Henderson County, Kentucky


During the year of 1832, the cholera brought grief and gloom, and business stagnation in Henderson, as well as many other points in the Ohio River Valley.

This epidemic visitation occurred in the month of October, and absolutely paralyzed the whole community.  Business was suspended, and the panic complete.  Men were seized with the disease while walking in the streets, and were dead in ten hours.  The population of Henderson at that time was about seven hundred, and fully ten per cent of that number died.  The physicians stood manfully at their posts, and administered calomel and opium without limit.  The practitioners at that time were Drs. Levi Jones, Thomas J. Johnson, Owen Glass, Henry M. Grant and Horace Gaither.  Among those who died were:  Rev. Nathan Osgood, Rector of St. Pauls Episcopal Church, and J. B. Pollitt, husband of the first wife of Governor Dixon.  Mr. Butler, father of Harbison Butler, came into the town one day, transacted his business and returned to his home in the country, and before twelve o'clock that night, died of cholera.  The negroes suffered more, perhaps, than the whites.

Henderson, at that time, was a victum of "ponds," those frightful generators of misasma, being located all over the place.  At the corner of First and Elm Streets, was one covering as much as one acre of ground.  In the center of the intersection of Main and Second Streets, was the public well, and this furnished impure water for the greater part of the citizens.  Those who drank water from the river bank, excaped the cholera, while those who drank of the well, were to a great extent victims of the disease.

History of Henderson County, KY by E. L. Starling, Pages 166-167


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