Transcribed and compiled by Donna Bluemink
(Used with permission of the Virginian-Pilot & Portsmouth Star,
Southern Argus and the Ledger Dispatch)
Compiler's Note: The purpose of this file is to give the reader a sampling of newspaper articles on the 1855 epidemic-related subject. To date, a few articles of the Southern Argus have been found for the fall of 1855. Over the last 150 years some of the articles are redundant and the compiler has chosen those that best represent the topic. Still others only a headline is needed. This list is an ongoing project reading newsprint on microfilm.
Newspaper Table of Contents
Unknown newspaper article found in Delany Family Bible.
August 30, 1855 - Virginia Gazette
September 3, 1855 - New York Daily Times
October 30, 1855 - re financial situation of Norfolk
October 30, 1855 - Howard Association announcement
October 30, 1855 - Deaths, misc.
* * * * * *
January 17, 1856 - The Health of Our City
January 19, 1856 - One of the Victims
January 26, 1856 - Interesting Publication
January 26, 1856 - To Holy Deeds A Shrine
January 31, 1856 - Sanitary
January 31, & February 7, 1856 - Silent Heroism
February 7, 1856 - Suitable Tribute to the Dead
February 9, 1856 - Continued Munificence of New York
February 12, 1856 - Honor to the Worthy and Lamented Dead.
February 14, 1856 - Funeral Sermons
February 14, 1856 - The Gallant Dead
February 14, 1856 - Monument to Hunter Woodis and Others
February 16 & 21, 1856 - The Monument to the Martyrs of the Plague
February 18, 1856 - On the Death of Mark L. Welch
February 19, 1856 - The Firemen's Obsequies
February 21, 1856 - The Female Orphan Asylum
February 25, 1856 - Report of the Relief Committee
February 28, 1856 - Don't Touch the Graves
February 28, 1856 - Re-interment of Dr. Gooch & Rev. Dibrell
February 29, 1856 - The Scourge & the Church Bell &
Lines on the Death of a Beloved Mother
March 10 & 13, 1856 - The Norfolk and Portsmouth Fund
March 11, 1856 - The Orphan's Invocation
March 13, 1856 - Lines on the Death of Thomas Hare
March 27, 1856 - poetry written in memory of R. M. C. Young
March 28, 1856 - A Case for Public Sympathy
March 29, 1856 - Lines On the Death of my Father
April 17, 1856 - The Baltimore Patriot regarding Norfolk
April 17, 1856 - Re Filling the Custom House Lot
April 23, 1856 - "Gleanings from the Field of the Pestilence," part 1
April 24, 1856 - re Monument
April 24, 1856 - re funds for the orphans
April 24, 1856 - Meeting of the Medical Faculty
April 30, 1856 - England and the Orphans
May 1, 1856 - about new work of fiction about pestilence
May 1, 1856 - Sanitary
May 2, 1856 - selection from new work of fiction about pestilence
May 3, 1856 - Cedar Grove and Elmwood Cemetaries
May 5, 1856 - A biography of Rev. Wm. Jackson
May 27, 1856 - re the needy
June 6, 1856 - Our Cemetery
June 26, 1856 - Lightning and Epidemics
June 28, 1856 - Generous Philadelphia
Index of next page
Newspaper article found in Delany Family Bible - Courtesy of the Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA. [Research continues on newspaper article.]
On the 17th September, of the prevailing epidemic, WM. D. DELANY, Esq., age 45.
On the 24th of June, 1843, he was elected Mayor of the city; and until 1851 was regularly honored with a large majority of the votes of his fellow citizens. During the term of eight years he discharged the duties of his office faithfully and firmly.
In the different relations of life, and especially in those of husband, son, and brother, he was loved and respected for his amiable qualities and obliging disposition.
Only a day before his attack, he was apparently in the enjoyment of his usual vigorous health and strength, but in two or three days his earthly career was suddenly closed by the pestilence that raged so terribly in our city.
Of the fever, on the 9th September, aged 38 years, WILSON B. SOREY, Esq., Auctioneer, and U. S. Deputy Marshal for Eastern District of Virginia.
He discharged the responsible duties of the office which he held by appointment, with energy, ability and fidelity, and was admirably fitted for the branch of business he chose in early life. By the generous impulses of his nature, and his social qualities, he had endeared himself to a large circle of friends, who truly sympathise with his deeply bereaved and esteemed companion and the children in their affliction, trusting that their loss is his eternal gain.
