While doing research on my family tree, I came across a branch that lived in the Fourth Ward of New York City from 1840-1875. They owned a boarding house at 22-24 Oak Street and worked on the docks as ship carpenters and riggers. As I learned about this family through the census, vital records and directories, I soon came to realize that they were living in the time and area that was the premise for the Gangs of New York Movie.
The Fourth District, comprising the Fourth Ward, is bounded by Chatham, Catharine, and South Street, Peck Slip, Ferry, and Spruce Streets. The Perry and Ferris Families must have had an incredibly hard life , working hard to survive the crime, disease and hard work of life.
A Report of the Council of Hygiene and Public Health of the Citizens’ Association of New York upon the Sanitary Condition of the City, second edition (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1866) shows that in 1866, there were 3 deaths from small pox at 22 Oak Street and at 24 Oak Street there were 2 cases of typhoid.
Alice Perry (my ancestor) died in 1860 at 22 Oak Street of a bowel disease but I would hazard a guess it may have been typhoid.