The 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic Memorials

Compiled and transcribed by Donna Bluemink

Permission granted by local newspapers for use of their material.
Note: Memorials below have been extracted from the other files in the yellow fever site.

Index:

Rev. William G. Bagnall
Mrs. Catharine Baylor

Dr. Richard Blow
Lewis W. Boutwell & Daughter Emma Boutwell
George T. Chambers
Benjamin Charles
Rev. James Chisholm
Dr. William Collins
Dr. Thomas F. Constable
William D. Delaney
Rev. Francis Devlin
Rev. Vernon Eskridge
William B. Ferguson
Dr. Alexander Galt

Second Page

Dr. Leon Ghebbardt
Dr. P. C. Gooch
Dr. George I. Halson
Miss Ann P. B. Herron
Dr. Francis S. Higgins
Rev. William Jackson
Samuel Lightfoot
Mechanical Benevolence Society
Charles Meyers
Dr. Richard H. Parker
Dr. George W. Peete
Maria J. Riley
Frederick C. & William D. Roberts
Robert T. Scott
Dr. Henry Selden
Dr. R. W. Silvester
Dr. John W. H. Trugien
Dr. Richard B. Tunstall
Dr. George L. Upshur
Horatio Nelson Williams
Hunter Woodis


Rev. William G. Bagnall
4-1st Alley West Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA.

In memory of Rev. Wm. G. Bagnall
who fell at his post during the summer of the pestilence
in the 19th year of his age.
He hath done what he could.
Licensed to preach Jan. 17, 1855,
Died Sep. 15, 1855

Lot Owner: W. D. Bagnall

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 229 and 230.

Rev. Wm. C. Bagnall was a young gentleman of fine promise. He became a member of the Cumberland Street Baptist Church, in 1854, when he commenced studying for the ministry, under the Rev. Mr. Winston. He was, after a short time, [230] licensed to preach, and he displayed talent which showed that if his life had been spared he would have made an eminent minister of the Gospel. His sermons would have done credit to an older head than his. He was untiring in his visits to the sick and dying, during the whole time that the fever made its appearance amongst us, reading and praying with them, and giving them all the consolation in his power—thus showing an example for older ministers to follow. But he is gone to his reward, having fallen in the spring-time of his life.


Catharine Tunstall Baylor and her three children
8 Main Center, Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

In memory of
Mrs. Catharine Baylor, died Sept. 11, 1855, age 43.
She triumphed over adversity by fortitude, and over death by faith and
resignation. Dying she exclaimed, "Exulting and praising God."
Mother and three lovely daughters cut down by the pestilence lie here,
sleeping in Jesus.
This monument is erected by her affectionate pupils.

Lot Owner: Catharine B. Baylor

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 259- 262.

Our city suffers a sad and incalculable loss in the death of a number of ladies of superior mind, rare accomplishments, and most estimable character. Among those who were thus suddenly called away from a sphere of usefulness, was Mrs. Catherine B. Baylor.

Possessing, naturally, uncommon mental endowments, and having enjoyed the advantages of careful and skillful intellectual training, with an innate fondness for study, for the acquisition of knowledge, and, indeed, for the pursuit of the beauties of literature and science, she was deservedly distinguished [260] as a lady of high mental cultivation, and refined literary taste. She was noted as a linguist, and especially as a Latin and French scholar.

Mrs. Baylor was remarkable, too, for firmness and decision of character, which, with her varied attainments, a naturally judicious mind, and, withal, a mild and amiable disposition, admirably fitted her for the discharge of her responsible duties, as principal of the Female Seminary, to which she devoted many years of her life, and whose success and popularity were the surest evidences of her faithfulness and ability in the highly honorable calling she had chosen.

The great calamity that desolated our city, and spread over its entire limits, as it were, a pall of deep and deepening sorrow, found few, if any, more interesting families than that of which the lamented subject of this notice was the respected head; and with few, alas, was the destroying agent more unsparing and relentless. She had watched, with all the anxiety and tender solicitude of a devoted mother, at the death bedside of three interesting daughters. The deceitful and treacherous malady had appeared in its most virulent type, and attacked, one after another, the members of her happy and united household. The roseate [261] blush of health and beauty gave place to the sallow hue, deeply imprinted upon the cheek by the dreadful African fever, and forms of gracefulness lay powerless, cold, and still. Death hushed the soft, familiar voices of the most loved, and, with his "skeleton finger," closed the eyes that had beamed with the native light of love, and joy, and intelligence. The young hearts that had beat in unison with hers—pulsating with the fondest emotions of reciprocal and filial affection—had ceased to move with the gentle throbbings of life; and her strongest ties to this "vale of tears" were rudely severed.