On the 19th September, JOHN COLLEY, fourth son of W. B. and P. A. Sorey, aged 11 years, and on the following night, LEWIS COSBY, third son of the same, aged 13 years.
These were interesting and promising boys, and thus quickly following their devoted father to the grave, a deeper pang was added to the sorrows of this bereaved family.
On the 2d September, Mr. JOHN H. DELANY, youngest son of the late Edward Delany, aged 27 years.
He refused to leave the city in order to escape an attack of the fearful disease that swept away the people, preferring to remain with his relatives and assist them "when his services were most needed." Thus he fell a victim to the fever, like many others, in the vigor of early manhood, with the hope of long years of health and happiness.
On the 4th of September, EDWARD, youngest son of Edward and Amanda Delany, aged 3 years.
On the 21st of September, FLORENCE, a lovely little daughter of the name, aged 5 years.
Departed this life, in Norfolk city, Virginia, on the 31st of August, a victim to the dreadful scourge of God—JAMES T. HODGE, (an only son) aged 25 years; a member of the Free Mason Street Baptist Church. He devoted himself early to the service of his Master, from whom he received the soul reviving and comforting promise, "They that seek me early shall find me." He did indeed verify this blessed promise; he was sought and was found. It was his meat and drink and daily delight to do his Saviour's will; and continually did he enjoy the light of His countenance; growing in Grace as he grew in age with his Lamp filled and trimmed, waiting for the call of his Lord. He was indeed called early in Life.
This world was not his place,
Early he's run his race;
To that lov'd rest at last he's gone;
His christian course on Earth is done.
Happy Spirit enjoy they rest,
Not all the powers of Hell can wrest.
August 30, 1855 - The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, VA
Whilst other places have closed their doors against the citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth, by establishing quarantine, and other regulations, we rejoice in the fact that the citizens of Williamsburg have not done so, even amidst the extreme panic existing from the time of the first appearance of the yellow fever, to the present. Our doors have remained open, and the warmest sympathies of our hearts have been enlisted in favor of the sufferers. At this time we have upwards of one hundred citizens from the infected cities in our midst, and we would be the last community to prevent others from comming. —It is true our accommodations here are not of the very best character, having only one tavern, but such as we have the citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth have been welcome to, and are still welcome. In saying this we are confident we but utter the sentiments of at least five-eights of our population.
We hope our Norfolk co-temporaries will take some notice of the facts stated above, as we would be very sorry to be classed with those towns and cities, which have pursued a harsh and unfeeling course.
* * * *
A meeting of the citizens of Williamsburg was held in the Court House on Thursday evening, the 23d inst. A committee of five, consisting of D. Mercer, Col. Armistead, Robert Saunders, (Mayor,) Dr. Camm, and Mr. Jeremiah Bunting, was appointed to draft resulutions expressing the design of the meeting. The following was submitted and adopted:
'Whereas our fellow citizens of the neighboring towns of Norfolk and Portsmouth, have been visited by an awful scourge, which is depopulating those places, and which has produced an entire cessation of all the vocations which their people were employed; so that to the sufferings of mortal sickness, is added the direct extremity of absolute want of the necessaries of life, on the part of those who are dependent on their daily labor for common sustenance:
Be is therefore, Resolved:—That we will contribute according to our means to the necessities of our unfortunate neightors:
Resolved, That a committee of four be appointed, (Robt. Saunders, Rev. Mr. Joyner, Dr. Mercer and Dr. Camm,) to request the co-operation of all the inhabitant of Williamsburg, to receive whatever contributions of money or necessaries may be made, and to deposite the same with the Mayor of the town, to be by him sent to the Mayors of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
ROBERT SAUNDERS, (Mayor,) Pres.
