THE IRISH IN IOWA

EPIDEMICS

 

   CHOLERA 1848-1849

 The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa

Feb 8, 1849

[From the Cincinnati Gazette]

The press should be careful what it publishes touching the treatment of
Cholera, and the public still more careful what they receive as authority
and act upon. An almost infinite amount of crude matter has been published
concerning this mysterious and dreadful malady, compared to which the really
valuable treatises or suggestions are as the planets among the stars.
Theories too many to mention have been started, as to theorigin or cause of
the disease, and nostrums offered for its prevention and cure almost as
numerous as trees in the forests. It is rare to find a person who has read a
few medical books, and hung out the sign of Doctor, who does not understand
all about it, but still more rare to find one who can make a few sensible
remarks with reference to it, and propose simple, reasonable, and
efficacious means for the treatment of its curable stages.

We commend to the attention of our readers, and the public generally, the
following brief, plain and practical communication. It comes from an old and
extensive practioner of this city, who saw and treated a great deal of the
Cholera when it was here in 1832. We have confidence in the course of
treatment it recommends for the early and curable manifestations of the
disease, not only because we know its writer to be one who may be relied on,
but also for the reason that we know his suggestion accord with the
treatment used successfully when the Cholera was here.

MESSRS. EDITORS:
     The questions are daily asked- Will the Cholera visit Cincinnati? -
When may we expect its approach? Should it make its appearance, what can be
done to escape an attack, or to effect a cure? Now I will endeavor to answer
these questions in a very concise and simple manner, that all who choose may
avail themselves of my suggestions. In the first place there is a strong
probability that the epidemic will reach Cincinnati in the course of the
present winter, and if the telegraphic recport be correct that it is now
prevailing in the Staten Island Hospital, we may daily expect to hear of
cases among us. What can we do then as a city, or as individuals, to stay
its ravages, or to protect our own persons? It is now almost universally
conceded that it is not a contagious disease. Of course all quarantine
regulations are unnecessary, and experience always shows that wherever they
have been adopted they have proved entirely unavailing. All he city
authorities can do then, is to abate nuisances, and remove offensive matters
of every kind, which, by vitiating the atmosphere we breathe, tend to
predispose the system to whatever epidemic may be prevalent.

But although we cannot rely much upon public effort, we can do much to
protect ourselves. Among the most important prophylactic measures are
attention to personal cleanliness; keeping regular hours; being temperate in
our drinking; taking regular meals of wholesome food, such as beef, mutton,
poultry, potatoes, rice and bread- carefully avoiding such kinds of ailment
as are known to be difficult of digestion, such as fresh pork, veal, fresh
fish, oysters, crude vegetables, pastry, sweet meats, &c., and above all,
keeping the mind free from undue solicitude, which is best affected by
pursuing our regular business, whatever it may be, so it be honest and
useful. And why should we be overanxious? Remember that in ninety-nine cases
in a hundred of Cholera, there is a stage of the disease which is almost
always curable, and that is the stage of simple diarrhoea. During the
epidemic of 1832 many were betrayed into false security by regarding
diarrhoea as a pemonitory symptom, whereas it is the first stage of Cholera
itself. Attend to that at once, and there is but little to fear.

That brings me to the last question- What can be done to affect a cure? To
this I answer: Any person finding his bowels to be loose, (how ever well he
may feel in other respects) should go immediately to bed, and send for his
physician. Should the physician not be at hand, take twenty drops of
Laudanum with the same quantity of Camphor mixed with a little water, and
apply a hot brick to the feet. If there should be nausea or vomiting, apply
a mustard poultice over hte pit of the stomach. Take no food. If thirsty,
drink small quantities of herb tea, such as spearmint or pennyroyal. If the
laudanum and camphor should not arrest the diarrhoea in an hour, and the
physician does not arrive, take 10 grs. of calomel with 1 gr. of opium, to
be followed in 12 hours with a tablespoonful of castor oil. Let the above
course be promptly pursued, and we should hear of but few fatal cases of
Cholera.

MEDICUS.