Oppressed with a weight of affliction too heavy, even for her disciplined mind, to sustain, and exhausted by overtaxing her physical energies, the mysterious foreign malady found her a ready, though bereaved, and chastened victim. Her spiritual eye gazed far beyond the limited bounds of time and earth. Faith plumed and lifted its wings for the upward flight, as if weary of the unequal earthly strife, and anxious to soar heavenward—to rise triumphant to the blissful land of unclouded brightness, and re-unite with those whom Death's palsying touch had spoiled—and God had taken—to part no more. Thus exulting with hope, and cheered on in the "dark valley," [262] by the priceless faith of the Gospel, she uttered, in feeble, but distinct accents, while yet lingering upon the verge of time: "Rejoicing and praising the Lord forever and ever!" And thus she sank into the chill arms of Death. She was a member of Christ Church—Protestant Episcopal.

October 16, 1855, Correspondence of the Dispatch. Norfolk, 14th Oct., 10 P.M., 1855.

. . . the spacious building on Freemason street, formerly used as a boarding school by the lamented Mrs. Baylor.

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Baylor, Mrs. Cath. B., teacher, 20 W. Freemason.


Dr. Richard Blow.


Courtesy of the Blow Family

In memory of Dr. Richard Blow
Born March 31st, 1810
Died Sept. 20th, 1855
True to the impulses of his nature he volunteered in the cause of humanity.
He left his home and came amid the pestilence, where after ministering
with much success, himself fell a victim.
In as much as ye have done to one of the least of these my brethren,
Ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25: 10

Lot Owner: W. D. Dunbar

October 19, 1855 -Richmond, The Daily South-side Democrat
(Also from THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 256 and 257. )

A correspondent of the Richmond Whig, pays the following tribute of the lamented Dr. Blow, of Sussex, who recently died of yellow fever at Norfolk.

Amongst the many noble hearts and gallant spirits who have fallen victims of the terrible pestilence which has desolated Norfolk and Portsmouth, the papers yesterday contain an announcement of the death of Dr. Richard Blow, of Sussex. To those who knew him well, this will occasion more regret than surprise. It was only a few weeks ago, when deaf to the remonstrance of friends, and to the calls of even duty and affection, but free to the impulse of his extensive practice, and where his reputation was well established, on that voluntary mission of mercy, from which he ne'er returned. But this was in character with the man, and with the whole tenor of his life. For him danger had always a sort of charm, and death had no terror. A kinder heart, a warmer friend, a manlier foe, a brave and more generous spirit, never lived that Richard Blow. He died as he lived, without fear or reproach—without one particle of selfishness—an enthusiast in feeling and principle—an ultraist in the cause of humanity. Requiescat in pace.


Lewis W. Boutwell
21-5th Alley West Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA
and daughter Emma Boutwell

L. W. Boutwell
Born March 8, 1812
Died August 27, 1855
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Emma Boutwell
The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.
Lot Owner: R. C. Barclay

From THE REPORT OF THE PORTSMOUTH ASSOCIATION. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, page 178.

We should like to speak of that estimable and unobtrusive man, Lewis W. Boutwell, one of the Elders of the Presbyterian Church, and of his lovely daughter Emma, who were not separated in death.


George T. Chambers
Lot 301, Avenue 4, Old 85, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA
(See last line of occupants on left side of vault)

G. T. Chambers
Born Aug. 18, 1811 or 1814
Died Sept. 8, 1855

Owner: G. Chambers & J. C. White

From Report of the Portsmouth Relief Association, Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, Pages 172 & 173.

Captain George Chambers, though a native of one of the Northern States, had been a citizen of Portsmouth for many years, and to a very large extent enjoyed the respect and confidence of the community. By prudence and attention to business, he had accumulated a competency, and had no inducement to remain in town after the appearance of the fever, other than a desire to be useful. As a member of the Common Council, he was placed on the Sanitary Committee, in which position he rendered very important services, superintending the transportation of the sick to the Hospital, and in other ways exerting himself for the relief of the sufferers. While thus actively employed, disease overtook him, and after a few days severe illness, he breathed his last on the 21st day of August. Captain Chambers was always looked upon as one of the most reliable men in the town. In all enterprises designed to advance the interests of the place, he took a prominent part, and readily responded to every call made upon him. As the head of the fire department, which situation he held for many years, and the duties of which he performed with promptness and ability, his services were invaluable. He had been repeatedly elected a member of the Town Council, and was for a long time superintendent of the Norfolk county ferries, under the appointment of the court, which last position he voluntarily retired from about a year before his death. In the order of Odd Fellows he was esteemed by his brethren as one of their most honored members, and his counsels were ever treated with marked consideration. As commissioner of public schools, and a director in the Savings Bank, for a long series of years, he maintained the respect and secured the confidence of the whole community.

