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 of this 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

Dr. Leon Ghebbardt

September 6, 1855 -Richmond, The Daily South-side Democrat

Dr. Leon Ghelbardt who ever since last Sabbath, has been confined to his bed, died at the residence of Chas. Campbell yesterday morning at 1 o'clock. We learn that his remains were buried at Blandford church-yard without ceremony. He died in a noble cause. Requiescat in pace.

Dr. P. C. Gooch.
Range 13, Section 7, Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, VA
Right monument in foreground.

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, p. 429.

This graceful and appropriate tribute to the memory of GOOCH, we take from the pages of the STETHOSCOPE, the journal which he founded, and which was always the child of his fondest love. We can add nothing to the well earned eulogium here pronounced by the editors of that periodical, and we only ask the privilege as a contemporary and friend of the deceased, to unite our regrets and sincere feelings of regard, with theirs. —ED.

"It is but seldom that we have been called to a more melancholy duty than this record of the death of Dr. Philip Claiborne Gooch, of this city. When cries of distress were borne on every breeze from our sister cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, he repaired to the scene of woe; and having been an eye-witness to the dreadful havoc of the pestilence, he hastily returned to his home—and after completing some business arrangements, with characteristic heroism and self-devotion he repaired again to the scene of suffering, determined to peril all in the cause of humanity. But, alas! he had scarcely entered on his humane mission, when he became the victim of the invisible foe.

"Dr. Gooch was just entering upon the career of matured manhood. Possessed of decided talents and unusual energy of character, he had before him the prospects of fame and fortune. As a physician, he had a high appreciation of the dignity and duties of his calling, and was a zealous coworker for the maintenance of its respectability and progress.

"Having spent several years abroad in the prosecution of his professional education, his views were liberal and enlarged. He was a punctual attendant on all conventions of medical men, and labored efficiently for their thorough organization. He was the founder of this journal, and bravely and successfully encountered all the discouragements of a pioneer in that sphere of labor.

"Perhaps his characteristic trait was a bold independent outspeaking of his honest convictions. He sought no advancement or preferment by the arts of the sycophant. Brave, generous, just—possessed of a genial disposition—few men have left behind them fewer enemies or more attached friends."

Thomas Hare
23 West Avenue Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

Sacred to the memory of
Thomas Hare
Who died of yellow fever
Sep. 5, 1855
Aged 55 years.

Lot Owner: Mrs. Mears & A. A. Gwaltney

March 13, 1856 - Southern Argus

On the Death of Mr. Thomas Hare

O! Why should we mourn when the Christian departs?
Why over him weep with disconsolate hearts?
He has gone but to enter the mansions above,
To join the bright throng in anthems of joy.

His warfare is ended, his victory is won,
His conflicts are over, his labors are done;
He has fought the good fight, and had gone to receive
The crown that awaits him and "all that believe."

His face on the watch tower no more shall we see,
"The captive" no more will he urge to be free;
For his voice, it is hushed, its murmurs are o'er,
And the sinner and saint can he warn now no more.

But his counsels we cherish–we honor his name–
His piety glowing–so fervent its flame.
His tears for the "mourner" when burdened with grief
His joy as he saw him obtaining relief.

And oh! As we stand and gaze at his tomb
And feel our sad hearts overburdened with gloom,
Yet the hope of the gospel enlivens our fears
And we wipe from our eyes the fast flowing tears.

For the dead from their graves, at the summons shall rise,
And the saints by the angels be borne to the skies,
And array'd in white robes by their Savior divine
Forever as stars in the firmament shine! H. A. D.

Dr. George I. Halson
8-2nd Alley West Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

George I. Halson, M. D.
Born October 4, 1817
Died September 2, 1855
A devoted son, an affectionate brother
A faithful friend, an upright citizen
A skillful physician, a true Christian
He nobly sacrificed himself in saving others
from the ravages of the pestilence.

Lot Owner: George Halson

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 243-244.

Dr. Geo. I. Halson was one of those who, knowing his duty, had the courage to stand at his post, and with the heroism of gallant soldiery in his profession, did he labor day and night to relieve the suffering of his fellow-citizens. His physical strength was inadequate to the task necessarily imposed upon him in the condition of things in our devoted city. He was among the first in the profession to take the disease: the worst fears of his friends and relatives soon became a reality. He fell a speedy victim, after bearing the sufferings of his malady with the resignation and submission of a true Christian. He was about thirty-seven years of age.

From his early boyhood to the time of his death he displayed such qualities of heart and mind as to endear to him a large circle of friends. His moral and scholastic education was conducted by his father with the utmost care. The progress [244] and promise of an only boy made glad the heart of his aged parent, who felt justly proud of such a son.

He read medicine in the office of Dr. W. B. Selden, where his fidelity as a student won the warm regard of his preceptor. His professional education was completed in Philadelphia. After taking his diploma, he remained as a resident physician in the Blockley Hospital for eighteen months, thereby securing all the advantages which that great school could give.

He practiced medicine in this city fifteen years, during which time his attention and skill won the confidence and regard of his patients and none enjoyed the respect and esteem of his brother physicians more than he. His high tone and sense of professional courtesy were acknowledged by all who knew him. He was incapable of any violation of professional etiquette. His conduct was a code of medical ethics. His morality was proverbial, yet he had a claim still higher in being a consistent Christian—having united himself to the Protestant-Episcopal church in the spring of 1851.

His death is a great affliction to his aged mother who loved him with all the devotion and pride due a good, affectionate and noble son.

Norfolk Directory, for 1851-52.

Halson, Dr. Geo. off. E. Main, r. 31 Bermuda

St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Norfolk, VA.

A brother to a devoted sister
Anne P. B. Herron
A native of Ireland
Died 27th Sept. 1855
Requiescat in pace.


From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 262 and 263.

MISS ANN P. B. HERRON was one among the brightest and purest of those who were wrecked in the common ruin of hopes in our late afflictive visitation. Her works live after her; and the memory of her exalted character and her self-sacrificing spirit, her Christianity and charity, constitutes a monument endeared to the hearts of thousands who felt and prized her worth.

"No one could have left the miasmatic hold with more convenience than Miss Herron. Possessed of a noble fortune, and of a refined nature, she had every incentive to participate in the attractions which are presented to the taste and fancy, in more populous portions of our country; but with the united firmness and benevolence which were her characteristics, she decided to remain amidst desolation and disease, though the sky was laden with portents of her fate. Miss H. was a Roman Catholic."

[263] The following extract is from a touching letter, written by one who well knew her rare virtues. "We will not mar its beauty by any other remarks than to call for its careful perusal by the reader:

"It seems as if God demanded the purest victims, the noblest of his creatures, in these dismal days of sacrifice. Alas! I had so confided in his considerate mercies, so fondly clung to the merits of that excellent heart, which, through long years, had served him well, that I could not persuade myself that he would recall from earth, which she sanctified and adorned, our dear Ann Herron. And now, when the reality of her death stares me in the face, I am stunned by the unexpected blow, and seem bereft of power to think and feel as I ought. Oh! it is a very sad visitation! I know that she has merited and received a very great reward in Heaven. Therefore, it is not for her I mourn. But for the friendless, the poor, the fatherless, the timid, the pusillanimous whom she protected, succored, edified, and strengthened; ah! these are the objects of my compassion; these are the true sufferers whose lot is to be deplored."

