Old age in the 19th century vs old age in the 21st century.


Aug 12, 2020
Glad your aftermarket joints are working well. I knew a fellow who had several hip replacements because the docs just couldn't seem to make the last one right.
I'm in my 60's, and a retired consultant. But no need to be sorry! The knee replacements literally gave me a new lease on life, and I am now physically active and pain free.


Dec 13, 2020
Deaths from disease impacted urban populations much more than rural ones so death rates varied by location quite a lot. You can see this with the disease issues both the US and CS armies had early in the war - soldiers from rural areas arrived in camp and got sick after being exposed to diseases they'd never seen in their small communities.
Yep my GGG Grandfather and family lived in Cincinnati 1849 - 1854, there was a major typhus epidemic which took a huge toll on the population both in deaths and people leaving the city, I think in 1848 - 49. There was no garbage-waste-sewage disposal, all was in the streets where hogs grazed freely in places. Advances in basic sanitation saved countless lives. Yes, our largely rural population was not exposed to many diseases of the time.
Tuberculosis was also a scourge of the 19th century.

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
Looking back, I've outlived all my direct paternal forbears since my gt-gt-gt-grandfather, Revolutionary War veteran Edward Hartwell died at the age of 97 in 1843.

I don't plan to shoot for his record.


Jul 28, 2015
New York City
Reading biography after biography of antebellum and CW persons, it is striking how virtually every family suffered the deaths of infants and young adults, not to mention women who often died in childbirth. Think for example of children and/or spouses of Lincoln, Stanton, Sherman, Davis, Longstreet, Lee, Jackson to name just a few that come to mind.