Mar 22, 1849

Prepare for the Cholera
Each citizen has been furnished with a notice by the corporation, enjoining
cleanliness upon them and the removal of every thing from their premises
that may have a tendency to superinduce Cholera. In behalf of the citizens,
we notify our City Fathers of the existence of a greater nuisance and one
that has a stronger tendency to cause Cholera to visit us than all others
combined. It stands upon the Front streeet and invites the disease as it
ascends the Mississippi to tarry awhile for victims- Shall it not be abated?


June 7, 1849

CHOLERA

...Cholera is not contagious,and it is important that this fact should be
thoroughly understood.

During the prevalence of the epidemic, the collection of the sick into
narrow, damp, badly-ventilated situations, greatly favors its intensity and
extension. Persons attacked in these situations should be instantly removed.

During epidemic cholera derangements of the digestive functions are more
common.

1. Those who feel symptoms of cholic or diarrhoea, or who have pains of the
stomach, should be excessively prudent in diet; and avoid fatigue, cold, and
humidity.--They should wrap the abdomen in a flannel jacket, go otherwise
warmly clad, and use mild infusions of tea, or sage or chamomile, or balm.
If these symptoms do not suddenly disappear, a physician should be sent for.
It rarely occurs that attacks of cholera are not ushered in by symptoms of
disease of the stomach and bowels. In this condition any intelligent person
is capable of giving relief; and promptitude is the important point.

2. If the disease is not checked in this, its first stage- and if diarrhoea
increases, accompanied with vomiting, chilliness, coldness of the
extremities- the patient must be placed in a warm bed, between blankets;
have hot bricks, or bags of sand, or bottles of water, applied to his feet,
and warm napkins to the abdomen and stomach- the extremities must be rubbed
with flannel dipped in alcohol, camphor, or other stimulant--warm drinks
must be administered every few minutes; such as teas, chamomile &c. -
cataplasms of ground flaxseed and mustard must be put on the extremities-
all causes of chilliness must be avoided- and small injections of rice
water, starch, or decoction of marsh mallow must be given, with a decoction
of poppy heads superadded- frequent small injections are best.

3. When pain in the head, cramps, in the limbs, and extension of cold occur-
when the tongue is cold, the eyes sunken, the skin bluish on the face and
hands- the remedies above indicated should be more promptly used until a
physician arrives.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Ad)
DR. WHITE'S CHOLERA MEDICINE
2 DOZEN packages of this popular remedy received on commission per last boat
for sale by A.SANDERS.
May 31st.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 5, 1849