Dr. Francis Lynch Higgins.

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, p. 429 and 430.

. . . This young physician fell a victim to the yellow fever at Norfolk, where he was born. His practice there was large. On Wednesday, August 22d, the day on which he was taken with the fell fever, he had seen one hundred and ten patients. After an attack of very severe illness, he became convalescent. On the 31st ult, he left Norfolk to join his family in Philadelphia, with the fond hope that pure air would give him new strength and health to return to the field of his labors, and the scene of his usefulness. But the exertions made in the eagerness to regain that strength and health, with the sad news of the death of a beloved brother in the midst of the plague, produced a relapse. On Tuesday, the 4th instant, he was again prostrated. He said that his symptoms were such that he must die, naming Saturday as the day when he would cease to live; and notwithstanding the constant exertions and attentions of his brother-in-law, Dr. Lajus, and Dr. La Roche, his prediction was too correct. On the evening of Saturday the 8th instant, about 7-1/4 o'clock, in the presence of his family, and in the arms of his brothers, he breathed his last. He was much loved, and will long be lamented.—Pennsylvania Inquirer.

Rev. William Jackson

Monument in Elmwood Cemetery
Memorial Window in St. Paul's Church, Norfolk, VA

In memory of Rev. William M. Jackson
Born in Baltimore, Md., October 10, 1809
Died in Norfolk, Va., October 5, 1855
Falling amidst the horrors of an unprecedented pestilence, he was indefatigable
in ministering to the sick, comforting the distressed and encouraging the dying
and burying the dead. He was faithful in all the relations of life and
died a martyr to his zeal in his Master's cause. True religion undefiled
before God and the Father in this to visit the fatherless and
widowed in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the
world. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea,
saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours and their
works do follow them.
Erected to the memory of their beloved pastor by the congregation of
St. Paul's Church, Norfolk, Va.

Lot Owner: Dr. Jackson

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 221-222.

The Rev. William M. Jackson, Rector of St. Paul's Church, was numbered a victim of the dread fever. 'Mid the blossom of his holy labors, he died, conquering a deathless name upon the field of pestilence; and over his tomb the tears of the church and of the community have been shed. It is the dear privilege of the writer to offer a feeble tribute to his memory; to the memory of him, the beloved pastor, who, as a [221] minister of the Gospel of Christ—a title which no rank ennobles, no treasure enriches—stood forth undisguised by anything of this world's decoration, resting all temporal, all eternal hope, on his sacred labors, his talents, his attainments, and his piety—the highest honor, as well as the most imperishable treasures of the man of God. Rich the inheritance of his spotless reputation! Pious the example, it testifies; pure, precious, and imperishable the hope which it inspires.

"By the death of this distinguished servant of Christ, the Diocese of Virginia—the Church in Norfolk city especially—sustained a sad, severe, and, to human view, an irreparably loss; and although, over his very sepulchre, where corruption sits enthroned upon the merit it has murdered, a voice is heard vindicating the ways of Providence, and proving that even in its worst adversity there is a might and immortality in virtue, yet it is a privilege to mourn over our sad bereavement; and to record on the innermost shrine of our hearts, the memory and worth of the departed."

"Soldier of God! thy conflict's o'er, thy Captains voice obeyed,
And now, the conqueror's crown for thee, mid angel bands displayed;
The victor's palm within thy hand, the wreath upon thy brow—

The suffering one of earth, we feel, is Heaven's blest one now!"Mr. Jackson was the pastor of honored "Old St. Paul's;" but, when the demon of pestilence had stalked into our city, he did not confine his active labors to those specially under his charge. When the sustaining hand of the holy father in God was wanted, he did not ask "to whose church" the lone sufferer might belong. It was enough for him that he was needed, whether by saint or sinner.

Samuel Lightfoot
4-3rd Alley East Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

Sacred to the memory of
Samuel Lisle Lightfoot
Second son of
Dr. Samuel Lightfoot
Born 1839
Died Sept. 22, 1855

Lot Owner: Francis Robinson

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, page 112.

Samuel Lightfoot, son of the late Dr. Lightfoot, aged sixteen, is also among the dead—an estimable, intelligent, gentle youth, comely in person and amiable in character, the prop of his affectionate mother, widowed but a few weeks ago. She and his fond sisters, whose pride and joy he was, gathered around his youthful form, as it lay still and pale in the cold arms of death, and a scene of the most intensely painful and heartrending interest was witnessed.

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852 & Norfolk Register of Deaths (1855)

[Father] Lightfoot, Dr. S. L., inspector of the customs, r. 10 Amelia. The Norfolk Register of Deaths (for yellow fever) lists (#333): ___ Lightfoot, occupation physician, death on August 16th, 1855. No tombstone has been found for Dr. Lightfoot but it is safe to assume he is buried near his son in Cedar Grove.

January 17, 1856, Southern Argus

Mechanical Benevolence Society Obituary Memorial
In Honor of members deceased in 1855.

In the progress of the dreadful pestilence which swept through our city during the months of August and September, of the year 1855, it was the will of an Almighty Providence that it should number among its victims the following much esteemed and respected members of our Association:

James M. Brooks, who died Sept. 1st
Norfolk City Directory 1851-1852: Brooks, Jas. plasterer & slater, r. 2 N. Granby
(middle initial not given)

James M. Brooks (1809-1855)
4 West Avenue Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

In memory of James M. Brooks
who died Sep. 1, 1855,
in the 46th year of his age.
Farewell! We meet no more On this side of heaven.
The parting scene is past. The last sad look is given.
Farewell, My soul will weep, While memory lives
From wounds that sink so deep, No earthly hand relieve.
Farewell! My stricken heart To Jesus flies,
From him I'll never part, On Him my hope relies.
Farewell! And shall er meet in Heaven above.

Lot Owner: Lewis Salusbury

* * * * * *

Wm. P. Burnham, who died Sept. 5th
Norfolk City Directory, 1851-1852: Burnham, Wm. P. brickmason, 48 N. Cumberland

William P. Burnham (1815-1855)
24-2nd Alley East, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

William P. Burnham
Died Sept. 5, 1855
in his 40th year.

Lot Owner: John Harrison

* * * * * *

Wm. D. Delany, who died Sept. 18th
(See other entry for Delaney in Memorials)

* * * * * *

Robt. Dalrymple, who died Oct. 3d
Norfolk City Directory for 1851-1852: Dalrymple, R. stone mason, 14 E. Widewater,
r. 25 W. Main

Robert Dalrymple
Born in Ayershire, Scotland,
Died at Norfolk, Va.
Oct. 3, 1855.

Wife of Robert Dalrymple
Born in Greenock, Scotland
Died at Norfolk, Va.
Oct. 14, 1855

Lot Owner: Robert Dalrymple

October 5, 1855 - Richmond Dispatch (from correspondence from Norfolk for Oct. 3rd)

Robert Dalrymple, stone mason, and one of our most useful and enterprising men . . .

