Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

People who Died from Erysipelas

« Back to Projects Dashboard

view all


  • Francelia Moser (1852 - 1916)
    Death Certificate
  • (USA), Alexander M. K. Huling (1831 - 1863)
    the following all from: findagrave consort of M.H. ae 32y-1m-1d OBITUARY ROCHESTER SENTINEL Saturday, February 21, 1863 DIED. We learn that Alexander HULING, a former resident of Henry twp, i...
  • Source:
    Captain George W. Green, (USA) (1839 - 1866)
    Civil War Union Army Officer. Captain, 17th United States Regular Infantry.George W., 1899-1866. He joined the First Defenders the day after he reached Washington, in April 1861, was soon after appoint...
  • Joseph VanHouten (1825 - 1891)
    rom Ontario County Journal 30 October 1891 Naples, N. Y. - A tragic death was that of Joseph Van Houten, a blacksmith, aged 66 years. Some six weeks ago he dropped a hammer on his foot. But little wa...
  • George Milo Town (1819 - 1900)

Died from Erysipelas

Tags: St Anthony’s fire, skin infection, infection, cause of death,

Erysipelas is a bacterial skin infection involving the upper dermis that characteristically extends into the superficial cutaneous lymphatics. It is a tender, intensely erythematous, indurated plaque with a sharply demarcated border. Its well-defined margin can help differentiate it from other skin infections (eg, cellulitis).

Erysipelas has been traced back to the Middle Ages, where it was referred to as St. Anthony's fire, named after the Christian saint to whom those afflicted would appeal for healing. Around 1095, the Order of St. Anthony, a Roman Catholic congregation, was formed in France to care for those with the ailment. At the time, several diseases were likely grouped under this eponym, including ergotism and herpes zoster (shingles). Historically, erysipelas occurred on the face, but cases today most often involve the legs. The group A streptococcal bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes causes most of the facial infections; although it can also cause erysipelas on the legs, an increasing percentage of lower extremity infections are now being caused by no n–group A streptococci.

Isolated cases are the rule with erysipelas, although epidemics have been reported. The incidence of erysipelas declined throughout the mid-20th century, possibly due to antibiotic development, improved sanitation, and decreased virulence.[8] However, an increasing incidence of the condition has been noted since the late 1980s.

The change in distribution from the face to the lower extremities is most likely related to an aging population with risk factors such as lymphedema. Approximately 80% of cases of erysipelas occur on the legs rather than the face. International occurrence

Erysipelas is somewhat more common in European countries. Isolated cases are still the rule, however, and the distribution and etiology remain similar to those in the United States.

Erysipelas infections affect persons of all races. The condition has been reported to be more common in females but to occur at an earlier age in males (likely because of a greater incidence of skin injuries in younger males).[9] Other studies indicate that predisposing factors, rather than gender, account for any male/female differences in incidence.

Cases of erysipelas have been reported in all age groups, but it does appear that infants, young children, and elderly patients are most commonly affected. The peak incidence has been reported to be in patients aged 60-80 years, especially in those who are considered to be high-risk and immunocompromised or those with lymphatic drainage problems (eg, after mastectomy, pelvic surgery, bypass grafting).


The prognosis for patients with erysipelas is excellent. Complications of the infection usually are not life threatening, and most cases resolve after antibiotic therapy without sequelae. (The disease may also resolve spontaneously, without treatment.)

Complications of erysipelas may include the following:

  • Gangrene/amputation
  • Chronic edema
  • Scarring
  • Bacteremia sepsis
  • Scarlet fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Abscess [1, 10]
  • Embolism
  • Meningitis
  • Death

The most common complications of erysipelas include abscess, gangrene, and thrombophlebitis. Less common complications (< 1%) are acute glomerulonephritis, endocarditis, septicemia, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Rare osteoarticular complications involve joints contiguous with the erysipelas plaques and include bursitis, osteitis, arthritis, and tendinitis.

Local recurrence has been reported in up to 20% of patients with predisposing conditions, and this can lead to disfiguring and disabling sequelae, such as elephantiasis nostras verrucosa. This chronic warty, edematous condition is caused by lymphatic destruction from repeated infection.

Although erysipelas generally is easily treated successfully with oral antibiotics, with a mortality rate of less than 1% in treated cases, it can be fatal when associated with bacteremia in very young, elderly, or immunocompromised patients.

In Times Past - Vermont Epidemic, Originally published on November 26, 2008 Journal Opinion

No less disastrous was the “Vermont epidemic” of 1842-1843, when a disease similar to St. Anthony’s fire (erysipelas) caused thousands of deaths. This disease was a skin infection marked by swellings and fever and was often fatal for young people and pregnant women. Nineteenth century Vermonter Abby Hemenway wrote, “A large portion of the population was clothed in mourning.” (One reader of the original article told me that her grandmother died of erysipelas. Because the name of the disease sounds so much like syphilis, the cause of her death was rarely mentioned by the family.)

Notable deaths

  • John of the Cross, Spanish saint and priest (d. 1591)
  • Father Solanus Casey, American Capuchin priest declared "venerable" by the Roman Catholic Church (d. 1957)
  • Samuel Augustus Ward, Victorian gentleman, organist, composer, teacher, businessman (d. 1903)
  • Norborne Berkeley, baron de Botetourt, Royal Governor of Virginia (d. 1770)
  • Mary Lyon, women's education pioneer (d. 1849)
  • John Stuart Mill, British political philosopher (d. 1873)
  • Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom, daughter of George III of the United Kingdom (1783 – 1810)
  • Anne, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (d. 1714)
  • Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia and wife of King William I of Württemberg (d. 1819)
  • Frederick VII of Denmark, king of Denmark (d. 1863)
  • Christina, Queen of Sweden
  • Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, 6th Earl of Angus (circa 1489 – 22 January 1557) was a Scottish nobleman active during the reigns of James V and Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Pope Gregory XVI (1765-1846)
  • George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon (26 June 1866 – 5 April 1923) was an English aristocrat best known as the financial backer of the search for and the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His death led to the story of the "Curse of Tutankhamun", the "Mummy's Curse".
  • John Brown, personal servant and companion to Queen Victoria (d. 1883)
  • Miller Huggins, baseball player and manager (d. 1929)
  • Charles Lamb, English writer and essayist (d. 1834)
  • Pat Killen, a hard-hitting heavyweight boxer of John L Sullivan's era, died at age 29 while in hiding in Chicago from police after assaulting two men. (d. Oct 10 1891)
  • Michiel de Ruyter, Dutch admiral during the Anglo-Dutch wars, contracted erysipelas from injuries sustained from a cannonball. (d. 1676)

Additional Reading:

jump back to Cause of death portal

this project is in HistoryLink