Cholera

     Our town has thus far been almost wholly exempted from Cholera, but two
deaths of citizens from that disease having occurred.
     It is universally conceded that during the prevalence of Cholera all
diseases partake of its characteristics, hence an individual having a
bilious attack exhibits many of the symptoms of Cholera, and doubtless if
medical aid be not summoned the disease would eventuate in Cholera. And thus
is why there are few deaths from other diseases during the prevalence of
cholera and why at that time bilious fever to so limited an extent prevails.
     If our citizens continue and increase sanatary [sic] precautions, our
town may yet escape the visit of the epidemic with that virulence which has
attended it at other towns south of us.
     As many reports prejudicial to the health of Davenport have been
circulated in the country, we would inform those abroad that we have yet had
but two deaths from cholera, exclusive of those Germans who landed on our
wharf sick, and that it is our intention to publish every death that occurs
in our place, and for that purpose request the friends of the deceased, or
their medical attendants to furnish us with a notice of the same.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thursday Morning, July 5th--The Cholera is still upon the increase in St.
Louis. Last Sunday there were 175 deaths reported by the City Register.
~~~~~~~~~~
DEATHS ON THE TOBY- The Cholera on the Uncle Toby on her last trip was fatal
enough without contemporaries multiplying the number of deaths. But fifteen
were buried before arriving at this place and two dead bodies then on board
made seventeen, the whole number that died between St. Louis and Davenport.
Of this we were assured both  by officers of the boat and the emigrants.

The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
July 19, 1849


APPARENT DEATH
We have noticed many cases of persons presumed to have died from cholera,
but who previous to burial revived and subsequently recovered. The disease
is one that racks the nervous system and leaves the unfortunate person
utterly prostrated, hence the calm and quiet of its victim previous to
dissolution. Again very large quantities of opium and other narcotics are
employed, which from the condition of the patient, are frequently rendered
powerless, for the time being, but afterwards display their effects in a
stupor that may sometimes be mistaken for death. How important that the
positive proof of death be obtained before the body is consigned to the
earth? The simplest method of doing this, good medical authority states to
be, to apply a heated iron to the surface, if a blister be raised, the
person is not dead, if there be no blister hope may be banished.

CHOLERA PREVENTIVES- An old physician of Cincinnati in speaking of brandy as
a preventive of cholera, very sarcastically remarks, that all who do not die
of cholera this year will die of mania potu next year. There is considerable
truth in that remark, and those who take it as a preventive will find that
as a remedial agent it has lost, with them, much of its virtues. The best
preventive is a serene mind, a fearless heart, and an immediate resort to
medicine upon the first symptoms of disease.

Cholera at Peru
By arrivals from the Illinois river, we have intelligence that the cholera
was making great havoc at Peru, and on Sunday evening, the time of the last
reports, was supposed to be increasing.
The number of deaths that day, the first inst., were 10- about in the same
proportion or greater than in St. Louis at the worst point. On the preceding
day 7 died and on Friday, 9. Generally on the Illinois river there was but
little disease.


    ~~ A private letter from Cincinnati under date of the 4th inst. states
the cholera to be very bad in that city, on business of any kind doing
except those relating to the epidemic, and some of the Drug stores closed
from sickness or death of their proprietors. In Dayton the cholera was also
very bad and more fatal than in Cincinnati. In the latter City the doctors
appear to be more successful than at almost any other place. Dr. Buchanan,
it is stated in our letter, "has never lost a case when called before the
collapsed stage."

CHOLERA

ST. LOUIS- Twelve cemeteries report for last Saturday week, 123 deaths by Cholera, 89. The same number of cemeteries for Sunday report 107 deaths, by Cholera 80. On Monday deaths by Cholera alone, 135. On Tuesday, by Cholera 145. On Wednesday, 157 deaths, Cholera 124. Thursday, 136 deaths, Cholera 105.
CINCINNATI- During the 24 hours ending Wednesday last, there were 76 interments from cholera and 50 from other diseases. The epidemic is abating. The treatment of the cholera in the Hospital under the management of physicians has been very successful.
LEXINGTON, KY.- The Louisville Courier of the 9th says of Lexington: The cholera has been raging with increased violence at this place during the past week. It attacks indiscriminately and does not appear to yield as readily as heretofore to medical treatment. The citizens are greatly alarmed and numbers of them are hurrying away from the place.