* * * * * *

Dennis O'Bryan, who died Sept. 2d
Norfolk City Directory for 1851-1852: Two enteries - O'Brien, D upholsterer, 46 S. Ch., and O'Brien, D. cabinet maker, 8 W. Bute [name spelling in question]

* * * * * *
Wm. Reid, who died Sept. 17th
Norfolk City Directory for 1851-1852: Reid, Wm. comm'n merchant, 6 Roanoke Sq.,
r. in Portsmouth

Born March 29, 1808
Died Sept. 21, 1855
Born March 10, 1811
Died Dec'r 10, 1855
Even so, Father, for so seemed good in thy sight.

Lot Owner: George Reid

who were cut down in the prime of life, in the pride of manhood, and in the career of usefulness to their families and the community.

Be it, therefore, Resolved by the Mechanical Benevolent Society, in Annual Meeting assembled, that while bowing with deep humility to the Almighty behest, and penetrated with profound sorrow for the bereavement it has inflicted, this Society deems it a duty and esteems it a privilege to place upon their records the tribute of their unfeigned respect for the memories of their deceased friends and associates, whose characters were illustrated by many excellent traits, and whose virtues and usefulness were exemplified in the relations they sustained as heads of families, as citizens, as mechanics and as members of this Society. In the latter relation it is a melancholy pleasure to the Society to bear witness to their warm-hearted and generous sensibilities, which held them to their associated brethren in the ties of sympathy and a fellowship of mutual kindness and good will.

Resolved, that as a further mark of the respect which the Society entertains for the deceased, the members thereof will wear the customary badge of mourning for one month.

Resolved, that JNO. G. COLLEY, a member of this Society, who died on the 28th day of July, but not of the prevailing epidemic, be included in these testimonials of respect and sorrow.

Resolved, that this memorial of the deceased members of 1855 be entered on the journal of the Society, and a copy thereof, signed by the President and Secretary be presented to the family of each.

Committee: T. G. Broughton, W. H. Hunter, Chas. S. Allmand.

Charles Myers
Lot 162, Avenue 3, Old 45, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA

Sacred to the memory of
Chas. S. Myers
who departed this life
Aug. 25, 1855
aged 59 years.

Owner: C. S. Myers

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

"one of the oldest natives of Portsmouth and of sterling integrity"

Richard H. Parker, M. D.
Oak Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA.
Lot 142, East Side, Avenue C between 3rd & 4th Streets

Died August 10, 1855
Lot Owner: John Burnett Barrett

Report of the Portsmouth Relief Association, Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, page 167,

"Dr. Richard H. Parker was the first physician who fell a victim to the fever. Advanced in life, and of feeble health, his system could not long withstand the fatigues incident to the arduous labors through which he had to pass, in his attendance on the sick. Very early in the progress of the epidemic he was attacked by it, and died on the 10th of August. Dr. Parker was from North Carolina, originally, and had resided in Portsmouth but a few years, in which time he had established himself in a good practice, and attached to himself a large circle of friends. In disposition he was kind and affectionate, and as a physician, attentive and devoted to the duties of his profession. For many years he was in communion with the Methodist Church, and so continued up to the period of his death.

"Dr. Parker left behind him a large and interesting family, to mourn the loss of their sole protector and support."

September 28, 1875, Norfolk Landmark

Dr. George W. Peete

A correspondent of the Tribune, writing from Galveston, informs us of the burial by the Masonic fraternity and a large concourse of citizens of the late Dr. George W. Peete on the evening of the 23 inst. It was already known that he had been swept away by the terrific tornado and flood which recently visited that city.

Dr. Peete was a native of Southampton county, and having graduated, he entered the Navy of the United States. After several years' service, and shortly subsequent to his marriage, he resigned his commission and practiced his profession in his native county. From Southampton he removed to Portsmouth, where he resided for several years.

The people of Portsmouth have cause to remember him with gratitude. During the pestilence of 1855 he was an active member of the Portsmouth Relief Association, and during the prevalence of that fearful scourge was an efficient co operater with the other members in ministering relief and alleviating the sufferings of the sick and destitute. He was a Christian gentleman, a man of large heart; affable, courteous, and of deep sympathetic promptings; kind, generous and benevolent; he was warm in his attachments, and interested in whatever concerned the weal or woe of his fellow man.

Some years ago Doctor Peete settled in Galveston where he was appointed by the city authorities to the responsible function of health officer. In this position his efficiency became conspicuous and his professional reputation enlarged. The sanitary measures which he introduced were successful in ridding the city of those annual visitations of the yellow fever which tended much to retard the growth and mar its prosperity. These he had near at heart and earnestly desired to promote, deeming that such a service would be the best return he could make to a people by whom he had been so kindly cherished and honored. As a promotive of the health of Galveston, he had in contemplation a system of street paving, and from time to time wrote brief articles for the press of the city in order the more generally to attract the public attention to so important a subject.

When in the United States Navy he stood deservedly well among the members of that intelligent corps of the public service, and in his practice, after resigning his commission, he was highly esteemed as the family physician. In the sick room his sympathy manifested itself prominently.

Such, in brief, were the main characteristics of the deceased, though so imperfectly presented. The people of Portsmouth, however, will appreciate our in memoriam, and cordially unite in cherishing the memory of one, who, in a fearful period of desolation and death, remained with them, and was among the foremost in devising effective measures to alleviate the sufferings of their sick and dying, and soothing their pathway to the grave. H. W.

Church Register, Christ Church, 1864.

Maria J. Riley

Maria J. Riley, died June 24, 1864. She was a faithful nurse in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1855 and a member of old Christ Church.

Frederick C. Roberts (1818-1855)
William D. Roberts (1812-1855)
31-4th Alley West Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

Frederick C. Roberts
Who died Aug. 24, 1855
Aged 38 years.
Friend nor . . . would not save
My mortal body from the grave
Nor can they . . .
When Christ my judge bids me . . .


Sacred to the memory of
William D. Roberts
Who departed this life on the 7th day of Sep. 1855, aged 43 years.
He filled many offices of trust conferred on him by the people of the city
and was at the time of death delegate elect to the Legislature of the state.
In short he was the noblest work of God, an honest man. May he rest in peace.
This monument was erected to him by his friend Daniel S. Cherry
who will ever bear him in remembrance.
In the midst of this his usefulness was he cut down by the terrible
epidemic that was then raging here. He fell martyr to . . . cause of humanity
enduring all the sufferings of his fellow citizens. In his death society has
lost a citizen, the poor and the needy a devoted friend, all mourn the
loss of such a man.

Lot Owner: Wm. D. Roberts

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 266 and 267.

Among the many valuable citizens who had contributed by their industry, their enterprise, and their means, to the prosperity of Norfolk, and who were swept away in the whirlwind of the pestilence, Wm. D. Roberts, jr., was one of the most prominent. Bred to a mechanical occupation, he began the world with no other resources than those which sprung from his own native energy and perseverance, directed by a strong mind, a sagacious judgment, and strict moral principle. Upon these, however, he soon laid the foundation of success, and, ere he passed the meridian of life, had completed the superstructure of an ample fortune. Yet he never practiced a niggard economy in his acquisition of wealth, but showed, by his many acts of private generosity and public spirit, that he had a noble and a generous heart, that was a stranger to all narrow and sordid impulses. His fellow-citizens saw his merits, and honored him with their confidence in various public trusts in the affairs of the city, in which he took an active and a useful part." At the time of his death he was the member elect, for this city, of the Virginia House of Delegates. [267] His age was forty-seven. He was a man of strong and active frame, and of fine constitution. On his death-bed he bequeathed to his aged mother all his stocks, amounting to a handsome interest, besides $300 per annum during her life-time, and two new buildings. To an only-surviving brother, (Another brother, Thomas, who was a partner in business, having died of the fever.) he gave $1000 per annum; to the Norfolk Female Orphan Asylum, four three-story brick buildings, and an interest (in remainder) in another valuable dwelling on one of the principal streets. To his surviving partner, Mr. D. S. Cherry, he gave a large and handsome warehouse and lot on Roanoke Square, all his interest in a valuable stock of goods, and all debts due the firm. To Mr. Sol. S. Cherry, who ministered to him in his illness, he gave a valuable warehouse and lot, and to the journeymen in the employment of the firm, a valuable house and lot.

