Cholera Numbers

“‘The road from Independence to Fort Laramie is a graveyard,’ McCollum wrote, and he put the number of burials at 1,500 to 2,000, which would be an overall mortality rate of 6 per cent. But some large trains lost two0thirds of their number, and several instances are found of children orphaned of entire families wiped out, their wagons abandoned like ships without rudders.

The scourge was repeated in 1850. Langworthy places the number of cholera victims that year at ‘more than 1,000,’ while Ezra Meeker conjectures 5,000. Accepting a figure of 2,500 an average of four graves to a mile between St. Joe and Fort Laramie gives credence to the assertion of Abraham Sortore that along the Platte he was ‘scarcely out of sight of grave diggers.’ . . .

In 1851 casualties were light . . . but in 1852 the Asiatic cholera was loose again. J.H. Clark ‘passed camps every day waiting for someone to die.’ West of Ash Hollow he found three men returning who were the only ones left out of a party of seventeen.”