Letter written by Olivia Eliza (Botsford) Callender to her husband Charles in Burdette New York. Discussing how she will get back home from Greenville (stage, wagon?) and where there has been cholera.
In 1832 there was a cholera outbreak in New York City.
Her father-in-law was Levi Callender (1777-1849), member of the New York State Assembly, representing Greene County from 1816-1817 and he was one of the founders and original directors of the American Bible Society.
Charles Callender (1803-1859) operated an early-day general store in Burdette. By 1850, Charles and Eliza, and their three sons were residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Charles’ occupation is given as bookkeeper.
Greenville is located SW of Albany NY, Burdette W of Ithaca.
Front of letter has written postage rate paid “18 ¾”.
Envelope folded to form an envelope.
Cholera in 1832
During the early 1830s, New York grew exponentially in population and wealth. The completion of the Erie Canal that linked the city with vast agricultural resources solidified New York’s central role in the nation’s economy. By the 1830s, nearly 250,000 people lived in New York City. Traders, bankers, shipbuilders, craftsmen, canal-diggers, and general laborers all occupied the city. Unfortunately, this came with divisions in social class that prompted a lack of response to the epidemic that soon was unleashed on the city.
Class differences were partly to blame for the lackluster response to the cholera epidemic of 1832. Many Americans believed that the United States would not suffer from diseases transmitted from the Old World.
The epidemic started in Eastern Europe and then made its way across the continent before finally reaching the United States. When cholera hit the city in 1832, it affected the working class the hardest. The upper class viewed this as further proof of moral depravity among the poorest of New Yorkers. Even physicians upheld moral stature as paramount to the health of an individual. Unfortunately, this caused the spread of cholera to intensify within the city limits. By the end of the summer of 1832, roughly 3,000 New Yorkers had died from the disease.
Nearly 100,000 people fled to the countryside to escape the epidemic that killed roughly 3,000 New Yorkers.