Norfolk City Directory for 1851-1852:

Roberts, Wm. D., jr., stove depot and tin plate manufactory, 7 W. Widewater, corner Roanoke Square, boards at City Hotel.

Robert T. Scott
Oak Grove (Portlock) Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA
Lot 185 East of Avenue C between 4th & 5th streets

In memory of
Robert T. Scott
Who departed this life
Sept. 9, 1855
Aged 43 years and 2 months.
Owner: Robert Scott, Jr.

From THE REPORT OF THE PORTSMOUTH ASSOCIATION. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, pages 177 and 178.

Robert T. Scott, a member of the Common Council, was one of the most active and efficient laborers in the cause of humanity during the fearful times of which we have been writing. He was a native citizen of the town, of long standing, and had, by his upright course of life and kindness of heart, acquired the confidence and esteem of a large circle of friends. Although not an educated man, he possessed a mind remarkable for its vigor, and could, when opportunities offered, use his pen with much force. Anxious to alleviate the miseries inflicted upon his fellow townsmen by the raging of the epidemic, he resolved to maintain his ground and battle with it. The post of duty assigned him was the superintendence of the provision store, opened for the purpose of dispensing food and nourishment to the needy and hungry; in which responsible position he remained, to the satisfaction of all until the time arrived for him to lie down and die. His attack was sudden, and the crisis came on in a very few days. He died in the first week of September, leaving a large family to mourn over the melancholy fate which overtook him in the midst of his career of usefulness. After the death of Mr. Scott, the store was placed in charge of Mr. Darien P. Daughtrey, a most worthy and amiable man, who was desirous of exerting himself for the public good. He had scarcely began his labor of love, when he too was called to his final resting place. He died on the 16th day of September, leaving eight helpless and destitute children, who had but a few days before been called upon to lament the loss, of their mother.

Dr. Henry Selden
6-2nd Alley West Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, pp. 425-427.

Of the many valuable and noble men whose lives have been sacrificed during the late epidemic of Norfolk and Portsmouth, there is no one who more deserves this tribute of respect than the subject of our memoir. Affection and duty alike prompt us to the task, and brief and simple as is our memorial, unworthy of the high moral and intellectual qualities of the lamented dead, we offer it as a last token of the love and respect which those who knew him, will ever cherish for his memory.

Dr. Henry Selden was the son of the late Dr. William B. Selden, who for fifty years, ranked among the first physicians of Norfolk.

He was carefully educated by the late Rev'd George Halson, the father of his friend Dr. George Halson, who preceded him to the grave but a few weeks. His education was completed at the University of Virginia, which he left with the reputation of a ripe scholar. His fine mathematical attainments and great mechanical ingenuity led him to turn his attention to engineering, but the sudden stoppage of all the public works in 1839 compelled him to abandon a profession for which he was admirably adapted.

He at once commenced the study of medicine as a pupil of Dr. Gerhard, where he acquired an accurate knowledge of pathology and diagnosis, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1841. After remaining for eighteen months as an interne of Blockley hospital, where clinical instruction was carried to great perfection by Drs. Gerhard, Pennock and others, Dr. Selden went to Paris, there devoted three years to the study of his profession, and entered upon the practice of medicine in the year 1846, having made himself by his long and patient course of study, one of the most accomplished physicians of our state. Associated with his father and elder brother Dr. William Selden, he soon obtained the confidence of the public and the esteem and respect of his brethren. The highest sense of honor always guided him in his professional intercourse, and that retiring and unassuming modesty which always accompanies true merit, was a marked feature in his character.

His constitution was delicate, and during the last spring his health was so feeble, that he had determined to seek in the mountains of Virginia, that rest which his failing powers required. But when the yellow fever appeared in his city, he at once stood firm at the post of duty and honor, and determined to devote himself to the relief of his suffering fellow citizens, well knowing that his own life might be the sacrifice. For two months, he battled with the pestilence, whilst one after another fell around him. His brother sickened with the fever, his friend from boyhood, Dr. Halson, to whom he was much attached, died in spite of his earnest and affectionate efforts to save him from the grasp of the disease; his only surviving and much loved sister sunk rapidly into the grave; his eldest child and only daughter followed the many loved ones to the silent tomb, whilst his two remaining children were seized with the disease. Human nature could bear up no longer, and worn down with the incessant labours of the past two months, crushed and lacerated in his tenderest feelings and sympathies, he yielded to the entreaties of his friends, and as soon as his children could be moved, he went to Hampton—to die. The fever had already marked him as its victim, and there was nothing of physical or moral strength left to offer any resistance. The attack was not violent. Dr. Semple of Hampton watched him assiduously; his friend Dr. Ravenel of Charleston, and his brother Dr. Wm. Selden, who had been for some days in Richmond slowly recovering from an attack of the same fever, hastened to his bedside. All was in vain, and on the morning of October 3d, the fifth day of his disease, he sank calmly and quietly to rest, retaining his intellect almost to the last, and displaying the most wonderful calmness and composure during the progress of his disease. It was his first visit to the old residence of his paternal grandfather, and where his father more than eighty years ago drew his first breath, he breathed his last. He left Norfolk, having a presentiment of death, and met it with the same heroic fortitude and calm courage, which he displayed during the whole epidemic.

In the death of Henry Selden, the profession has sustained a great loss. As a physician, he was noted for his skill in diagnosis and judicious management of disease. In him, an accurate and extensive knowledge was united with a clear judgment, and a cool and calm intellect. His views were often original, and almost always right. His mechanical dexterity and calm temperament alike fitted him especially for surgery, and in a larger field, he would have acquired in this branch of his profession, a well-deserved reputation. The whole community will regret his loss, but to the poor it will be most distressing; his kind heart and gentle manners had especially endeared him to all who needed his aid, and they feel that they have now lost not only a skillful physician, but a charitable and thoughtful friend.

True and honest as a man, unselfish and affectionate in every relation of life, all who knew Henry Selden loved him truly and permanently. We have never known a man who had so many devoted friends. They are scattered over the whole country, from Boston to New Orleans, and the news of his death will sadden the hearts of many who have been with him at college, and in study; by the hospital bedside, or in the well remembered days of European travel. He has fallen in his early prime, being just 38 years of age; ere he had hardly reached his greatest term of usefulness; a sacrifice to the high dictates of honor, and the stern sense of duty. He leaves those who mourn him, nothing to regret, save his loss.

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Selden, Dr. H., bds. at Mrs. Emmerson's, 53. Main, near Ch.

