Isabelle Casssegrain/duBorg dit St-Chaumont/Livernois (I'll explain all the surnames in a later posting) was the grandmother of Solyme Beauvais who came to Cohoes from St. Césaire, Québec. Isabelle, 72 years old, died in August 1832 of cholera when the Quebec Cholera Epidemic of 1832 was raging in lower Quebec. Isabelle lived in the area of St Mathias, Pointe Olivier an important port on the Richelieu transportation network.
A new paper published this month in the Journal of Public Health Policy, "Cholera, canals, and contagion: Rediscovering Dr. Beck's Report" (advance online publication 5 May 2011; doi:10.1057/jphp.2011.20) describes the work of Dr. Lewis Beck who tracked the epidemic's rapid spread from Quebec City to Montreal down the Richelieu Valley to Lake Champlain, to Whitehall, down the Champlain Canal to Rensselaer and Albany counties. From those counties, it spread west along the Erie canal and south to New York City along the Hudson. The disease was following the major commercial transportation routes of its time. Dr. Beck's data supported a contagious theory for the rapid spread of cholera. The paper points out despite the strong evidence, the doctor's "disbelieved" his own evidence and argued the disease was brought on by excesses of appetites, intemperance and other immoral behaviors.