Kilsyth Mortality - 1785-1794

It was a tough life for Kilsyth folk in the dying years of the 18th century, sanitation was poor, medical knowledge and techniques limited, and infectious diseases like smallpox and TB were big killers. Diagnostic skill was often guesswork, you could apparently die of a nosebleed, croup, or the flux, and the cause of nearly half the deaths were simply "unknown" or "old age". But the Scottish tradition of public health was already being established through the keeping of meticulous records, in this case by the keeper of the mort-cloth, (the undertaker).

Sadly, a very high proportion of the deaths were those of infants and young children - between 1785 and 1794 over 190 children died, a figure which exceeds the number of old people dying in the same period. Some infant deaths were not even recorded.

"The following may serve as a bill of mortality for the above period, as the diseases are distinctly marked out". - Source: 1790's Statistical Account

Mortality-Kilsyth 1785-1794

1785

1786

1787

1788

1789

1790

1791

1792

1793

1794

TOTAL

Smallpox

9

19

15

8

1

6

30

3

91

Innoculate do,

2

1

3

Old age

7

16

16

10

14

9

12

20

15

9

128

Measles

1

2

1

4

Consumption

4

3

6

4

3

5

3

2

6

36

Cancer

1

2

1

1

5

Bowels

1

1

4

2

2

5

15

Croup

2

11

3

5

21

Flux

1

1

3

5

10

Fever

2

3

2

3

12

6

28

Throat

1

1

2

Accident

1

2

2

1

2

1

9

Childbed

1

1

1

3

Teething

1

1

Water in the head

3

3

Epilepsy

1

1

In drink

1

1

Hooping cough

5

2

4

11

Suddenly

2

2

1

5

Jaundice

1

1

2

Bleeding at the nose

2

2

Unknown

9

6

10

8

7

5

2

6

3

56

Total

30

45

57

38

30

36

43

76

43

39

437

 

Source

        see also: C19th cholera epidemic records