Accounts of Death in the Diary of Dr. Robert Forbes McGuire Part I

In the files of the Ouachita Parish Public Library’s Genealogy Department, can be found the transcript of the diary of Robert Forbes McGuire.  Years ago, I pulled out all the deaths that were reported in it into a list.  The diary itself can be found in the collection of ULM Library’s Special Collections department.  Most of the diary is daily weather reports, but there are a few gems that can be found!  I added extra notes in italics for clarification.

January 4, 1822                       N.W. Richardson died.

August 4, 1822                        [Conrad] Linderman died.

August 11, 1822                      Jane Hook died. [Daughter of George Hook]

December 9, 1822                   Buedlour died.

February 15, 1823                   [Russell] Brooks Hung. [First known legal hanging in Ouachita Parish.]

February 29, 1824                   John hanged 28th.

September 30, 1827                Two or three cases of conjestive [sic] fever,all proved fatal, Charles Wright died 14th inst.

October 31, 1827                    Old M. [Thomas] – Friend, died about the 23.

January 31, 1829                     Wm.Ailes & [Jean Joseph] Filhiol died.  Jack Mephenson froze to death.

1829                                        Lost my two children this summer. [Lewis &Mary McGuire]

September 30, 1831                A. Breard died.

1832                                        Left 15th June for Missouri by way of N. Orleans, arrived at my father’s 17th July.  Mary DeWitt died there of a pulmonary affliction caused by a cold neglected last winter – on the 25th July at half past 8 o’clock P.M.

1833                                        ____ blew up in May and killed I.S. Johnston and others.

February 1835                         John Williams died about 22d of this month from exposure to wet and cold.

March 1835                             My father died in Missouri on 30th of this month, very cold there.

1835                                        Mason& Lewis running for senate in place of [Stephen Wood] Maddox who has died in March.

September, 1837                     At Alexandria they have what they call congestive fever carrying off persons in 24 hours.  M.P. Flint was one victim to it.

1837                                        The slaves took advantage of the sickness at Alexandria & the absence of many planters & formed a plan of insurrection which was discovered 2 or 3 days before the massacre was to have commenced & 2 were hanged on the 6thof October the day they were to begin and some 7 or 8 more were hanged on the 9th& 10th of the month, not in a legal manner but by a committee of the citizens formed for that purpose without the form & contrary to law,setting a bed example & one that in the end will always injure any country.

1837                                        Doctor [James Winthrop] Mason died in October.

February 1838                         Doctor [John M.A.] Hamllen died on the 4th inst.

October, 1839                         The weather continues dry and healthy at this place but very sickly every where else in the South, in Opelousas very fatal, Bowen a victim.

1840                                        Scarlet fever prevailing, [Richard] King’s two children [Bettye & Richard, Jr.] died & 6 slaves, generally healthy.

July, 1840                               There has been much sickness & 3 or 4 deaths at Monroe within the last 10 days appears to be congestive fever.  Mrs.Moore & Mira Wilson died suddenly.  I think it was owing to a sudden fall of the river from a high stage leaving a large surface of 2d bank exposed & not washed.  Bary Scriber died – in this month.

September, 1840                     Still no rain, rather cool, disease of children still bad & fatal.  Wilson lost two.  Williams two. H.M. Bry two.  Dr. Holmes one [Jane Holmes]; there has been over twenty deaths in town within two months mostly children.  Blacks almost exempt.  One mulatto & one negro only died.

April 4, 1841                           Wm. H. Harrison died.  Tyler President.

July 2, 1841                            John R. Dewitt died today at 7 o’clock p.m.

January 9, 1842                       J.L. Tanner, Julia Ray & some others died.

June 1842                                A few deaths in Caldwell Parish – Grimshaw & Wade.

November, 1842                     Mr. [Jean Baptiste] Bres & I.W.L. Stokes both died suddenly about the last of the month.

July, 1843                               There has as yet been but little sickness in town but two deaths.  Wm. Scarborough & a child of Parkers in this month.

October, 1843                         John Sydney died after only two or three days sickness about the 7th.

November, 1843                     The Influenza has prevailed, almost everyone has had it for some days.  Everyone in my family had it.  There has been very few fatal cases.  John Dowell died 11th, I think with it but was weakly before.

February, 1844                        Hoa died.

March, 1844                            On the 1st at 4 o’clock in the morning the Buckeye coming up with a large number of our citizens on board came in collision with the DeSoto at Red River cut-off & sunk in 5 minutes or less. There was near 300 passengers on board & it is thought from 60 to 80 lost.  Col. D.A. Breard & his nephew,W. Macondry, the only ones lost from this town though many escaped narrowly.  King lost his two children, Hyams one & Elizabeth Smith & several slaves, the extent of the loss not yet known.  The Elizabeth arrived on the 7th, the first full account from the disaster.

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