KEOKUK [ IOWA]- There were twelve deaths from cholera in Keokuk during the week ending Thursday last, and thirty-eight during the last four weeks.
QUINCY, ILL.- The Quincy Whig of last week reports seventeen interments from cholera the previous week. On Saturday evening the disease broke out with still more virulence, and five deaths were reported Saturday afternoon. The citizens were leaving and much anxiety and alarm was manifested.
BELLEVILLE, ILL.- There have been many fatal cases of cholera at this place. For twenty-four hours ending with Thursday last, there were ten deaths. The disease is prevalent also in the vicinage.

The Gazette
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
July 26, 1849

CHOLERA
NEW YORK-
There were one thousand deaths in New York during the week ending the 17th inst., against two hundred and eighty-four of the same week last year. Of the above number 184 died of Cholera.- On the 17th there were 103 cases of Cholera and 15 deaths; on the 19th, 53 cases and 36 deaths.
PHILADELPHIA- During the week ending the 17th inst., there were 469 cases of Cholera and 171 deaths in this city. On the 17th there were reported 73 cases and 31 deaths from Cholera; on the 19th, 87 cases and 32 deaths.
ST. LOUIS- The Cholera is gradually abating in St. Louis. On Monday and Tuesday of last week the number of deaths had decreased to 61, each day, and on Saturday last to but 37.
CHICAGO- The epidemic is on the increase in this city. On the 16th there were 9 deaths, and on the 17th, 11 deaths from Cholera.
CINCINNATI- During the three weeks ending the 8th inst., there were 2,485 deaths in this city, a greater mortality than ever before known in Cincinnati. The Cholera is now steadily on the decline. On the 19th there were but 43 deaths from Cholera.

ST. LOUIS
The Epidemic- Its ravages-Other diseases- Melancholy incident-Mercantile community-Corruption of great cities, St. Louis in particular.

We are indebted to the kind attentions of a friend for the following extracts from a letter received by him under date of St. Louis, 19th inst. The reflections upon the mercantile community may in the main be correct as applied to all cities, but in St. Louis their sombreness is relieved by the well known philanthropy of that class of its citizens. In proof of this assertion we would instance the alacrity and the substantial manner in which they responded to the appeal from Pittsburg, proceeding out of its affliction from the devouring element. We would point to the many and heavy outlays individually encountered by the merchants for materials to purify their city and rid it of the pestilential vapors which for months has involved them. All  honor to the fraternity who have nobly stood their ground and fought the destroyer, rather than flee and leave the weak and indigent alone to its embraces:-
"The Cholera has been with us a long time. It commenced here early last winter, the cases then were few, and scattering and doubts as usual were expressed as to its being the genuine Asiatic, but those doubts were soon removed. As the warm weather approached, the disease developed itself more fully, and before the great fire, was considered very bad; that fire seemed to check it for a short time, but it soon began to increase, until it finally devastated our city, and made it a perfect grave yard. For the last 3 or 4 weeks we have been burying from 800 to 1000 per week. Last week's reports for the week ending 16th inst. show a mortality of 867, and this in a population decreased by death and departures to not over 40,000 and some say 30,000- usually 60 - 65,000. This is a fearful mortality, and much greater than is on record in any other city of the Union.- This week there is an improvement, the deaths average from 80 - 90 per day, while last week they run as high as 189 per day. The mortality from Cholera yesterday was down to 50, from other diseases 34, in all 84. With the decrease in Cholera, there seems to come an increase of fatality in other diseases, as Bilious Dysentery and Congestive Fevers, which are as much to be dreaded as the Cholera; the one wasting its victim like wax before the fire, the other producing death almost as soon as Cholera; quickly reducing to insensibility, from the effect of which the sufferer never awakes. In all cases of death from these diseases, decomposition takes place so rapidly as to render speedy burial unnecessary; from 6 to 24 hours begins, and ends, the case. In most cases medical skill is useless-the disease setting at defiance all known modes of treatment.
It would be impossible for me to relate all the individual cases of distress that have come under my knowledge; they are too numerous, and extend through the whole community; in some instances whole families have been swept away from earth, in so short a time, as almost to defy belief. Lately Mr. Gilman's book-keeper, Mr. Ranson died, and when the grave closed over him there was none of his name, or kindred, to drop a tear to his memory, and there were eight new-made graves side by side, containing his family, his wife, and children, who, but a week or ten days previous, were all together and well. This is but one out of many cases, more or less distressing.