Captain Chambers was a widower, having lost his wife from an attack of the same disease of which he died, 1852, and left two children, one of whom, Mr. George W. Chambers, only survived him a very few days, he also falling a victim to the yellow fever.


Benjamin Charles
1 West Avenue Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA.



Benjamin C. Charles
Born June 25, 1835
Died Sep. 26, 1855

Lot Owner: Lewis Salusbury

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, page 150.

I regret to add to the list of recent deaths the name of Benjamin Charles, the printer in the Argus office, who stood firmly and fearlessly at his post by the side of Mr. Finch, the lamented and intelligent foreman, and toiled with him night and day, when the fierce destroyer had attacked the rest, or caused them to fly. The writer noticed this young man at his work, striving faithfully to give the desired information of the progress of the disease to our scattered people. He seemed as calm, amid the storm of excitement that prevailed, as he ever was. He deserves to be kindly remembered, as one who was faithful and fearless when thousands were hurrying away in alarm.


The Rev. James Chisholm.
Lot 398, Avenue 7, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA.

In memory of Rev'd James Chisholm
The first pastor of St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church in this City.
Born in Salem, Mass., Sept. 30th, 1815
Died of yellow fever Sept. 15th, 1855.
And so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: even so saith the Spirit; for they
rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
Owner: J. L. Hatton

January 25, 1856 - Southern Argus

At a meeting of the Vestry of Saint John's Church, Dec. 6th, A. D., 1855, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:

WHEREAS, It please Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, in His inscrutable although wise Providence to remove our late lamented pastor, the Rev. James Chisholm, from his pastoral charge on the 15th day of September last, by the fearful epidemic which has recently visited out town, spreading lamentation and gloom into hitherto happy and cheerful circles, and severing connections of the most delicate and sacred character; and whilst yielding in humble submission to the will of the righteous Judge of all the earth, the Vestry of St. John's Church and those whom they represent, as expressive of their affections and veneration for the character of the deceased, adopt the following resolutions:

RESOLVED, That is the death of the Rev. James Chisholm the Church under his pastoral care has sustained a heavy and afflicting loss, and the Church of Christ upon earth has been deprived of an accomplished, efficient and zealous minister.

RESOLVED, That the deceased combined in his character all those virtues and graces which adorn and dignify the minister of the Blessed Redeemer; and while his simplicity, fervor and brilliant and varied acquirements in the pulpit commanded the attention and elicited the admiration of those attendant upon his ministraties of the Gospel, his courteous, bland and pleading manners in the private circle, his fidelity, kindness and affection constantly evinced in the performance of his parochial duties, excited in those connected with him by the bonds of Christian fellowship, the hearts' best effections, and induced the formation of friendship, that survive the period of his dissolution.

RESOLVED, That the heroism and self-sacrificing spirit displayed by remaining at his post during the prevalence of the appalling visitation, exposing himself to the influence of the destroying pestilence, were worthy the exalted postion of the Christian Minister, and his interesting and ceaseless efforts, in disregard of the perils surrounding him, to alleviate human suffering, and as an Ambassador of Christ to direct the stricken and dying to the consolation and hopes of the gospel, was a beautiful and sublime exemplification of his devotion to the cause of his Master, and of his unfaltering reliance and trust in Him who has said, "My grace is sufficient for you."

RESOLVED, That the Vestry and congregation of St. John's Church sincerely sympathize with the surviving family connections and friends of this deceased servant of God, and tender to them their heartfelt and Christian condolence. They will fondly cherish the remembrance of the virtues and worth of their lamented rector, and although no sculptured marble may be reared to mark his resting place and perpetuate his memory, their affections will ever linger around the green spot where his mortal remains shall repose until awakened by the trump of God to be reunited to his sainted spirit.

RESOLVED, That the Rev. Chas. Minnegerode be requested to preach the funeral sermon of our late beloved rector in St. John's Church at his early convenience.

RESOLVED, That as tokens of respect and regard for the Christian character of the deceased, the members of the Vestry wear the usual badge of mourning for sixty days, and the Church of which he was rector be hung with mourning for a like period.

RESOLVED, That copies of the foregoing resolutions be transmitted to the family of the deceased, and published in the Southern Churchman, Episcopal Recorder and in the papers of Portsmouth and Norfolk.

James Murdaugh, Clerk of Vestry.

