yellow fever.  The mortality was very great, and the alarm existing on account of it, throughout the whole interior of the neighboring States, was of the most exciting character.  It has been said by graphic writers, that during the months of July, August and September, so stronly were the inhabitants of this and other towns pre-disposed to this disease, by joint influence of climate, and the miasm of marshes, ponds, and decayed and decaying vegetable matter, that they may be compared to piles of combustibles, which needed but the application of a single spark to rouse them to a flame.

This frightful malady, was the most terrible blow ever given the place, and for many years afterwards, the name of Henderson was synonemous with that of "Grave Yard."  Emigrants dreaded to pass through the place, and of those who had determined to locate here, many were dissuaded from their purpose, by the assertion that it was rushing upon death to make the attempt.  This occurred, too, just at a period when the resources of the town, beginning to develope themselves, were attracting the attention of capitalists.  Had the feeling of alarm ceased with the disease, it would have been less of a blow, but for years after, it was referred to as a warning against emmigration hither.

History of Henderson County, KY by E. L. Starling, Page 160

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2005 HCH&GS