We have strict Quarantine Regulations, Boards of Health, &c. Our people are put on low diet; vegetables and fruit are not allowed to enter the city, and there has been considerable fasting, if not as much prayer as there should be-but it all fails. The disease seems to have its own way and will run its course, but I trust we have seen the worst, and that I shall have better news for you hereafter. Every one feels sad and dejected, not knowing at what moment those nearest and dearest to him may be taken away. The brave man under these circumstances feels fear, as well as the coward, but their feelings arise from different sources. You could not imagine any thing more unpleasant than a residence in this city during the last 3 months- every one knowing, and feeling that every day or hour, may produce some new disaster.
Our mercantile community hang on well. With them is something like a field of battle, there is no give up as long as there are men to fill the ranks of the fallen. The prize of money must be secured and it would be sacrilege to call them away for an hour from the pursuits of gain, to attend to the comparatively unimportant duty of relieving the wants of suffering humanity. With them the only suffering seems to be in the pocket and they appear to claim exemption from any duty excepting attending to business. My friend, if you value your happiness, your physical, or moral health, if you wish to keep alive within your bosom any of those nobler attributes of our natures given us by the Creator, keep out of a great city, for there are gathered together in undue proportion, and flourishing with the rankness of weeds, all the evil propensities of our natures- wealth and poverty, happiness and misery, pomp and arrogance, splendor and wretchedness, blasphemy and wickedness, all festering together, until God's curse rests on them and they are only spared because there is one good man among them. This is my opinion of cities, and I do not thing that I exaggerate, nor would others could they see all behind the scenes ,visit our gaming houses, brothels, drinking establishments, &c. It seems to be impossible for a man to last long in a place like this; the vital energies are soon exhausted, and constant excitement wears out life with great rapidity.
it is different here now from what it was when you were here; the trade of the city is vastly increased, while the facilities for doing business are in no manner improved, or increased, consequently everything is done in a hurry. The cursing and yelling of draymen; the drunken blasphemy of boatmen and deckhands, are never out of hearing, till finally you become disgusted and leave, or get into the same habits.- One day of quiet country life, is productive of more enjoyment ot me, than a life time in a city- adn if Providence spares and favors me and mine, I will evacuate Flanders, as Geo Wood used to say.
July 20th- Deaths yesterday 60-36 from Cholera- 30 from other disease, this is gratifying, and trust will continue."


Oct 11, 1849
COFFINS- The Cinicnnati Nonpariel says, that one establishment in that city
sold over twelve thousand dollars' worth of coffins in that city, since the
breaking out of the cholera.

Oct 25, 1849

ADDITIONAL NEWS BY THE NIAGRA
New York, Oct. 19

The Cholera is decreasing in all parts of Europe. Total deaths in England
since the 7th of June 13,000.


Nov. 29, 1849

CHOLERA AND ANIMALCULES.
The importance of a microscope in investigating the origin and phenomena of
disease, is daily becoming more apparent. Already has it determined many
disputed points in medical science, and it seems destined to still greater
achievements.

The animalcular theory of contagion is likely to receive important aid, if
not the triumphant establishment, by its wonderful revelations.

That Cholera has an animalcular origin is no new theory, but it is recent
microscopic revelations which has given to it apparent confirmation.

Prof. R.D. Mussey, of the Ohio Medical College, to whom we alluded
yesterday, in the course of a series of investigations and experiments, as
early as the first of September last, discovered in the atmosphere of rooms
occupied by Cholera patients, animalcules, in the greatest abundance, and,
by a series of observations, noted the changes that daily took place, and
compared these atmospheric animalcules with those found in the rice-water
discharges and the muscle of cholera patients.

Prof. Mussey experimented upon specimens of fluid obtained by the
condensation of vapor by the side of cholera patients- on a single drop
placed under the microscope, a multitude of animalcules were discovered
moving in all directions. In the rice water discharges also, the same
animals were discovered--one of these animals, viewed through a magnifier of
2000 linear diameters, appears about one-fourth of an inch long, and moves
with a lateral flexure of his body, like a serpent on the ground.

These animals exhibit considerable tenacity of life- they are active at
nearly eighty degrees Fahrenheit. The atmospheric animalcules survived
thirteen days in a loosely corked phial, and the rice water animals were
alive after fourteen days.

In the muscle of a cholera patient, taken ten hours after death, multitudes