J. Hervey Ewing, Sec.
September 3, 1855 - New York Daily Times (contributed by Margaret Windley)
The yellow fever now so fatally prevailing at Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., was, it is generally believed, introduced by the Steamer Franklin, last from Havana. After she anchored in our harbor, there were some cases resulting fatally on board. After an interval of several days, no new cases occurring, the Health Officer, imprudently, it is generally thought, permitted the ship to go to Gosport—which is that part of Portsmouth nearest the Navy Yard—to repair under a pledge from the captain, as the Health Officer states, that he would not break out the hold; this he did, however, and two or more persons engaged in this work sickened and died. From that moment the disease spread fatally and rapidly, finding abundant material among 307 persons living in seven small, dirty houses in the immediate vicinity, where pigs were kept in the second story and cows on the ground floor. From thence, at the end of about 14 days, it made its way to Norfolk and first appeared in Barrey’s-row, a collection of buildings of a character similar to those where it appeared first in Gosport, and filled with people and reeking with filth. From the two places above named, it, in the course of a few days, reached other parts of both cities, and at the end of two weeks became epidemic—at any rate the citizens living in the most favorable locations, surrounded by comforts, and in now way exposed to the infected districts, sickened and died. At this time, it prevails in every part of the cities. In its attacks, it is peculiar. Some have felt as if suddenly and violently struck with a stick; others have for two days had slight pains in the back, and back of the head, and unfrequently accompanied by a slight chill, but gave little attention to it. On the third day, however, they would be seriously ill, and often died within 72 or 76 hours from the first (apparently unimportant) symptoms. Indeed death frequently ensued in from three to five days, and I have known several instances where the strongest men died on the third day. Our Physicians have been most untiring in their efforts to administer relief, and such as have died have fallen at their stations.
Of the desertion of the clergy, much has been said falsely. As far as I am acquainted with them, but two have left. Rev. Mr. Jones, of the Baptist Communion, left at the first appearance of the disease in Norfolk. It is said that he was sick, and went away on that account with his family. The other was Rev. Mr. Uringfield (Wingfield), of the Episcopal Church, Portsmouth. He left with nearly all his congregation, and had, I know, been seriously sick for a long period, and probably had permission from his people. All the other clergy, having charges, are still at their posts and laboring faithfully among their congregations.
It is painful to mention some abuses that have taken place. Two are flagrant. The owner of a vacant house, which would rent at most for $400 per annum and would not rent until the 1st of January, that being the time at which our houses are rented here, made a neighbor pay him at the rate of $1,500 a year for his house, because he could at this time get whatever amount he had the hardihood to ask.
October 30, 1855 - Southern Argus
Don't Believe It.
There has been a floating opinion about, started by apprehension rather than by reason, that bankruptcy must follow in the wake of pestilence; and that the business prospects of Norfolk, and the energy of our merchants will be paralyzed for a long time to come.—This is what we have heretofore characterized as "croaking."
We regret to see that our city contemporaries have lent their printed endorsement to this (as we humbly conceive, illy-founded idea; for when some good folks see a prophecy duly expressed in Roman, with a fair show of italics, capitals and admiration marks, they believe it, as implicity as if they would have done if it had been uttered "according to St. John."—Had this circulated error been clinched by the concurrent widsom of the Argus, we do not know how in the world the prestige of Norfolk could have withstood so complete a fait accompli. Mrs. Partington would have believed it; and "the rest of mankind" would have probably been acquiescent enough to say nought to the contrary.
So here goes for Norfolk! We stood by her in the pestilence, and we will stand by her forever; and if our shoulder should be needed to help to lift her out of the mire, we will toil as hard as any one, in our proper sphere, towards accomplishing this work of love.
We do not believe,—indeed we have not the slightest idea—that our merchants will be bankrupt, our commerce impeded seriously hereafter; our works stopped in their proper seasons; or that there will be so much destitution and suffering among the poorer classes that the hand of charity will not be able to afford sensible relief.
We have suffered awfully, it is true;—and that hearts are bankrupt, affections blighted, hopes crushed, and firesides saddened, is too evident. The capitalist, as well as the laborer, has departed to the final bourne. The man of energy as well as the unobtrusive citizen, sleeps in the grave, individuals too may suffer pecuniarily; but the general current of trade will sweep on indubitably in the former channels.
Let us apply the test of reason to this matter, rather than of apprehension. Let us not croak—but consider. Is it the city that makes the trade; or the commerce that builds the city, and populates it? Do we expect that the corn which is annually shipped from this point and is handled here, stored here, measured here and accounted for here, is to be grown in our streets. Are the regular supplies of "pitch, tar and turpentine," which are even now piled up in our back country awaiting their consignees, Norfolk productions? Yet they are chief constituents of our trade.
Even now, the country people, hundred of miles off, are waiting impatiently for the earliest day when they may hope to come here and lay out their money or their crops, in articles that have already begun to flow in from the North—hardware, dry goods, ready made clothing, hats, boots, shoes, &c. Will there be no carriages, gigs, harness, soap and candles, smith's work, furniture, &c., wanted by those who have heretofore been in the habit of purchasing such articles of manufacture in this market? Will none of our outside friends read newspapers printed by Norfolk hands!
If we were to make the subscription list of the Argus a test, we should prophecy great things for our city, for daily are we receiving accessions.
