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In case you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors disappeared  during a certain period in history, this might help. 

Epidemics have always  had a great influence on people - and thus influencing, as well, the  genealogists trying to trace them.  Many cases of people disappearing from  records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the  affected area. 

The local newspapers are a great source of information.  They often list the cause of death.  Sometimes there will be articles on a particular disease and what to do if your family is exposed.

Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below.  If you have specific information on diseases that struck Clinton County, I hope you will send us the details.
 1657  Boston:  Measles
 1687  Boston:  Measles
 1690  New York:  Yellow Fever
 1713  Boston:  Measles
 1729  Boston:  Measles
 1732-33  Worldwide:  Influenza
 1738  South Carolina:  Smallpox
 1739-40  Boston:  Measles
 1747  Conn, NY, PA & SC:  Measles
 1759  North America (areas inhabited by white people):  Measles
 1761  North America & West Indies:  Influenza
 1772  North America:  Measles
 1775  North America (especially hard in New England): Epidemic (unknown)
 1775-76  Worldwide:  Influenza (one of  worst flu epidemics)
 1788  Philadelphia & NY:  Measles
 1793  Vermont:  Influenza and a "putrid fever"
 1793 Virginia:  Influenza (killed 500 people in 5 counties in 4 weeks)
 1793  Philadelphia: Yellow Fever (one of worst)
 1783*  Delaware (Dover) "extremely fatal" bilious disorder
 1793  Pennsylvania (Harrisburg & Middletown) many unexplained deaths
 1794  Philadelphia:  Yellow Fever
 1796-97  Philadelphia:  Yellow Fever
 1798  Philadelphia:  Yellow Fever (one of worst)
 1803  New York:  Yellow Fever
 1820-23  Nationwide:  "fever" (starts on Schuylkill River, PA & spreads)
 1831-32  Nationwide:  Typhus
 1841  Nationwide:  Yellow Fever (especially severe in South)
 1847  New Orleans:  Yellow Fever
 1847-48  Worldwide:  Influenza
 1848-49  North America:  Cholera
 1850  Nationwide:  Yellow Fever
 1850-51  North America:  Influenza
 1852  Nationwide:  Yellow Fever (New Orleans 8,000 die in summer)
 1855  Nationwide (many parts) Yellow Fever
 1857-59  Worldwide:  Influenza (one of disease's greatest epidemics)
 1860-61  Pennsylvania:  Smallpox
 1865-73  Philadelphia, NY, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis & Washington DC:  A series of recurring epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus,  Typhoid, Scarlet Fever & Yellow Fever
 1873-75  North America & Europe:  Influenza
 1878  New Orleans:  Yellow Fever (last great epidemic of disease)
 1885  Plymouth, PA:  Typhoid
 1886  Jacksonville, FL:  Yellow Fever
 1918  Worldwide:  Influenza (high point year)  More people hospitalized in World War I from Influenza than wounds.  US Army training camps became death  camps - with 80% death rate in some camps.
Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned: 

1833 Columbus,  OH; 
1834 New York City; 
1849 New York; 
1851 Coles Co, IL;
1851 The Great  Plains;
1851 Missouri

Information taken from: Sept-Oct, 1997, Newsletter - Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County   "Source:  Ancestors West, SSBCGS, Vol 20, No l, Fall 1993, South Bend (IN)  Area Genealogical Society via Julie Burnett, Sue in Arizona and Judy Nordgren SMCAGS