of animalcules were seen, but the same experiment with a piece of muscle
taken from a subject, dead of crysipelas, discovered not a single
animalcule.

The hydrant water was also tested without finding any of these animals, and
the atmosphere of rooms and neighborhoods some days after the cholera had
disappeared, was condensed and examined without detecting animalcules.

The atmosphere of rooms in which are small pox patients, has also been
examined and animalcules of apparently a different species have been
discovered.

The important experiments and discoveries of Professor Mussey, will be made
public in the forthcoming November number of the Western Lancet, and we hope
and trust, will aid in explaining the mysterious movements of this "black
death", and result in discovering a preventive and a remedy.--Cincinnati
Gaz.

Dec 27, 1849
Cholera- It is said that the cholera has again broken out at Copperas
Landing on the Illinois River, and that eight persons have died. The Peoria
Register says, that six or seven deaths had occurred from the same disease
at Lancaster Landing, twenty miles below Peoria.

Dec 27, 1849
Cholera- It is said that the cholera has again broken out at Copperas
Landing on the Illinois River, and that eight persons have died. The Peoria
Register says, that six or seven deaths had occurred from the same disease
at Lancaster Landing, twenty miles below Peoria.

Jan 2, 1850
Six monks died of cholera on board the steamboat Constitution near St.
Louis, on the 15th ult. They were from Waterford, Ireland and bound for
Dubuque-Galena Gazette.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YELLOW FEVER (BLACK VOMIT) 1873

Davenport Democrat
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
Oct 23, 1873

BLACK VOMIT

The Appearance and Sufferings of the Victims Attacked by Yellow Fever

     The following pen-pictare of the effects of the terrible pestilence is
furnished by Dr. L.H. Cohen to the Quincy Whig:
     Perhaps no mor eappalling sight can be imagined than the malignant type
of yellow fever- that which is now raging in those stricken cities; even in
its milder forms it is bad enough. Not infrequently the doomed victim is
appearently but slightly attacked; may be seen sitting up in his bed,
reading perhaps, sad to all appearance but little indisposed; yet in such a
case, at his very next visit, the physician may find but a lifeless corpse,
gone from this world without a struggle. The disease is so fearfully
insidious, that no one can foretell how the primary attack may result and
the seeds of the malady may lurk in the veins for days, unnoticed, like a
smouldering spark, until the flames burst forth with rage that knows no
conqueror.
     Such instances as those described, almost without any symptoms, are
comparatively rare. usually all cases are attended with intense and
agonizing pain. The dreadful headache and backache, with which the attack is
ushered in cannot be compared to aught else in the domain of human
suffering; while the flushed faces and brilliant injected eyes (sometimes
fearfully beautiful in their strange brightness), must be anxiously watched,
for not the most consummate skill or longest experience may prophesy the
time when these shall give place to the ghastly, livid lip, and the
jaundiced skin and yellow eyeballs from which this fearful malady derives
its name. Or perhaps the dreaded second stage, hemorrhage appears, heralded
by the frightful vomito or black vomit- nay, perhaps attended with bleeding
from ever pore of the body. Then comes the horrible delirium, when the
patient, perhaps a refined, delicate woman or a tender child, but now a
raving maniac, possessed of the strength of five infuriated men, taxes to
the utmost sometimes for hours, all and more than all the resources of the
worn and exhausted friends at the bedside, until at last death closes the
dreadful scene. These are no fanciful pictures; they are realities, that
have been witnessed time and again, and are occurring by scores in these
plague stricken cities of Memphis and Shreveport.
     When recovery takes place- and thanks to the progress of science and
dictates of reason and common sense recoveries do occur in far greater
numbers than in similar epidemics of by gone years- the poor patient is left
as week and helpless as a new-born infant; if he attempts to leave his bed
unassisted he will most likely fall fainting to the floor, and such a
fainting fit is usually but the forerunner of death.
     For days and weeks he must be closely watched, and guarded against any
imprudence, for he has in great measure lost for a time the power of control
over himself and his judgement, and the slightest act of incaution may bring
on the ever to be dreaded relapse, more dangerous by far than the original
seizure.
     A slight idea of the expense incurred in a case of yellow fever may be
simply imagined. A nurse- far more important even than a physician, must be
in attendance night and day, for woe to the yellow fever patient who is left
alone for a single moment. The stretching forth of the hand for a glass of
water on the table near the bed-side may in a second work the irreparable
mischief.