The ultimate success, progress and population of Norfolk depend altogether upon the amount of back country she may be enabled to develope by the efforts of her people and those Southside and Central allies who are looking to her wharves as the debarking and receiving point for their supplies. We can see for ourselves, that our past trade is based upon the operations of the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Seaboard and Roanoke Rail Road—and we don't know that they are particularly liable to fever. If they have had it, they are certainly convalescent now.
But, say some, the notes of our best people have been protested, and therefore they are ruined. Now we happen to know something about protesting (thank God, we were out of it, this time!)—and we are satisfied that ruin does not necessarily follow upon a protest.
[Some paragraphs are missing.] . . . How can trade go on after this—especially if it should return another summer? We have yet to learn that trade and progress have been permanently broken up by yellow fever. It lives and thrives in Havana, the Queen of the Indies. To New Orleans it pays annual visitations. Philadelphia was not even retarded in her progress by a pestilential visitation of the disease in 1798. Oh, but this was worse still. It was the African fever. Grant it, if it must be so. Does not the prospect of even small gains carry men to the African coast to kidnap and to murder for gold, as well as to pursue the legitimate course of trading in elephants' teeth, palmwood, lions and rum?
Away then, with misgivings and doubts as to our future prosperity! If the disease were to return annually, (though we do not expect it again among us after the lesson we have been taught) we could adjust matters so as to do all business nine months in the year, and take holiday the remaining three. Let us not discourse ruin, when we can grasp fortune if we will; but let every man as far as in him lies, push on the advance in his particular path of duty; and we may live to rival the palmiest days of proud emporiums!
October 30, 1855 - Southern Argus
At a meeting of the Howard Association, held on Wednesday morning, Oct. 24th, 1855, the following resolutions were duly passed—
"That all applications from "absentees" for pecuniary assistance be referred to the Finance Committee, and they be empowered to remit them such an amount as they deem proper.
"That a committee of three be appointed to draft resolutions expressive of our thanks to the Physicians and Nurses, who so nobly came to our assistance in our time of need, and that a gold medal with a suitable inscription, be presented to the former and a silver one to the latter,—and Mr. Solomon Cherry, J. G. Pollard and Geo. R. Drummond, were appointed said committee, and on motion the President and Secretary were added.
"That a committee of four be appointed to aid Capt. J. E. Henderson in the supervision and management of the Orphans, now under the charge of the Association.
"That all funds that have been or may be sent for the special benefit of the Orphans, be kept separate and distinct from the general fund.
"That these procedings be published in the city papers.
A. B. COOKE, Pre't
W. D. REYNOLDS, Sec'y pro.tem.
October 30, 1855 - Southern Argus
On Friday September the 7th, after a short but painful illness of five days, of the prevailing epidemis, EDWARD WILLIAM, only son of Edward D. and Ann Eliza George, aged seven years, eleven months, and three days.
Alas, how chang'd that lovely Flower,
Which bloom'd and cheer'd our heart;
Fair fleeting comfort of an hour.
How soon we're called to part.
That once loved form, now cold and dead
Each mournful thought employs
We weep, our earthly comforts fled
And wither'd all our joys.
Hope looks beyond the bounds of time
When what we now deplore
Shall rise in full immortal prime
And bloom to fade no more.
THE FEVER.—A man was found yesterday lying ill on Myers' wharf. Dr. Horwitz was called and found that he had all the symptoms of the yellow fever. We hear of no other case.
(Correspondence from Richmond Oct. 25, 1855) MISS ANDREWS is now in the city. She will leave here tomorrow for her home. She will be accompanied by Mr. Wm. C. Whitehead.—Many of the "Norfolk Refugees" now sojourning the the city, have called upon her and returned their thanks for her kindness in behalf of poor stricken Norfolk
January 16, 17 and 23, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Health Of Our City.
It is of the last importance to the trade and prosperity of Norfolk, to say nothing of the eyes of the people, that the committee of the Councils charged with the responsible office of examining into removing the nuisances of the city, should proceed instantly and with zeal in the performance of their duty. A month's delay may render their labors of comparatively little value.
It not unfrequently happens that the weather in April is as hot as in July, and April is less than ninety days off. The merchant who had a note to pay within that time, on which his reputation for solvency depended, would be looking intently ahead to meet it. Let it not be said that when the lives of our citizens, and the commerce and trade of our port are at stake, the committee of the Councils will be less eager in their exertions.