Dr. Richard W. Silvester
5-1st Alley West Elmwood, 3rd from North Line, West Row

In memory of
Born May 1, 1801
Died August 16, 1855
L. E. Silvester
Born Jan'y 16, 1803
Died Sept. 10, 1855

Lot Owner: Dr. R. W. Silvester

January 23, 1856, Southern Argus


Neither the rich nor the poor, the learned nor the unlettered, the old nor the young, the good nor the vicious, the strong nor the feeble, could claim exemption from the dread scourge with which we have been lately visited. No class of society suffered more severely than that to which he whose honored name heads this notice belonged. With the valor of a true soldier, he was ever ready to sacrifice his life in the holy cause in which he was engaged. Knowing the high responsibilities of his vacation, he was ever ready to meet them; and though history may not record his name among those who have valiantly fallen in his country's cause, yet he nobly died, battling with an unseen enemy, not that he might wear the victor's wreath, but what is far nobler that he might relieve the suffering, and snatch from death's embrace his fellow man.

What nobler cause could engage his high powers? What more enobling than to die, not in the defense of our land, our fire-sides, or families, but in the great work in which the lamented Silvester fell.

Dr. R. W. Silvester was born in Princess Anne county in the year 1801, and received his academic education in Norfolk, in which city he studied medicine under Drs. Fernandez and Andrews with great zeal and success and after attending the lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, entered upon the practice of his profession in Norfolk county admirably prepared to discharge its high and varied responsibilities. Here he rapidly acquired a high professional reputation, and won in an extraordinary degree the affection and confidence of the entire community for a circle of many miles. After a practice of eighteen years of great labor and success in the country, he was induced to abandon his large and lucrative business in consequence of declining health, which had suffered severely from constant exposure in a miasmatic district. He removed to Norfolk to regain his health, and to educate his children in the best schools which the city allowed, and resumed his professional practice in the year eighteen hundred and forty-three.

His was a character pure and unselfish, gentle and amiable—constant in his attachments, and inflexible in the discharge of duties. As might have been expected from one of his exalted worth, when the recent epidemic made it appearance in our midst, he did not abandon his post, but went where duty called, and nobly fell, leaving a widow and six children to mourn their loss.

But alas, his widow and two of his sons were not allowed to sorrow long. In a short time after his death, his son William, who had just reached manhood, and who was remarkable for his lovely character, his varied, extensive and accurate attainments, fell a victim to the same malady. Dr. Richard J. Silvester, the oldest son, by nature delicate and frail, and worn down by fatigue and distress in the death of his father, and the approaching dissolution of his brother, could hold out no longer against accumulating afflictions—and after a feeble resistance yielded to the disease.

He was born in Norfolk county in 1828; his education was conducted with great care in Norfolk, at F. W. Coleman's and at the University of Virginia, where he attained great distinction for his acquirements, not only in the classics, but also in the sciences —especially in pure mathematics—in which we have been assured by his associates that he had very few equals. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in the spring of 1854, and immediately entered upon the practice of his profession, in which he gave abundant promise of distinction. He, too, like his father, fell a victim to that high sense of professional duty and honor that would not suffer him to desert his post in time of danger.

His mother, weighed down by the accumulated afflictions with which an All-wise Providence had seen fit to visit this devoted family, was seized with the fever a few days after his attack, and only survived him one day. Thus, in a fearfully brief period were four members of this interesting family swept from time to eternity.

The unwavering devotion and earnest solicitude with which the four were watched and nursed by a young lady of 15 years of age, the only surviving member of the family who was in town, was one of the most intensely interesting spectacles to which the epidemic gave rise. Such devotion and attention displayed a strength and beauty of character rarely witnessed in maturer life, and give evidence of an affection worthy of the warmest admiration and emulation. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, p. 431.

Dr. Sylvester.—It is our melancholy duty to record the death of Dr. R. W. Sylvester, one of our most eminent physicians, and a membe of the newly appointed Board of Health. He expired at 11 o'clock yesterday morning, after an illness of six days, of the fever, aged 54 years.

Dr. S. was formelry a resident of Norfolk county, but has resided in this city for many years past. He was one of the best men in every relation of life, and is a great loss not only to his family, but to our community.—Norfolk Herald.

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Silvester, Dr. R. W., office 20 W. Main, r. 7 S. Granby

Dr. John W. H. Trugien
Lot 150, Avenue B, Oak Grove (Portlock) Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA.

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, p. 430.

The death of this young physician is one of the most lamentable that has taken place in Portsmouth. He had been very successful in his treatment of fever. He showed not only a great deal of humanity in his attentions to the afflicted, but devoted himself to them with an indefatibable zeal, and physical endurance, which astonished all familiar with his movements. He was only 28 years old, was a young man of great promise and was remarkable for the kindness and piety of his disposition. We know not how better to communicate an idea of his invaluable services, and those of the late mayor of Norfolk, than by the following anecdote. An Irishman from Norfolk came in the Dispatch counting-room the day that these two lamented persons were reported to be sick, to enquire what was the news from his city. Upon being informed that they along with others, were down with the fever, he lifted up his hands, and exclaimed: "If Dr. Trugien and Mayor Woodis dies, thin good bye Norfolk and Portsmouth!" The look of despair with which the simple hearted laborer expressed himself, gave great force to his exclamation. It is a consolation that there are others left who are devoting themselves with a heroism that is deserving of the highest eulogy, to the relief of the destitute and the sick; but the deeds of Woodis and Trugien will live as long as there is anything known of the ravages of yellow fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth.—Richmond Dispatch.

Dr. John Schoolfield of Portsmouth, writes thus to the Petersburg Express, in relation to the death of Dr. Trugien, published by us yesterday:

"The sad task devolves upon me of announcing the death of our dear friend, Dr. J. W. H. Trugien, who though still breathing, cannot survive but a few minutes; I was summoned at 2 o'clock, A. M., to see the last of him; but his brain was, and is still so oppressed that he has not recognised me. During his lucid moments he expressed his full preparation for the change, and his perfect resignation to the will of God.

"Truly has a good man fallen. But I will not now attempt to write his eulogy. At some other occasion, I may express my views of his character, which was such that it deserves more than a common newspaper epitaph.

"He worked at the oar until he fell! to use his words in a letter to the Express. After an exhausting day's work on Thursday last, he sat up all night with a sick friend, and on Friday complained slightly. I immediately took him to the hospital, where he was doing well until Sunday night, when he was seized with apopletic convulsions, which were partially relieved by free bleeding. Since then he has been gradually sinking—I have not the heart to say more."

From THE REPORT OF THE PORTSMOUTH ASSOCIATION. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson's Steam Power Presses, 1856, pages 167-171.

The death of Dr. John W. H. Trugien, on the morning of the 29th of August, at the United States Naval Hospital, after an illness of five days, produced an intense sensation throughout the community, and excited in every heart the liveliest sympathy for his family, thus sadly bereaved, by the loss of so kind a husband and father. In the morning of life, buoyant with bright hopes of future usefulness and honor, he fell, a martyr to his noble efforts and sacrifices for the relief of his afflicted fellow townsmen. An intimacy, cemented by long years of close association, entitles us to speak confidently of his character.