     While so carefully attended every change and movement must be jealously
noted. The strength may fail, and the mechanism of the overwrought system
suddenly run down like a worn out clock.
     It is the physician's duty to do all in his power to guard against such
accidents and whatever he may order- the rarest conserver, the most
expensive wines- must be furnished without delay, for every minute is
fraught with danger, and wkth every second the subtle poison in the blood is
doing its awful work and hurrying on the wing of the Angel Death.

Davenport Democrat
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
Oct 24, 1873


A VOICE FROM DAVENPORT
Letter from a Former Davenporter
Now Living in the Stricken City

The following brief letter from a young man, formerly living in Allen's
Grove, and who was here on a visit last fall, will be read with absorbing
interest, inasmuch as it comes direct from the city which the dreadful
Yellow Fever has nearly depopulated. All will rejoice with him that the
scourge is abating, and that it will soon pass away.

SHREVEPORT, LA., Oct. 19th, 1873.
To the Editor of the Democrat:
     It is gratifying to notice the action of your Davenport Board of Trade
and citizens to raise contributions for this afflicted community. Our great
distress appeals to all charitable hearts for assistance, and the interest
manifested by your people is an evidence that they sympathize with us in our
misfortunes. The right hand of fellowship is extended by the North to her
Southern brethren, our sufferings have made us common friends, heart united
to heart in the cause of benevolence.
     Shreveport is situated on the Red River seven hundred miles from New
Orleans, with a population estimated at twelve thousand, before the
epidemic. Previously the health of this location had been considered very
good. It is evident that the Yellow Fever was in our midst two weeks before
it was recognized. How it came here or how it originated are questions that
may never be settled. Very little is known of the fearful disease.
Ecpreienced physicians admit that decomposed vegetable and animal matter is
highly promotive of the pestilence. Since the administration of the corrupt
Radical officials, Shreveport has been the filthiest town in the United
States. The taxes paid by the people for sanitary purposes have been
squandered by these men in office, who are morally responsible to the people
of this afflicted community. It is evident the fever originated here from
infectious gases and a poisonous atmosphere. This town can be made as free
from such fatal visitation at Davenport, if its streets and alleys are kept
constantly cleaned. The yellow fever was declared epidemic on the 10th of
September, but long before this thousands of people had hurried away by
every conceivable means of egress. Business has now been suspended upwards
of six weeks. The town is like a deserted place- avoided by friends and
dreaded by every one. Out of about four thousand citizens who remained here,
more than seven hundred have died. Whole families have been buried together.
The wife has died, not knowing that her husband was dead. Children have been
buried, the parents not knowing they were childless. Parents and children
have been buried in one grave little knowing that either had been taken
sick. The sick, the dying and the dead have been often together in one room.
Five priests have fallen victims to the scourge while ministering to the
sick. The churches are closed, the congregations are scattered, the servants
of God, who are not dead, are slowly recovering their health. "The Times" is
the only paper published here now, on a half-sheet, which is but a mortuary
record. The whole city is like a vast hospital, in every house somebody is
sick, has been sick, or is waiting upon the sick. The convalescents met on
the streets, look more like creeping shadows, than human beings. But why
recount scenes that make the heart ache.
     At the headquarters of the Howards and about the drug stores are the
only places where visible activity prevails. The Howard Association,
organized here as soon the epidemic was made known, have done much good,
their relief committee have provided for the needy and distributed all
provisions received for the poor from generous St. Louis and other places.
Thank Heavens, the fever is now under control, and not so virulent in type;
those who take it now have a chance to recover. The want of material in the
city proper to work upon drives the monster without, who gradually
prostrates people that live in the country. Yellow Jack has been master of
this place since six weeks, but Jack Frost will wipe him out; yet it will
not be safe for the refugees to return until a hard freeze- I am sure a
Davenport frost would exterminate the moster. While we mourn the dead, let
us hope the trying ordeal through which we have passed will not prove barren
of good results. The grateful tear speaks a silent prayer for the
benefactor. Although strangers in our commercial intercourse with the
outside world, in misfortunes we are common friends- brethren enlisted
together in the relief of humanity.
IOWA


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2001 Cathy Joynt Labath