1834 : Cholera Epidemic Breaks Out in Detroit Second Time

August 24, 2022 all-day

On Aug. 24, 1834, a second wave of the cholera epidemic struck Detroit.

Hundreds of Detroiters are believed to have died in August and September 1834 of cholera, which results from a bacterial infection of the intestine and can cause acute diarrhea, shock and severe dehydration in a short time.

In August alone, the “Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources” reports, cholera killed 7-10% of the city’s population of 3,500. Some reports say 16 people died in one day.

City officials typically rang a bell when someone died. The custom was discontinued when the ringing became so frequent that it caused panic.

The cholera epidemic, which first appeared in 1832, returned to Detroit several times from 1849 to 1865.

Source : Naomi R. Patton, “This Week In Michigan History”, Detroit Free Press, August 24, 2008.

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