Wilkinson Scrapbook Article – #18

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about all the diseases that not only ravaged Rochester but every town of every size in the world in the 1800s.


Every house had its cesspool which seemed to collect and retain, rather than remove, the refuge matter committed to it. the wells yielded water heavy with lime and were subject to various pollutions, while the imperfect sewerage would not now be endured. Some sewers had no outlets. The Erie Canal, too, was a source of disease. the waters were stagnant during the hot months of summer. there was no movement of the water and it was fruitful of malaria in its different manifestations. Smallpox and cholera coming at intervals in frightful force were the result of this utter disregard, or ignorance, of the laws of sanitation. At times so many died that they were buried in trenches without markers. In Mount Hope we find the “Wickins Killick” monument. He, his wife, his mother-in-law, father-in-law and his 5 children all died in the space of 10 days in Sept. 1854 of cholera.  .