Report a Bug
   Smallpox in Colonial America

 

Small Pox Epidemics in Colonial North America 1519-1787

(Not an exhaustive list)

 

Years

Locality

Ethnic group (whites, unless otherwise noted)

Fatalities (if known)

Notes

1519-21

Mexico

Aztecs

3.5 million*

Infected by Spanish Conquistadors

1630

New England

 

 

 

1633-35

Connecticut River valley

Native Americans

900 (out of 1000)†

Infected by Dutch Traders*

1638 (Fall)

New England

 

 

 

1648-49

Massachusetts Bay Colony

 

 

Whooping cough also reported

1663

New York

Iroquois Nations

 

 

1666

Boston, Massachusetts

 

 

 

1667

Northampton County, Virginia

Native Americans

 

 

1677-78

Charlestown, South Carolina & Boston

 

 

 

1679-80

Virginia

Whites and Native Americans

 

 

1685

French colonies

 

 

 

1688-91

French and English colonies in North America; Native American settlements

Whites (English and French), African Americans, and Native Americans

320 in New England

Duffy suggests virus was brought to continent by slaves from West Indies and spread due to battles between French, English, and their allies

1696

Jamestown, Virginia

 

 

 

1698

South Carolina

Native Americans

Entire tribe, possibly the Pemlico, were destroyed

 

1699

South Carolina

Native Americans, whites

 

 

1702-03

Boston

 

About 300 out of population of 7000*

Accompanied by scarlet fever

1702-03

Canada, especially Quebec

 

3000 or 25% of population

Native American groups were likely the virus carriers

1711-12

Charleston

Whites, African Americans, and Native Americans

 

Accompanied by pleurisies, fluxes, and fevers*

1715-22

Most colonies (English and French) and Native American settlements

Whites, African Americans, and Native Americans

 

 

1721 (Spring)

Boston

 

850-900* or one in seven

Transmitted from Barbados

1723-30

Boston, New York City, Philadelphia

 

500 in Boston, 1729-30

1729-30 virus transmitted to Boston by Irish immigrants*

1731-33

All colonies

 

800 in New York City

 

1732-33

Canadian Native Americans

 

 

Transmitted to English colonies by Native Americans escaping Canadian outbreak

1734-35

Present-day Minnesota, North and South Dakota

Sioux nation

 

 

1736-37

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

1737-38

Martha’s Vineyard

 

 

 

1738

New York City

 

 

 

1738

Charleston

Half the Cherokee nation*, whites

1,700

 

1739

Rhode Island

 

 

 

1746-47

New York City & outlying villages; Canada

 

 

 

1747-48

Maryland & Virginia

 

 

 

1751-52

New York, New Jersey, Boston, most of northwest colonies

 

570*

 

1755-57

Canada

 

 

“Worst epidemic in its history” Duffy p. 61

1756

Philadelphia

 

 

 

1756-57

Maryland

 

 

 

1755-58

New York City

 

 

 

1757

Connecticut, New Hampshire

 

 

 

Present-day Minnesota and Ontario

Ojibwa nation

1,500-2,000†

 

1759

Philadelphia

 

 

 

1759-60

Georgia and South Carolina

Native Americans and whites

730 in Charleston (conservative figure)*

Virus carried by soldiers into white settlements after battles with Cherokee

1760-61

Most of the US Colonies; Canada

 

 

 

1761-63

Mexico (Baja California to northern Sonora)

Native Americans

 

 

1762

Philadelphia and New York City

 

 

 

1764

Boston and New England

 

170*

 

1764

Texas (western); lower Mississippi Valley

Lipan Apaches; Chickasaws & Choctaws†

400

 

1764-65

New York to South Carolina

Native Americans

 

 

1765

Maryland

 

 

 

1765-66

Philadelphia

 

 

 

1768-69

Williamsburg, Virginia

 

 

 

1769

Philadelphia

 

 

 

1772-74

New England; Charleston

 

 

 

1773

Philadelphia

 

 

 

1775-76

Most colonies (English and French) and Native American settlements

 

144 in Nova Scotia†; 287 in Boston†; 538 American soldiers in and around Quebec

New England especially hard hit

1775-1782 (estimated)

American Midwest (present-day North Dakota)

Native American nations: Mandans, Hidatsas, Arikaras

13,000†

Transported by Crow who caught from Shoshone†

1775-76

Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment (Loyalists)

 

480†

 

1776 June-July

American soldiers’ retreat from Canadian campaign

 

700†

 

1776-77

New York

Iroquois nation

90†

 

1777-78

Natchitoches, Louisiana;

Alexandria, Virginia

Residents; Soldiers

58†; 20†

 

1778

Boston; New Orleans;

Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley

 

 

 

1778-92

Pacific northwest (Present-day Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia)

Native Americans: Tlingit, Haida, Nitinaht, Chinookan, Tillamook, Coast Salish nations

25,149†

 

1779

Hudson River area

 

 

 

1779, 1781

Salem, North Carolina

Moravian settlers

3 & 10†

 

1779-80

New York City

 

 

 

1779-80

Galveztown (near New Orleans) and Creek Nation settlements

Whites and Native Americans

80 out of 404† in Galveztown

 

1780

Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia

Whites, but mostly African American slaves

2,000†

Spread to local slaves by British encampments

San Antonio, Texas

Liapan Apaches

400†

 

1780 (Summer-Fall)

Charleston Harbor prison ships and

Soldiers

150†

 

Camden, South Carolina jail

 

Andrew Jackson caught smallpox while imprisoned there in 1781†

1780-82

Oneida and Seneca nations

Native Americans

80†

 

1781-82

Canadian plains

Native Americans: Atsina, Cree, Assiniboine, Chipewyan, and Blackfeet

10,406†

 

1781(Summer-Fall)

Virginia

Loyalist former slaves

13,500†

Pox was spread by British forces marching to Yorktown†

1781

Mexico City, Guanajuato, and surrounding regions

 

46,053†

 

New Mexico mission

Native Americans

5,025†

 

1781-82

American Midwest

Crow and Sioux nations

3,440† and 3,583†

 

1785

New Spain frontier

Cuchanec Comanches

4,000† (warriors only)

Led to complete destruction of their nation†; (also Wichitas, Caddos, Taovayas, and Shoshone may have been affected)

1787

Sandusky, Ohio

Native Americans

4/6†

 

 

Sources:

*Duffy, John. Epidemics in Colonial America. Baton Rouge, LA. Louisiana State UP, 1953.

†Fenn, Elizabeth A. Pox Americana: The Great American Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82. New York; Hill & Wang. 2001.

 

 

Newsletter Signup | Site Map | FAQs | About Us | Contact Us | Affiliate | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Terms and Conditions
 
Copyright © 2011-2014 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

The ads listed on this page lead to other companies, which have been carefully researched to offer you the best of genealogical and family products and services. The affiliate commissions that are generated from these ads help us to keep our subscription prices low.