The 1847 Typhus Epidemic

1847
Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph's caring for typhus victims, Kingston waterfront, 1847. Artist unknown. Source: St. Joseph Region Archives of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, Kingston K-135.Pinterest
Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph's caring for typhus victims, Kingston waterfront, 1847. Artist unknown. Source: St. Joseph Region Archives of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, Kingston K-135.

In 1847, Kingston harboured thousands of Irish emigrants fleeing the Great Famine. Many had become ill with typhus on the “coffin ships” that brought them to Canada, and were placed in hospitals and fever sheds set up along the waterfront near Emily Street. When the sickness spread, Mayor Thomas Kirkpatrick and others were faced with a lawsuit for placing the sheds too close to the city. They lost the case, and the sick were moved further west. At the end of the crisis, between 1200-1500 people had died, most of whom were buried in a mass grave near KGH. In 1966, the remains were reinterred at St. Mary’s Cemetery.