Dr. Trugien was born in Portsmouth, on the seventh day of February, 1827, and was the only surviving son of Edward and Ann Trugien. His deportment from his childhood was so exemplary, as to justify his friends in predicting for him a career alike useful to society and honorable to himself. Modest and retiring in his bearing, he seldom mingled in the rude sports in which the younger generation so much delight; but preferred, rather, to spend his time in the cultivation of his mind, by reading and close study. The medical profession, presenting, as it did so fine a field for the exercise of the more noble sentiments and impulses of his nature, possessed for him peculiar attractions, and he often expressed a strong desire to embrace it. His parents, though moving in an humble sphere, with limited means, determined to gratify his cherished wish. In order to effect this, they availed themselves of the best schools within reach, where, by close application and hard study, his acquirements were such, before the close of his eighteenth year, that he was enabled to enter upon the prosecution of his favorite design. His moral and blameless course of life, and his attention to his scholastic duties, won for him the friendship and respect of his teachers. The pecuniary situation of his father being such as to preclude him from a collegiate education, he at once placed him as a student in the office of Dr. J. N. Schoolfield, with whom he remained for four years, diligently and systematically devoting his whole energies to the acquisition of medical knowledge. Having a mind of an analytical cast, he did nothing superficially, but thoroughly investigated and mastered every subject to which his attention was directed. In 1847 and 1848 he attended a course of lectures in the University of Maryland, and another course in the University of Pennsylvania during the succeeding winter, at which latter institution he graduated in 1849.

On obtaining his diploma, Dr. Trugien settled in his native town, and became a candidate for practice, and so continued until the time of his death. With his talents and character there was no doubt as to his success; and in a very few years he had fully established himself, and secured a very large share of the practice of the community. As a physician, no one had a better reputation, nor enjoyed in a more eminent degree the confidence of the public. He was attentive in his duties to his patients, and exhausted the resources of the healing art in his efforts to relieve them; and they, in turn, were devoted to him. At the breaking out of the fever a large number of the first cases came under his charge, particularly of those among the destitute denizens of Irish Row. He was prompt and assiduous in his attendance upon them, and frequently, when there was no one to take care of them, or procure medicines or nourishment for them, he remained until he could send his servant and carriage for that purpose. His labors were of the most arduous description, and rendered doubly so before the epidemic had reached its climax, by the illness of several of his brother practitioners. Frail and delicate as was his frame, he himself expressed astonishment at his powers of endurance. The rising sun found him on his daily rounds, and he had not finished the labors of the day until long after the approach of night. For six long weeks he was enabled to pursue this course of life, exposed constantly in those parts of the town most infected by the fever, free from its attack. But he was not destined to enjoy this exemption longer. On the 23d of August, he visited and prescribed for over one hundred sick people! and then remained all night with a young friend ill with the fever, and did not quit her until her spirit had plumed its flight to a brighter world. He complained, on reaching home, of great fatigue, attributing it to the exhausting labors of the preceding day. He was immediately conveyed to the hospital, which he reached in a cheerful state of mind, and put to bed. For two or three days he seemed to be doing well, and no unpleasant symptoms appeared until the night of the 26th, when he was seized with violent congestion of the brain, accompanied by convulsions, and only prevented from dying by the most prompt and decided means. In a short time consciousness returned, and at intervals his mind was lucid. He clearly apprehended his precarious situation, and made some suggestions in regard to its cause and treatment, and expressed the belief that his case would terminate in death. In this most trying hour his calmness and composure were remarkable. For the sake of his little children he said he desired to live, but not having procrastinated his preparation for another world, he expressed his firm reliance upon the merits of his Redeemer, and his complete submission to the will of God!

For a day or two he seemed to rally, and his numerous friends were not without hope of his ultimate recovery. In this they were doomed to disappointment. On Tuesday night, August 28th, the cerebral congestion returned, and before midnight his intellect became clouded, and he sank into a deep stupor, from which he was never aroused. It was a pitiable sight to see one so young and gifted, passing away from earth, and friends, and home for ever. Slowly ebbed the sands of life, and at 6 o'clock, of the morning of the 29th, his noble heart ceased to beat.

"The spoiler set
The seal of silence. But there beamed a smile,
So fixed, so holy, from that noble brow,
Death gazed, and loft it there. He dared not steal
The signet ring of heaven."

In all the relations of life Dr. Trugien maintained a most exalted position. He was emphatically a man of principle, inflexibly just in all his transactions. For decision of character and firmness of purpose, he was proverbial. He never resolved without consideration; but when once he had made up his mind as to what was rigid, he never for a moment turned aside to pursue that which was expedient.

Even in his earliest years his morality was most refined; and on the 4th of October, 1845, he made a public profession of religion, and united himself to the Presbyterian Church, of which he was made an Elder March 12th, 1852. In all the benevolent operations connected with his church, he took great interest; and particularly in the Sabbath School, often acting as a teacher, when his professional labors would permit.

The faith which he professed is beautifully illustrated by the annexed extract from a letter written by him two weeks before his death:—

"It is painful to walk our streets. I never felt such a sense of loneliness and melancholy as I did this evening, when I returned from the labors and toils of the day to my own afflicted home. In one of our streets, by no means unfrequented ordinarily, I met not a human being nor living creature, of any kind, and no sound was audible, but the harsh note of the cricket. Oh, how I felt the force of the Psalmist's words, as I thought of God's terrible judgments, "Be still and know that I am God." Truly he has sorely afflicted and tried us, but it was all deserved; and it is a consolation to the true believer, that the same hand can bind up the wounds Himself has made. Oh! Lord, turn away thy wrath from us, and cause thine anger to cease to burn against us."

Dr. Trugien was married December 28, 1852, and left a widow, and two interesting children, who can never appreciate their bereavement. Not so with his wife; for she too well knew how fond and indulgent he was, and how devotedly he was attached to his home and to them.

His remains, accompanied by the members of his family, a number of the citizens and physicians, were committed to the earth on the afternoon of the 29th. The services were most solemn and impressive. The corpse, enclosed in a neat mahogany coffin, was brought from the Hospital, and deposited on the ground, under the shade of the overhanging trees, in the still silence of a summer's day, unbroken, save by the soughing of the wind through the melancholy pines. Here, his pastor, the Rev. Mr. Handy, performed the burial services in a most feeling and appropriate manner, and all eyes were bedewed with tears.

"Self-sacrificing, upright, pure,
Of feeble hope the guide,
With judgment clear, and soul subdued,
And worth without its pride,
The widow, in her lowly cell,
Must long thy loss deplore;
The orphans wait thy step in vain,
Thou comest to them no more.
The path of duty and of zeal,
Who now, like thee, shalt tread?
And deeply for ourselves we mourn
That thou art of the dead. "

Dr. Richard B. Tunstall
14 Main Center, Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

In remembrance of
Richard B. Tunstall
Born May 23d, 1826
Died Sept. 24th, 1855
Aged 29 years.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Lot Owner: R. B. Tunstall

October 30, 1855 - Southern Argus

The Medical Corps—The Late Dr. Richard B. Tunstall

The subject of this notice was one of the many who fell victims of the yellow fever while diligently and constantly engaged at his post during the recent epidemic.

He was a young man when thus suddenly and expectedly cut off in the morning of usefulness; but it needs not grey hairs to give proper weight to character. Even upon the young will moral worth and devotion to the nobler duties of life, bestow a capacity to influence, and a power to charm, which demonstrate that virtue's ways are those in which we should delight to move—onwards and upwards.

