snap shot of William Davey's Will - 1832

Cholera Epidemic reaches Jersey – 1832

On August 6th in 1832, the cholera epidemic that had been sweeping through England and Europe had finally reached the shores of Jersey.

Cholera = an acute intestinal infection characterized by severe diarrhoea, cramp, etc.: caused by ingestion of water or food contaminated with the bacterium. (The Collins Concise Dictionary)

Go back through the death dates of some of your ancestors. You may find you have people in your family tree that died around this time and cholera may have been the reason of death.

Alex Glendinning writes about the Jersey epidemic here: JERSEY CHOLERA EPIDEMIC – 1832

The epidemic spread throughout the town areas first as it was high residential area and therefore spread from building to building quicker than it did in the countryside. Alex writes that…

‘When the cholera reached Jersey on August 6 1832, there had been a heavy downpour of rain the previous day and Dr Hooper theorised that the movement of all the accumulated filth in the streams helped spread the disease.
Hilgrove Lane was one of the first places to suffer outbreaks.’

The majority of my ancestors were town dwellers, so this is of interest to me. Although I have not been able to always find specific addresses for this time as it was before the first Census in 1841.

I scan through all my family trees for all the death dates during this year and only find a date match with my Davey family.

The Rabet’s didn’t arrive in Jersey from Brittany until the turn of the century in the early 1900’s.

The Lozuet’s were living in St. Ouen at this time so were relatively safe (I presume).

I find William Davey who had died on the 19th November 1832. I have written about him before:

Boxing Day marriage of Mary De France & William Davey – 1804

William Davy – died 19th November 1832

William writes his Will & Testament four days before he dies in St. helier, leaving his wife Mary Defrance as executor and his children are his heirs: Thomas, Rachel, William, Isaac, Mary Ann and George. Unfortunately his Will does not state his address unlike his son Isaac’s Will & Testament 60 years later.

snap shot of William Davey's Will - 1832

It says that he is ‘of sound and disposing mind.’ I don’t have a copy of this death certificate, so I can not confirm  whether he was ill from cholera.  He died at the age of 52.

Alex Glendinning  goes on to state that:

According to Dr Hooper’s carefully kept statistics, 803 people were taken ill and 347 died over an eleven week and five day period. The deaths were so concentrated in the poorer parts of town, that the Rector of St Helier had to inaugurate a new Strangers’ Cemetery (below Westmount) on August 27 to cope with the extra burials. On October 27, the Board of Health reported the Island free of cholera and adjourned, the very day that the first case was reported in Guernsey.

Sadly, another cholera epidemic returns 16 years later, in 1848. You can read more about it in an article in the Jersey Evening Post: Containing Cholera In The 19th Century.

My next step is to get hold of a copy of William’s death certificate from the Jersey Registry Office to confirm details of his death.

I may have had more ancestors that fell ill or died from the cholera in 1832, but I do not know many of their dates of death. This is especially the case with my female ancestors. If I do not know the surname of the man they married I cannot trace their whereabouts and therefore when they died or where.

Have you found a family death during 1832?

William Davy – died 19th November 1832

William Davey, my 4x great grandfther died on the 19th November 1832.

I have come across William’s surname spelt in a few different variations:

DAVY is recorded in his own marriage to Mary De France in 1804

DAVIS is recorded in his Will & Testament in 1832

DAVEY is recorded in the marriage certificate of his son Isaac to Ann Le Breton in 1850.

It is the latter spelling which stuck and is still used today with William’s descendants and myself.

Here is William’s timeline as far as I know so far:

1780 – William Davy is born about 1780 in West Coker, Somerset. The exact date is unknown. His father was John Davy, his mother is unknown.

1804 – William, aged 24 marries Mary De France, age 22 and born in Guernsey, daughter of Thomas De France, on 26th December, Boxing Day.

Davey marriage

1813 – William’s daughter Rachel Mary  is baptised in St. Helier on the 7 August. The family have now moved to Jersey from Guernsey. Was this for work? In the marriage certificate of his daughter Mary Ann to George Le Breton, William’s proffession is recorded as a CARTER. This is a job of low earnings.

1816 – Birth of  son William George.

1819 - Birth of daughter – Mary ann

1821 – Birth of son Isaac William on the 24th July. Isaac is my 3x great grandfather.

1832 – A cholera epidemic swept through St. Helier and some of the outlyinf parts of the island. Special centres were established to cope with the level of illness. 

1832 – On the 15th November William, aged 52, writes his Will & Testament – “my desire is to be buried at the discretion of Mary De France, my dear wife.”

mark X of William Davis

mark X of William Davis

1832 – On the 19th November, only 4 days after writing his Will & Testament, Willaim dies. UPDATE: He was buried Green Street Cemetery.

Cemetery plot 230 - Green Street Graveyard, Jersey

Cemetery plot 230 – Green Street Graveyard, Jersey

Although I do not have firm evidence of where William lived, I can presume that it was in St. Helier where  his children were born. It may be that William became one out of the 348 vicitms of cholera in Jersey.

To find out more about the history of cholera in Jersey click on the following link: (http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/1832_cholera_epidemic)

If you think you are a descendant of William Davey than I would love to hear from you!