Average life expectancy at birth for English people in the late 16th and early 17th centuries was just under 40 – 39.7 years. However, this low figure was mostly due to the high rate of infant and child mortality; over 12% of all children born would die in their first year. With the hazards of infancy behind them, the death rate for children slowed but continued to occur. A cumulative total of 36% of children died before the age of six, and another 24% between the ages of seven and sixteen. In all, of 100 live births, 60 would die before the age of 16. A man or woman who reached the age of 30 could expect to live to 59. [Thomson Gale, 'Infant Mortality' (1998)]
Food shortages and insecurity were leading concerns in the 18th century, especially in Europe, and these were exacerbated by reduced harvests yields. Disease was another leading cause of death, with rats and fleas being the common carriers of disease, specifically plagues, during this era. (Wikipedia)
Common diseases were dysentery, malaria, diphtheria, flu, typhoid, smallpox and leprosy. (Wikipedia)
Death seen as natural
If a woman died after the birth of a child (this was a dangerous process because of infections), her younger sister stepped in as new wife, or replacement. The husband (here farmer in the country) absolutely needed a wife to look after the children and farm house (cooking etc.). So he normally got remarried a second, or third time within a few months; later a one year period was recommended. Often these wives were widows themselves. So there was constant giving births and dying on the farms, similar to what happened in the stable with the animals. Death was seen as natural. Only medicine and hygienic measures lowered the infant and childhood mortality rate. However, there were very bad pestulenza waves in the 17th century in our regions. Many villages lost 30 to 40% of the population. (Peter Bertschinger)
Document related to Johann George Scholl:
|Johann George 15 Sep 1715 birth Graben, film 4137289 page 320 |
Date: born on the 15th [of September 1715] and baptized on the 16th of September .
Child: Johann Georg. [below name: + = died]
Parents: Hanß Matthias Scholl, citizen and tailor here, Anna Eva.
Witnesses: Hanß Jörg Waibel, local innkeeper at the sign of the swan, with his wife Margaretha. Christoph Keller, citizen and baker [at] this place, with his wife Maria Catharina.
|Geo Matthias Scholl death 22 Dec 1722 film 102078348 page 325|
44. On the 22nd of December , Hanß Georg died, little son of Matthias Scholl and Anna Eva his wife, who under the ringing [of the bells] three times with singing and a sermon was buried. Age: 7 years, 3 months, and 8 days.