The state of Louisiana was hit with a horrible cholera epidemic in 1849-50. Whole towns were depopulated. Monroe was not left unaffected though, as this New Orleans article relates.
The New Orleans Weekly Delta (New Orleans, LA) February 18, 1850, Page 2
LOUISIANA INTERIOR. – The Monroe (Ouachita) Gazette of the 24th ultimo, has a feeling article on the subject of the arrival at that place of the steamboat Dove from this city, on the 18th ult. After describing the lively animation which the citizens of Monroe felt, as the gallant steamer bore up to her landing, he goes on the describe the quick transition of feeling, which ensued:
The joyless faces, he adds, of the numerous passengers, and the mournful groupings around the dead, and the dying, the silent agony of manly grief, and the tearful lamentations of helpless women, the hurrying to and fro of the attendants on the sick, the sound of voices subdued to low utterance by the aspect of death and pain, all combined to throw around the scene a dreariness of distress, a completeness of misery, a tragic effect which we would fain not look upon again. The ruthless pestilence had been among them, the cholera plague had made its presence visible, and demanded its accustomed victims. Seven of the passengers had died, and several others were in a state of pulseless collapse and hopeless prostration.
A number of the passengers disembarked at this place, fearing to encounter the peril of a further contact with the death dealing pestilence; but the seeds of the plague were in many of them too firmly fixed to be eradicated, and the unusual sight of three or four funeral processions in a single day, has more than once attested the obstinacy of the disease, and demanded the sympathies of our citizens. Out of the place, thirteen have died, and it is not impossible that the number of victims will yet be increased. Among them were four ladies; the others were negroes the property of Mr. Young, of Clarksville, Tennessee.
The ladies were Mrs. Ann Eliza Young, wife of Mr. Smith Young, of Clarksville, Tennessee; Mrs. Martha Tucker, wife of Rev. Robert Tucker, of Christian county, and her two daughters, Miss Mary Jane and Miss Virginia J. Tucker. The friends of the deceased, under whose notice this may fall, may rest assured that the unfortunate sufferers lacked for nothing that could be afforded by the most assiduous kindness and the best medical attendance.
The peculiar manner of the appearance of the disease and the fact of its being confined exclusively to the passengers on the steamer Dove, is a somewhat singular feature in the history of the cholera progress. There was no sickness on the boat when she left New Orleans, and no case of cholera until she had entered the mouth of Red River. This, in connection with the fact that other boats on the river are now, and have been, free from the disease, gives to the circumstance of its present appearance, a mystery, which we confess ourselves unable to fathom.
The Monroe American, of the 2d inst., says: “We regret to learn that some of the passengers who landed from the Cora, No. 2, have since been seized with cholera. Out of two families, Stark and Wright, from Alabama, five white persons, and a negro, have died since Sunday last. They were staying on the Claiborne road, about two and a half miles west of Trenton, but have now gone on. We hope this is the last of these melancholy occurrences we may be called upon to record.