In 1851, Asiatic Cholera devastated Coles County, Illinois. According to an article written in the Charleston Courier on July 31, 1851 , over 250 people were stricken with the disease, and according to physicians of the day, "In nearly every fatal case, if not all, the predisposing cause has been traced to imprudence in diet, and more especially the eating of young potatoes, beans, cucumbers and other like matter." This is as good a reason as any my five-year-old can come up with for not eating his vegetables. I have provided the link for the full article below.
The Cholera and its Ravages at genealogy trails
The Cholera epidemic does explain the absence of so many of the settlers found in the 1850 census, including Elizabeth Ann Minis and the two elder children. Since I have had such difficulty in tracking Edward and Emily, I decided to focus on the other African-American settlers within this small community of New Albany. It appears that the majority of the elders within the community were born in Virginia, the second generation born in Kentucky, and George Manuel and Elizabeth (unknown maiden) Peyton were born in North Carolina.
I focused today's search on George W. Manuel, since he appears to be a leader in the community and he is also married to Lucy Minnis. I was hoping to find some trace of her paternity; however, I made a interesting discovery. In the 1910 census, George W. had listed his mother as being born in Ireland. As stated before, family legend has Edward as being of Irish decent and I wondered if perhaps Edward and George were related.
That's when the ick factor kicked in. Since I had decided last night (no, sleep has not made me change my mind only hard evidence will do) that Lucy and Edward were siblings, I am emphatically hopeful the "kissin' cousins" scenario does not apply in this situation. Sure my reaction stems from modern day bias but admit it, kinda yucky right!
I have listed the names of some of the settlers for those of you who are interested: Lucy Dupree, Isom Briant (Bryant), George W. Manuel, Zachariah Bowen, Sophia and J. Fuller, Joseph and Sarah Martin, Lewis, Sophia, and Andrew James, Melissa Olmstead, Edward and Emily Minis (Minnis), William and Keziah Stern, H.B. Owens, and H. Brown.
Several of these surnames were listed in Paul Heinegg's book Free African Americans of Virginia and North Carolina. However, thus far I have been unable to trace these individuals to anyone listed in his online book. I have placed an order to buy his book, but it was out of print and they said they would notify me when it is in. I eagerly await the day.