Nathaniel Merrill married Anna Gile 13 May 1753

Nathaniel Merrill was born 18 January 1832 in Haverhill MA, son of Nathaniel Merrill and Hannah Goodwin or Gooden.  His father died when he was 10. 

Anna Gile was born 16 January 1736, also in Haverhill, daughter of Ebenezer Gile and Lydia Johnson. 

Nathaniel married Anna on 13 May, 1754, in Hampstead, NH. They had nine children, all born in Hampstead between 1753 and 1772, including Lydia, who married David Hayes.  Four of the children died very young, including three who died in 60 days.  The death record index cards only listed cause of death for one of the three, as “canker”.  I did some quick on-line research, and found several sites that explained old names for diseases: 

Canker: A severe, destructive, eroding ulcer of the cheek and lip. It commonly followed one of the eruptive fevers and was often fatal. Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex.

Canker Rash: Scarlet Fever, also called Scarlatina. 

Scarlet fever is described as very contagious, and generally found in young children. According to an old description, It occurs at all seasons of the year, but generally in the fall or beginning of winter.  The Merrill children, Moses, Molly, and Jacob, were 8, 6, and 4, and died in November and December 1763. 

An old book says:  These forms of disease combined, have prevailed to an alarming extent in different sections of New England, consigning to the tomb the fond hopes of many a devoted parent. Notwithstanding their alarming fatality when treated by the old school practice of physicing, bleeding and blistering, they have been almost invariably cured by the simple remedies of Thomson. The Thomsonian treatment, as can be proved by statistical accounts, will cure ninety-nine cases out of a hundred of scarlet fever and canker rash.

The scarlet fever commences with a chill and shivering, like other kinds of fever, with nausea and vomiting, great sickness succeeded by heat, thirst, and head-ache; sometimes in a very mild degree, at others more violent. The pulse is accelerated, the breathing is frequent or interrupted, the eyes red, and the eye-lids swollen. In two or three days the flesh begins to swell, a pricking sensation is experienced, and an eruption appears on the body in the form of a red stain or blotch, or rather of a fiery redness. It usually appears first upon the face, breast and arms, then over the whole body, of a uniform red color.

In the progress of the disease, one uniform redness, unattended, however, by any pustular eruption, pervades the face, body, and limbs, which parts appear somewhat swollen. The eyes and nostrils partake likewise more or less of the redness, and, in proportion as the former have an inflamed appearance, so does the tendency to delirium prevail.

One can only imagine the sadness of the parents in losing the three children. 

I have not yet located death dates for Nathaniel or Anna.


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