I love Samuel Pepys (1633 to 1703). His diary and letters are fascinating and all available online thanks to Project Gutenberg, Phil Gyford and his Pepys Diary website.

He lived in London during the plague and the terrible year of 1666, when the plague and the fire of London took place. ‘I having stayed in the city till above 7400 died in one week, and of them above 6000 of the plague, and little noise heard day or night but tolling of bells; till I could walk Lombard Street, and not meet twenty persons from one end to the other … till whole families (ten and twelve together) have been swept away … till the nights (though much lengthened) are grown too short to conceal the burials of those that died the day before.’ Samuel Pepys, in a letter to Lady Carteret, September 1665