* * * * * *

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 225-228.

"Who, that knew the Rev. James Chisholm by sight, would have dreamed that that frail body of his held such a lofty spirit! Weak and delicate, with a degree of modesty that almost amounted to bashfulness, as shrinking and retiring as a young girl, thousands would have passed him in the crowd unconscious that they were in the presence of a ripe scholar and an able divine. His look a personification of meekness; and, to the superficial thinker, he would seem to have been one of those who would quietly have retreated to his solitude, far away from the noise and bustle of an excited community. But the disease came—Chisholm's flock nearly all left—and he, too, was preparing to spend a portion of his summer in the mountains—but stern duty said 'Stop.' And then it was that this pale, delicate, frail, retiring man came forth to the struggle, and the great and noble soul which was, after all, the stature of the man, rose in its [226] God-given strength, and he was here at the bedside of suffering, and there by the fresh-made grave; here pointing the sinner to the cross of Christ, and there carrying food and drink to the needy; now in the pulpit, seizing upon the circumstances of the visitation, to warn men to prepare for death, and then in the hospital whispering peace to the penitent and departing soul. Death came to him, and he met him as one who,

. . . 'Sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approached the grave;
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.'"

On the 15th September he wrote as follows, to the Christian Witness:

"It probably occurs to you, that in the present appalling condition of our plague-smitten community, but one alternative presents itself to the consideration of every one. Shall I regard personal safety alone, and flee with all speed from this atmosphere of poison and death, or shall I look the question of my relations to society, to humanity and to God, fall in the face, and decide accordingly? The question of duty, as a minister of Christ, has determined me to stand at the post to which, I believe, all along the providence of God [227] called me. Up to this moment, for the period of seven weeks that the desolating scourge has been doing its remorseless work amongst us, I have been perfectly well; not one uneasy or uncomfortable feeling—and never in my life have I had a finer appetite. For five weeks of this time I have been a daily and sometimes a nightly attendant, as occasion may call me, at the sick and dying beds of the sufferers and victims by this malignant fever. My present condition surprises myself; and I trust that I more than ever realize the 'Eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms.' I am in his hands to do with me what seemeth Him good.

"The wards of the United States Hospital, temporarily granted for the use of our Portsmouth people, are crowded to the number of one hundred and fifty or two hundred with yellow fever patients, and I pay these wards a daily visit, endeavoring to administer, as far as desired or needed, the blessed resources of our holy religion. It is some comfort, amid these dreary walks of duty, to reflect that I have aided some poor creatures to seek and find that peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

"I also visit wherever in town I am called for. [228] As to the details of woe presented by our present condition, I do believe that it is utterly incompetent to any descriptive power to convey a picture of them. Never since the continent of America was settled (I speak calmly, and with reference to what I have read or heard of), never has so terrible a calamity overwhelmed the same amount of population. You will find it extremely difficult to lend credence to some statements which I could make to you from knowledge and observation.

"Yesterday a communication was received from that city of human beings with human sensibilities and sympathies in their souls, Baltimore, offering to convey the entire remaining and surviving population of Norfolk and Portsmouth to any salubrious point that might be selected, or could be obtained by them, and likewise guaranteeing to them, so long as they might be thus detained, all things in the way of provisions, furniture, bedding, etc., which they should stand in need of. The very fact suggests to you some idea of the horrors of our position."


Dr. William Collins
Lot 423, Avenue 7, Old D1, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA

Portrait of William Collins from
Portsmouth Under Four Flags 1752-1961
by Marshall W. Butt
Published by the Portsmouth Historical Association
Portsmouth, VA 1961

In memory of William Collins, M. D., who died of yellow fever September 8th, 1855, in the 51st year of his age. His character was adorned by the noblest abilities which secured love and confidence of his fellow citizens. He zealously and efficiently labored for the prosperity of this his native town. In his death the community experienced one of its dearest bereavements. Erected by the Sea Board & Roanoke Railroad Co. of which he was President, in token of esteem for his personal worth and official fidelity. To the mourner gives the tribute of a memorial. The name within our memory lives and ever shall live there. Cold is the dust the perished form may lie, but that which warmest shall never die.

Owner: Dr. William Collins

* * * * * *

Pages 174-176, Report of the Portsmouth Relief Association, Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856.

Dr. William Collins

Dr. William Collins died from an attack of the fever on the 8th of September, leaving a most interesting family to mourn his death.

