Poor Hutcheson dined with me on Friday was [?] sennight [one week], was taken [ill] that night on his return home, & died the day before yesterday.
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, September 8, 1793
In the face of coronavirus, I’m excerpting correspondence about the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, the nation’s capital at the time, which killed 5,000 of the city’s 50,000 residents.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Death strikes close to home for leaders, too.
“Hutcheson” was James Hutchinson, physician, University of Pennsylvania chemistry professor and political organizer for the republican cause. Jefferson liked to share the main meal of the day with others, usually around 3:00 PM. A week before, Hutchinson was his dinner guest, took ill that night and died September 5.