Friday, August 15, 2014

Smallpox in North Carolina

Port of Wilmington
During the Revolutionary War, George Washington suspected that the British were using the smallpox disease as a form of "biological warfare" by placing disease infested people into the American encampment. The reason was that smallpox was considered more of threat to the Americans than the British.  Later on, the British admitted that their commanders ordered the smallpox operations. Some interesting truths help to sustain this fact in some of the last wills and testaments in the State of North Carolina.  During the spring of 1781, there was an epidemic in the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina.  A number of wills were headed up "New York" and mentioned that the testator died of smallpox.  On May 10, 1775, Fort Ticonderaga was captured from the British and the State of New York was under British occupation until the war ended in 1783. The content of the wills emphasize the importance of reading them. Especially, if your ancestors were named.  Not only does reading old wills represent a true history of the past, but they provide critical data to tracing the lineage of our ancestors....a much too good sources to overlook!  Images of the Hanover County Wills are available to members of North Carolina Pioneers

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