Dr. Collins was born in Portsmouth, and always made his residence there, except when in the employment of the government, in the honorable position of Auditor in the Treasury Department at Washington. Having received a preparatory education at the Columbian College, D. C., he entered upon the study of medicine, in which science he graduated in the University of Pennsylvania, and then settled in his native town for the purpose of practicing his profession, where he met with flattering success, having in a very short time built up a lucrative business, and attached to himself hosts of friends. Shortly after this, and at a very early age, he was elected as one of the delegates from Norfolk county in the Virginia Legislature, in which capacity he rendered very important services, and secured for himself a warm place in the attachments of his constituents. For many years he was a justice of the peace, performing the functions pertaining to that office with dignity and ability. Under the administration of President Tyler, he was appointed First Auditor in the Treasury Department, which position he occupied until by a change of administration his removal was effected. While in office at Washington, he was not unmindful of the interests of his native town, and on every occasion his efforts were exerted to promote her welfare. Being brought by his official relations in contact with many of the capitalists of the country, he set himself to work to enlist their co-operation in the work of resuscitating the fortunes of the railroad connecting the waters of the Roanoke with Elizabeth river, which had at that time been suspended and abandoned. Placing a very high estimate on the importance of this connexion for the development of the resources of South-eastern Virginia, and the adjacent country in North Carolina, and for the building up of Portsmouth, for which he entertained a strong filial affection, he spared no labor in carrying out the design which he had formed of procuring its re-establishment. By persevering efforts he succeeded eventually in enlisting in the enterprise men of means, who appreciating the great value of the improvement, formed themselves into a company under the name of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad Company, and under a charter procured for the purpose, rebuilt the road and put it into successful operation. It was a proud day for him when the great object for which he had so long toiled had been attained; and it was fit that the Presidency of the road should have been bestowed upon him, as it was. This position he held to the day of his death, performing all the duties incident to it, to the satisfaction of the stockholders and directors.

It was in this capacity that his services to the community during the prevalence of the epidemic, were of such incalculable advantage. When all other modes of egress were cut off, the cars on the road under his charge continued to run, affording not only a means of escape for the people fleeing from the Destroyer, but a mode of conveyance by which ample supplies of personal assistance, medicine, fuel, clothing and provision were introduced into the town, free of all charges whatever. In the performance of these beneficent labors, and other duties of a benevolent character, he continued to exert himself until he was stricken down by the fever. His illness was short and painful, and surround ed by his family and friends, he breathed his last, in the fifty-second year of his age.


Dr. Thomas F. Constable
35-4th Alley West Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA.

Dr. Thomas F. Constable
Born October 8, 1815
Died August 30, 1855
Aged 40 years.
For this I long ago prepared,
A man of God replied,
That they his blood bought spirit . . .
The joy of the glorified.

Lot Owner: Thomas Constable

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 238-240.

Dr. Thomas F. Constable was another of the resident physicians who fell at his post, after battling faithfully and skillfully with the monster-malady that swept through our city and deprived it of so many men of usefulness and sterling character. His age was about thirty-nine. He, too, was a favorite student of Dr. Thomas F. Andrews, deservedly celebrated as a man of extraordinary skill and success in his profession. Dr. C. subsequently repaired to Philadelphia, where he was noted for his correct deportment and studious habits; and he was soon graduated.

He was a careful and thoughtful observer of whatever tended to increase his knowledge in the different branches of his useful profession. By a judicious and systematic course of reading, he had stored his mind with valuable scientific information, was consequently successful in his practice, and had gained the confidence of the community as a wise and judicious practitioner. Unpretending and unostentatious in his general deportment, and in his intercourse with men; deliberate and cautious in the performance of his official duties; conscientious and honorable in his dealings with others, he possessed a weight and force of character, and an influence in the circle of his acquaint- [239] ance, that were known, acknowledged, and appreciated.

A few weeks before he was attacked, he accompanied his estimable and devoted wife and two lovely children to the salubrious mountain regions of our State, where he could have remained, breathing the pure and healthful atmosphere, far away from the pestilence that reigned here, and surrounded by friends and relatives who esteemed and loved him. But his idea of duty called him home to the scenes of death and wretchedness that were witnessed in this afflicted city. As a member of the Board of Health, he was punctual and faithful in the discharge of his duties, and until seized by the unmistakable premonitory chill, he was constant in his professional visitations to the abodes of disease, death, and woe.

Soon after his attack, it was too evident that his name would swell the long list of the dead. Calmly watching the fearful inroads of the fatal malady, and after patiently submitting to the remedial efforts that were deemed requisite in his case, he told his friend and attending physician, in Latin, that his remedies would prove unavailing, and came to the conclusion that the progress of the disease could not be arrested by human power, and [240] that he must soon be in his grave. Then he quietly awaited nature's dissolution, and the eventful moment when he would exchange this for another and an unending state of existence.