Doct. T. after having received a good preparatory education, attended the lectures at the University of Pennsylvania; and so faithfully had he availed himself of the opportunities there offered, that before taking his diploma at that school, he appeared before the Naval Board for the examination of candidates for admission to the medical corps of the U. S. Navy, and passed the examination with credit to himself. He afterwards continued his studies and graduated at the University of Pa., in the spring of 1849.

His first and only cruise was made in the U. S. ship St. Mary's, with Capt. Geo. Magruder, during which he became the special favorite of all the officers and ship's company. The service however did not suite his taste, and he therefore resigned his commission. Finding the profession in his native city crowded, and being anxious to continue his residence in the place where all of his early associations were formed, he entered into association with John R. Ludlow, Esq., in the conduct of the Dispensary; to which he gave such attention as to command the patronage of a large business.

When the yellow fever became epidemic, he sent his wife, daughter of L. T. Waller, Esq., of Jas. City Co. Virginia, with their two children to her father's, and faithfully kept his post to which duty, humanity and heroic inclination called him. It was here he fell. On the 19th of September he was seized with the fever, and died on the 24th, after five days of patient suffering.

As an officer he was loved and respected for the sterling qualities of his character, and his faithful and energetic performance of every duty. As a civilian, he had the warmest personal regard of the citizens of the place where he was born and reared. In his department there was no air of pretension; but there was a simple and dignified candor in his address which like "the window in the breast," gave insight to the promptings of a pure nature.

He had been a consistent member of the Protestant Episcopal church for several years prior to his death, which he met with christian resignation, and the proud consciousness of having faithfully discharged his duty to his fellow man during one of the severest and most appalling epidemics which history records.

* * * * * *

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

Dr. Richard B. Tunstall, the subject of this notice, was one of the many who fell victims of the yellow fever while diligently and constantly engaged at his post during the epidemic.

He was a young man when thus suddenly and unexpectedly cut off in the midst of usefulness; but it needs not gray hairs to give proper weight to character. Even upon the young will moral worth and devotion to the nobler duties of life bestow a capacity to influence, and a power to charm, [246] which demonstrate that virtue's ways are those in which we should delight to move—onwards and upwards.

Dr. Tunstall, after having received a good preparatory education, attended the lectures at the University of Pennsylvania; and so faithfully had he availed himself of the opportunities there offered, that, before taking his diploma at that school, he appeared before the Naval Board for the examination of candidates for admission to the medical corps of the United States Navy, and passed the examination with credit to himself. He afterwards continued his studies, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1849.

His first and only cruise was made in the United States ship St. Mary's, with Captain Geo. Magruder, during which he became the special favorite of all the officers and ship's company. The service, however, did not suit his taste, and he, therefore, resigned his commission. During the fever, he faithfully kept his post, to which duty, humanity, and heroic inclination called him. It was here he fell. On the 19th of September, he was seized with the disease, and died on the 24th, after five days of patient suffering.

As an officer, he was loved and respected for the [247] sterling qualities of his character, and his faithful and energetic performance of every duty. As a civilian, he had the warmest personal regard of the citizens of the place where he was born and reared. In his deportment, there was no air of pretension; but there was a simple and dignified candor in his address, which, like 'the window in the breast,' gave insight to the promptings of a pure nature."

* * * * * *

He had been a consistent member of the Protestant Episcopal church for several years prior to his death, which he met with christian resignation, and the proud consciousness of having faithfully discharged his duty to his fellow man during one of the severest and most appalling epidemics which history records.

Additional paragraph added to the same memorial as above in the Southern Argus on October 30, 1855.

* * * * * *

From REPORT OF THE HOWARD ASSOCIATION OF NORFOLK, VA, Philadelphia: Inquirer Printing Office, 1857., page 47.

A few days only elapse, and again we are called to mourn the loss of another valued member of our fraternity. The death of Dr. Richard Tunstall filled every breast with profoundest grief. The duties which he had assumed, required not only a thorough and practical knowledge of his profession, but a degree of caution and assiduity which but few possess. Faithfully he discharged those duties, till exhausted by his incessant labors, he fell an easy victim of the disease.


Dr. George L. Upshur
5th Alley West Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA.

Sacred to the memory of
Dr. George L. Upshur
Born January 14, 1833
Died September 19, 1855

Lot Owner: Dr. George L. Upshur


Erected by the Masonic Fraternity
of the City of Norfolk
to Perpetuate the Remembrance of the Many Virtues of
their Amiable and Distinguished Brother
who while in the philanthropic discharge of his duties
fell a victim of the devastating scourge of 1855.
Born in Northampton County, Virginia
Jan'y 14, A. L. 5822 A. D. 1822
Died in Norfolk
Sept. 19, A. L. 5855 A. D. 1855
Aged 33 years & 8 mon's.

The Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal, Richmond: John Nowlan, Printer, 1855. Vol. 4, p. 427 and 428.

Died, in Norfolk during the late epidemic of Yellow Fever, George L. Upshur, M. D., aged 35.

All who knew the subject of this notice will unite with us in sincerely lamenting his untimely decease. Endowed with remarkable physical and intellectual activity, habits of great industry, and an honorable desire for professional knowledge and reputation, Dr. Upshur was truly a loss to the profession of our state. Although he had been in practice not more than twelve years, having graduated at the University of Pennsylvania during the session of 1842 and 1843, yet he had, by his untiring energy, and earnest thirst after knowledge, gained a well deserved and honorable position with his professional brethren, setting them an example worthy of imitation.

When the yellow fever made its appearance in "Barry's Row," Dr. Upshur was called at once to see the first cases, and thus it happened that he was for some days, the only physician in Norfolk who witnessed the disease. We may well mourn the more his sad death, when we think how immediately he endeavored to turn his position as physician to the U. S. Marine hospital, and consulting physician to the Julappi hospital, to profitable account, by beginning even in the midst of the terrible scenes passing around him, to take a series of careful notes for future publication.

Having thus been the first in Norfolk to enter upon the fearful contest, Dr. Upshur threw his every energy both of mind and body, into the struggle. The labor which he went through for weeks was indeed immense. His own hospital and that of Julappi, were daily visited by him, and yet so eager was he to exhaust every source of information, that he rarely failed to see the sick in the Marine hospital near Portsmouth, whilst during the whole period his private practice was attended to with his usual regularity and promptness. One by one his professional brethren succumbed beneath the pressure of the labor, and the insidious influences of the infection to which they were constantly exposed. Sylvester, Constable, Halson, Higgins, W. Selden, Briggs were seized with the disease, and still he worked on, and extorted even from the panic stricken people who were hourly expecting their own fate, a noble meed of praise. His friends, at length believed him invulnerable, and proof against the dire poison. At last it came; the fiercer, because so long baulked of its prey, and down to the grave with almost lightning speed it carried this earnest and ever active man. He was calm and firm during his short illness, as he always was in the highest health; prophecied the time of his death; and appointed the hour for his funeral, which he selected so as to suit the convenience of his brethren, whom he desired all, to be around his last resting place.

