The Death of Benjamin Stephenson
Benjamin Stephenson died on October 10, 1822. There is little information about his death, but the probate records show that, during the months leading up to his death, the family bought quantities of “Yellow Bark.” Yellow Bark, or “Peruvian Bark,” was the bark of the Cinchona tree and the source of quinine used to treat malaria. Malaria was a large problem through the south, and was a significant problem for settlers even as far north as Illinois; thus, the available evidence seems to point to malaria for the cause of Stephenson’s death. He was only 54 years old.