On being told by one who watched at his bedside, that he must soon enter upon the untried realities of another world, and on being asked if he felt ready for the awful change, he simply and pleasantly remarked, "I prepared for this long ago." He had been faithfully instructed in his childhood and youth, by pious parents, in the saving principles and doctrines of the Bible, and had learned and embraced the all-important lesson: That faith in Christ alone was the only hope of salvation. As peaceful and calm as the setting of the summer's sun, he closed his eyes in death. His active form sleeps quietly now, like the rest of the great company that were hurried out to the silent burial place; and his redeemed and happy spirit has returned to the great and merciful Creator, doubtless to be glorified, peaceful, and joyful, during the ceaseless and ample sweep of eternal ages.

* * * * * *

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Constable, Dr. T. F., off. bldg. 2 Market Sq. cor. Main, r. 81 W. Queen.


William D. Delaney
24-1st Alley West, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

To the memory of my husband
William D. Delaney
Born Oct. 22, 1810
Who died Sept. 18, 1855
Thou canst not come to me,
There are no tears in heaven and thou wouldst weep.
Couldst thou but bend above my troubled sleep,
And mark how bitterly I call on thee.

Lot Owner: Edward Delaney

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 267-268.

On the 17th September, Wm. D. Delany, Esq., formerly mayor of the city, fell a victim to the fever, at the age of forty-five. He was first elected to the office of Mayor on the 24th June, 1843, and was annually honored with a large majority of the votes of his fellow-citizens for eight years. He discharged the duties pertaining to the office faithfully [268] and firmly, and, as a citizen, was respected for his amiable qualities and obliging disposition. He possessed a fine physical constitution; was active, "strong, and vigorous, with a well-developed frame. Only a day before his attack, he told the writer that his health was never better; but he was a fair specimen of the many healthful, strong, and powerful who fell before the terrific tread of the dreaded fever-monster. After a conflict of only two or three days, he was laid in the grave. At the time of his death he held the office of cashier of the Merchants and Mechanics' Savings Bank.

* * * * * *

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Delaney, Wm. D., r. 38 Bermuda.


Rev. Francis Devlin
St. Paul's Catholic Church, Portsmouth, VA.

Erected by the citizens of Portsmouth to the memory of
Reverend Francis Devlin,
the humble priest, the faithful pastor, who
sacrificed his life in the cause of charity
during the Plague of 1855. He was a native of
Longford, Ireland. Died on the 7th of October
in the 41st year of his life.

October 11, 1855 - Richmond, The South-side Democrat. Taken from Portsmouth Transcript. Also found in REPORT OF THE PORTSMOUTH RELIEF ASS., pp 173 & 174.

Death of the Rev. Francis Devlin.—The last of the Ministers of the Most High, who have been actively engaged in the discharge of the duties of their holy vocation, is no more. The Rev. Francis Devlin, a holy priest of the Church of Rome, who had the pastoral care of St. Patrick's church in this place, expired yesterday. He had partially recoverd from an attack of the fever some weeks ago, but suffered a relapse from which he never entirely recovered. We saw him out and spoke to him Friday afternoon, and though he looked very much reduced, we had cherished the fond hope that he would be spared. From the commencement of the sad times from which we are emerging up to the period of his attack, he had been actively and faithfully engaged in ministering to the sick and dying, since which time he has been mostly confined to his bed. He was an exemplary mild, humble and godly man, and has no doubt gone to reap the reward of his firm adherence to duty under the most appalling circumstances. His course formed an example worthy of all imitation, and it affords us sincere gratification, as it enables us to exercise a sweet privilege, thus to do homage to a character which we have always esteemed.—Such, we estimate, was the compeer of Chisholm and Eskridge.


Rev. Vernon Eskridge
Lot 277, Avenue 4, Old O, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA.

Lot Owner: Rev. Eskridge

CHAPLIN VERNON ESKRIDGE
Methodist Episcopal, Chaplain Navy Yard, Gosport

Reverend Eskridge was one of several clergy and medical personnel who died in the service of the citizens of Portsmouth during the yellow fever epidemic. This dread disease, the cause not understood at the time, decimated the populations of Norfolk, Portsmouth and surrounding cities and counties during the summer and early autumn of 1855. The disease, which we now know was carried by mosquitoes, killed over 1000 of the estimated 10,000 population of Portsmouth.

Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1803, Eskridge first came to Portsmouth in 1831. He served as the minister at Dinwiddie Street Methodist Church (now Monumental United Methodist Church) in 1831 and 1832. During the summer of that year he assisted the people of Portsmouth with their spiritual and physical needs during the local outbreak of cholera.