So died George L. Upshur, a martyr to the science to which he had devoted all the powers of his active intellect, and which he indeed loved with true devotion. In him, this journal has lost an early and constant friend, and our readers will long miss his useful and often original ideas and suggestions. He was to have prepared for our pages a history of this fatal epidemic, and now that he has gone, we know not on whom that important duty can devolve. He also was a frequent contributor to other periodicals, and was always ready to assist in the difficult task of building up our home medical literature. Though young, he has left an honorable name behind him, and hereafter, when we talk of the brave who have fallen victims to the pestilence of Norfolk, many will point with emotion to the tomb of Upshur.

Horatio Nelson Williams
9-4th Alley West Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

In memory of
Horatio Nelson
Son of H. N. & P. S. Williams
Born . . .1848
Died Sept. 11, 1855
Aged 7 years and 6 months

Owner: Mrs. N. H. Williams

From THE REPORT OF THE HOWARD ASSOCIATION OF NORFOLK. Philadelphia: Inquirer Printing Office, 1857., pages 107 and 108.

The other case was a child, Horatio Williams, seven years, son of Mrs. Phoebe Williams, corner of Main and Fayette streets. He was taken sick on the 24th or 25th of June, with sore throat and fever. Visited on the 27th by Dr. Selden. He had well marked diphtherite covering the pharynx and tonsils, with an acrid discharge from the nostrils, and some fever. The fever ceased on the 28th; the diphtherite disappeared the next day; and on the 30th he seemed perfectly well, with the exception of a slight excoriation of the nose from the acrid discharge. He had no fever, a good appetite, and was running about, apparently free from all disease. Discharged.

On the 1st July was taken, at 4 P. M. with fever, with some headache and drowsiness. The fever continued, with increasing drowsiness, until 2 A. M. of the 4th (58 hours) it ceased rather suddenly, leaving him with a cool skin, slow pulse, and very prostrate. The drowsiness, instead of abating with the decline of fever, continued to increase, until by night it amounted to stupor, from which he could not be aroused. During the day there were frequent efforts to vomit, without, however, awaking from his sleep. At 10 P. M. vomited for the first time a little dark matter, the stain of which on the sheet was seen by Dr. S. It resembled the stain of black vomit. During the night he threw up large quantities of dark, half clotted blood, (so described by Mrs. W.,) but which unfortunately was not preserved. Died, without delirium or convulsions, at 5 A. M. of the 5th. The body, examined by Dr. S. [108] at 8, presented no yellowness of skin; and continued perfectly white up to the time of his interment.

This case certainly presented some very suspicious symptoms; yet, if it had occurred at any other time, it would probably have been considered as one of those unaccountable cases of blood poisoning, which are occasionally met with in all climates and at all seasons. Could there have been absorption of some acrid matter from the posterior nares, the seat of the diphtherite? An additional reason for thinking that this was not a case of yellow fever, is, that the child had a mild attack of the fever in 1852. But if it were yellow fever, it could hardly have been from any local cause—1st, because the neighborhood is remarkably clean, well drained and healthy; 2dly, because there was no other case of fever in that neighborhood until the 10th or 15th of August, five or six weeks after the child's death—and it is difficult to imagine that a poison arising from local causes could have been so limited in amount as to affect only one person and no other for six weeks afterwards. The Ben Franklin in quarantine lay about one mile from Mrs. W.'s house, and twelve days before the child was taken with the fatal fever, and six before he was attacked with the diphtherite, passed on her way to Gosport within one-third of a mile from the house. Could a sufficient dose of yellow fever malaria have been blown ashore from her to affect this child? Perhaps future observations of similar cases may throw some light upon this.

Mayor Hunter Woodis
St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Norfolk, VA

Hunter Woodis
Died August 16, 1855
Aged 33 years.

Norfolk Directory for 1851-1852:

Woodis, Capt. Hunter, lawyer, attorney for city, office 44 Bank, r. 19 North Cath.

From THE GREAT PESTILENCE IN VIRGINIA by William S. Forrest. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856, pages 212-215.

The earthly career of His Honor, Mayor Woodis, closed on Sunday morning, August 25th, at half-past eleven o'clock, and a deeper gloom than ever settled over the remaining portion of our population. A darker shade was added to the great sombre pall of sorrow that seemed to enshroud our city, as it were, in its darkening folds. Elsewhere, as well as at home, many a heart was made sad, and many a cheek felt a tear at this melancholy intelligence. Our city lost a friend indeed. He would not spare himself; repose, rest, comfort, health, and even life itself, he sacrificed to the good of his suffering fellow-citizens. Night and day, he was out in almost every part of the city, striving, with the most determined and unyielding perseverance, to alleviate the sorrow and woe of the people; to have the sick attended to, or removed to the hospital, and the wants of the poor supplied. He sought [213] out the sick, the dying, and the dead. He visited the most infected districts , entered the most filthy hovels; stood at the bedside of the diseased; went into the desolate habitations of poverty and distress; relieved the disconsolate inmates, and did all that man could do to lessen the force and power of the desolating scourge that was sweeping off the citizens. But he, too, fell a victim, and the shaft of Death ne'er struck a nobler mark. Deep were the pangs of sorrow that thrilled the hearts of our people.

Hunter Woodis was a gentleman of fine talent and education, a faithful friend, an agreeable companion, an attractive and impassioned speaker, and an able lawyer. In the midst of a career of usefulness, and in the prime of life, he was suddenly cut down. Our people will revere his memory, and mourn for him as one loved and honored—as an officer tried and found faithful; and the best monument to his worth will be the enduring sentiments of love and deep respect enshrined in the hearts of his friends and fellows-citizens.

One of the shafts," wrote Mr. Lee, of the Daily News, "which the King of Terrors has been sending thick and fast among the good, the gifted, and the beautiful of our ill-fated city, has at length pierced [214] the heart of one whose loss is a public as well as a private calamity, and will be deeply felt, deeply mourned by every heart capable of a throb of sympathy for philanthropy and heroism. Our noble and beneficent Mayor is dead—Hunter Woodis, around whose memory will cluster the admiration and regret of his fellow-citizens, and whose enduring monument—loftier and firmer than sculptured column or painted dome—will be the tribute of esteem and reverence which living witnesses delight to pay to deceased worth and virtue.

"From the commencement of the dread disease, which is fast filling the grave-yards with tenants, up to this last and splendid trophy of its triumphant ravages, Hunter Woodis was indefatigable in his exertions to afford succor and hope to the poor, the sick and the dying. Not content with performing the mere duties of his office, he was everywhere where the least chance existed of doing good, and ever prompt at the faintest call for relief. Once before, overcome with fatigue and anxiety, he was forced to cease awhile from his labors of love, and the whole community then stood aghast, fearful he had been stricken. But hardly two days elapsed, before he assumed the arduous and self-sacrificing duties in the discharge of which he has fallen a [215] victim, alas! but a victim crowned with flowers of perennial bloom and fragrance."

He was confessedly bold, energetic, intelligent, and affable. During his service as Mayor, the condition of the city, in all its departments, would favorably compare with that of any preceding administration. The Police Department was controlled with vigor and vigilance; the sanitary regulations of the town effectively enforced; a wholesome supervision was exercised over all the various branches of our municipal matters; and, in addition thereto, the business of the Hastings Court, in which so many of our citizens are immediately interested, was presided over with a degree of intelligence, decision and dignity, that elicited the applause of all concerned in the transactions of that tribunal.