After a brief absence he returned to Portsmouth in 1837 and entered private business. He again became active at Dinwiddie Street Church as superintendent and assistant minister from 1839 to 1850. He also became the founding minister of Wright Memorial Methodist Church (now disbanded) in 1843.

Eskridge subsequently served as Navy Chaplain aboard the frigate U. S. S. Cumberland during its Mediterranean service cruise in 1852-1855. Upon his return to the United States, he chose to come back to Portsmouth when he learned of the outbreak of yellow fever.

Worn from serving a grueling routine of comforting families, he too died as a result of the fever on September 11, 1855.

Author: Margaret Windley

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From THE REPORT OF THE PORTSMOUTH ASSOCIATION. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, pages 176 and 177.

The annexed obituary notice of the Rev. Vernon Eskridge, was prepared by order of the Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, and published in their Minutes. So far as it refers to the Christian character and self-sacrificing labors of our departed fellow citizen and friend, we can bear testimony to its fidelity. In all the range of our acquaintance we knew no better man, nor one more eminently fitted for the duties of his sacred office. He was consistent in his religious life, earnest in the performance of his ministerial exercises, free from bigotry and self-esteem, kind and affable in his deportment, unselfish in his disposition, and amiable in all the relations of life. Where he was best known he was most loved. The manner in which he acquitted himself of his obligations to the community, both as a man and as a minister of Christ, in a season of peril and suffering, hitherto unexampled, had endeared him to every heart; and his death, which occurred on the 10th of September, was universally lamented. The day preceding, his son Richard, a most exemplary and promising young man, about seventeen years of age, also died at the Naval Hospital.

Vernon Eskridge was born in the year of our Lord 1801, on the 26th day of October, in the county of Westmoreland, Virginia. By the religious instruction of his pious parents, he was early and deeply impressed with the necessity of seeking an experimental acquaintance with the Saviour of sinners. At a camp meeting, held in Lancaster county, Virginia, he embraced religion on the 26th of July, 1820, when he was about eighteen years of age. In 1822 he was appointed class-leader; in 1823 received license to exhort; and in May, 1827, at a Quarterly Conference, held for the Hanover circuit, at Slash Church, in Hanover county, was licensed to preach. He traveled the remaining part of this year under Lewis Skidmore, P. E., and with Wm. H. Starr, on the Amherst circuit. In 1828, at a session of the Virginia Conference, held at Raleigh, North Carolina, he offered himself as a probationer, and was received and appointed as the Junior preacher, under Christopher Thomas, to the Williamsburg circuit. In 1830, at a session of the Virginia Conference, held in Richmond, Virginia, he was received into full connection, and ordained Deacon, and appointed to the Elizabeth City station, in North Carolina. After traveling several years longer, in consequence of a chronic affection which disabled him for the regular itinerant work, he was superannuated for some years and lived in Portsmouth. For a few years past, he served as Chaplain on board of the United States frigate Cumberland, in the Mediterranean, and preached the gospel with success to the sailors. The most, if not the whole, of this time, he spent far from his family and his native land. Returning from a long absence, to his family, last summer, he had but a short time to enjoy the pleasures of home, when the desolating pestilence broke out in the city of Portsmouth. Undismayed by the awful ravages of the yellow fever, and the panic which scattered the population of the city abroad, he nobly stood at the post of duty, and was at the call of all who needed his ministerial services. With patient and energetic Christian heroism, he braved the danger which thickened around him, till all of him that was perishable was blasted by the breath of the pestilence, and his spirit became a citizen of heaven. While yet life was dissolving in death, mysterious and incredible as it may seem in the light of our imperfect knowledge, he recognized and hailed, by name, his mother, who had been long in the spirit land, and his son, whom, until that moment, he knew not as dead. Thus, falling in the battle's strife, and parting with loved ones in the flesh, and greeting loved ones disembodied, he was conducted to the presence of Christ, where there is "fullness of joy," and at whose "right hand there are pleasures forever more."

"in his duty prompt at every call, He watch'd, and wept, he prayed, and felt for all."


William Boyd Ferguson
President of the Howard Association
18-5th Alley, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

From REPORT OF THE HOWARD ASSOCIATION OF NORFOLK, VA. Philadelphia: Inquirer Printing Office, 1857, pages 4 and 5.

The death of Mr. Ferguson occurred at a moment of unparalleled trouble, when but few citizens of Norfolk were left in the possession of health. Mr. Ferguson himself was early called upon to suffer affliction in his immediate family, before the attack of fever which soon ended his own life.

It is useless for us to speak of William Boyd Ferguson, the first President of our association. The whole country is familiar with his name. And in him we find another remarkable instance of self-sacrifice in serving his fellow man. For six weeks were his labors incessant in the direful plague. He was early in the action, and after having borne the brunt of the battle, when the enemy was well nigh overcome, and about retiring from the conflict, when the hopes of his friends were high that he would prove victorious, a fatal shot struck him; and he too had to be taken to that cemetery, where he had but recently assisted in depositing the remains of so many of his fellow men.

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From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 215-218.

WILLIAM B. FERGUSON,
Merchant and President of the Howard Association

Soon did he follow his daily companion in benevolence, the self-denying Woodis, to the tomb; and not only do our people weep for him, but his native city, Baltimore, divides with us the privilege of grief, and will honor his name with a commemorative monument.

The Patriot said: "The announcement of the death of Mr. Ferguson, the President of the Howard Association at Norfolk, fell upon our citizens yesterday with all the weight of a public calamity, and excited a keenness of regret which spoke at once of the high merit of the individual, and the heavy loss which the suffering city of Norfolk has sustained in his decease. A true estimation of those who act worthily, places Mr. Ferguson among the heroes of the highest stamp. From the breaking out of the pestilence at Norfolk he was assiduous, untiring, and unceasing in his endeavors to mitigate the evils of disease and death by which he was surrounded. He seemed to have fallen naturally into the position of President of the Howard Association, from the general recognition of that indomitable courage and unvarying perseverance of purpose, which fitted him to assume responsibilities and undergo labors that would have appalled and discouraged others.

"In that position, he was the animating spirit of the noble efforts of those who battled the pestilence with an ardor and courage that almost seemed to bid it defiance, and challenge its approach. Exposed hourly to the contagion in its worst forms, living amidst the miasma which sur- [217] rounded the sick and the dying, Mr. Ferguson labored on from day to day, until hope grew strong that he would escape the contagion, and live to enjoy the rich return which the estimation of his fellow-citizens would award to such self-devotion. This expectation was sadly disappointed, and to the names of those who so nobly proved their devotion by the sacrifice of their lives in the cause of humanity, we have to add that of William B. Ferguson."

Says the American:
"Mr. Ferguson was a native of Baltimore, and, until about four years since, resided in our midst. In the year 185I, he served in our City Councils, was, for a considerable period, an efficient member of the First Baltimore Fire Company, and, in all the relations of life, won the affectionate regard of those who were best qualified to judge of his merits. After his removal to Norfolk, he was appointed Agent of the Baltimore and Norfolk Steamboat Company, and in the performance of the duties which were thus devolved upon him, his estimable qualities were not less appreciated by his new friends than they continued to be by his earlier associates, he was taken from us at the early age of thirty-one years; but, though the [218] term of his existence was brief, indeed, when compared with the usual period allotted to man upon earth, it was so crowded, within the past few months, with acts of beneficence and charity, with heroic self-sacrifices and unwearied devotion to others, that the measure of his life should be calculated rather from the good deeds he has done, than from the calendar of his years."

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From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 110 and 111.

"A thrill of pungent sorrow has been felt to-day [September 22, 1855] by hundreds of hearts, from the intelligence of the death of the worthy and indefatigable President of the Howard Association. William B. Ferguson is no more! He, too, has fallen a victim. Mysterious, indeed, are the ways of Providence. Mr. Ferguson had endeared himself to this afflicted people by ties that even relentless Death cannot sever. His name will be remembered by old and young, rich and poor. The little ones, bereaved by the monster, will talk of his deeds of generosity, and love, and mercy for long years to come. Time will not obliterate the recollection of his efforts, of his energy and perseverance during the reign of the conqueror, in the full rage of the destroyer—at night and in the day. Alas! he sleeps quietly now, from his labors and toils among the sick, the dying, the suffering, and the dead. Honor to his memory!


Dr. Alexander Galt
34-1st Avenue West Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

In memory of
Alexander Galt
Born in Williamsburg
Feb. 12, 1799
Died in Norfolk
Sept. 22, 1855

Lot Owner: Alex Galt

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 245-247.

Dr. Alexander Galt, too, our excellent, gentlemanly, and attentive Postmaster, has fallen. Only four or five days ago, he was faithfully engaged in the discharge of his official duties. Now, his well-known and active form is shrouded, coffined, entombed—cold, still, and wakeless in death, and silent in the grave.

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Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Galt, Alexander, postmaster, 33 W. Main, cor. Commerce, r. 80 W. Bute.



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