We cannot impress upon the committee too deeply the momentous fact that the recurrence of the late frightful disease would be most fatal to the business of our city. To deprive our merchants of their fall trade would be to crush all their hopes of success, and in a while to close their doors. Our enterprising men would soon leave us, and the honorable efforts which we have made to connect ourselves with the interior, and in accomplishing which we have contracted a heavy debt, will have proved worse than useless.
Some suggestions connected with the line of duty which the committee should pursue, have occurred to us, and we beg leave to mention them. It is certainly of no little moment to know whether the fever arises from local causes, or is imported from abroad. For ourselves we have formed no decided opinion, and are still open to conviction on either side. To-day we choose to consider it in its worst aspect.
It is the opinion of a learned and scientific gentleman, who closely observed the appearance and progress of the fever in our midst, that it is of local origin, and we believe many of the enlightened men of New Orleans incline to this opinion. Such was the opinion of Drs. Selden and Whitehead as expressed in their memoir of the fever in this city in 1800.
It must not be taken for granted that, although the fever may be indigenous, it must necessarily prevail annually. We know, indeed, but little of the laws which govern epidemics; but we do not err in saying that a peculiar combination of heat and moisture, which may or may not happen annually, calls the disease into existence.
But, for practical purposes we should take the worst view of the case, and if we err it is wiser to err on the side of safety. In all our actions, therefore, we should regard the disease as local; for nothing can be more true than, whether it be local or not, it is aggravated and extended by local causes.
And here we feel called upon to state a fact, which will strike our City Fathers as extraordinary, but which is susceptible of the fullest proof; and that fact is, that our city at this moment, with its miles of paved streets, is not as well drained as it was in 1800, when there was not, as stated by Dr. Selden and Whitehead in their memoir, a single paved street within its limits. Our town was originally built on a peninsula, which was thoroughly drained and purified by the branches of the river which extended themselves in every direction. These creeks running in the lowest places and cleansed twice a day by the flowing of the tides, were the most comprehensive drains which it was possible to conceive. So effectually did they perform their office, that the eminent medical gentlemen above mentioned stated that the fever of 1800, which proved so destructive in other cities, never went beyond Main street, and was confined to that part of the city south of Main street.
Almost every step which we have advanced in filling up the low places of the city, if it has not been a step in the rear, has not been a step in the right direction. The filling up of the marsh now intersected by Cove and Avon street, and erecting thereupon our mammoth City Hall, constituted one of the most bungling improvements, in a sanitary point of view, that Young America in the wantonness of his youth and folly, ever perpetrated. It destroyed at a dash the levels of more than one third of the city, which has been drained for seventy years by the creek, and instantly introduced intermittent fever on Cumberland and Catharine streets, where they were never or rarely known before. The baneful influence of this most unfortunate scheme on the health of the city during the late pestilence, we may allude to more particularly hereafter. Well might the late Dr. Wm. B. Selden exclaim in the presence of those who were about to fill up that great drain of the city, "If I were a young man eager for practice, you would be playing finely into my hands."
But to pass over other improvements conducted with an almost total disregard of the true principles of draining, we pass to the graduation of the streets of the city. That the streets convey to the river the water which falls upon their surface, and so far accomplish a good result, is true; but at a slight glance over the area of the city, it is palpable that the streets form but a small proportion of it, and as these streets are in the main above the level of the neighboring land, that vast proportion of our soil is drained most imperfectly, or not at all. The shocking aspect of some of the lots on Cove street and on Broadwater, is striking illustration of our wretched policy on a small scale.
So much for the facts of the case, now for the remedy, and that remedy is plain enough. It is to fill up the lots as far as practicable to such a point that they will drain into the streets. If from the enormous expense required justify our bad engineering, and especially from the difficulty of procuring earth for the purpose of filling up, our Councils can hardly grapple with the whole subject, the duty of attending to some of the nuisances is imperative. Cove and Broadwater streets ought not to be allowed to remain in their present condition a week longer. THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE ARE AT STAKE. THE PROSPERITY OF THE CITY DEPENDS UPON PROMPT ACTION. If the individual owners do not proceed immediately under the eye of an officer appointed by the Councils, to reduce the nuisances on their premises, then ought the Councils to assume the work and perform it as it should be done. There should be no respect for individuals, as such. With them the question of filling up is only a question of time, with the community it is a question of life and death.
It is not expected that we should go into details on the mode of abating the public nuisances. A competent engineer should decide on each case as it presents itself. We would suggest, however, the importance of requiring individuals to fill up from the heads of the old creeks first, and thence graduating the descent until the lowest level shall have been reached. One or two great sewers, with here and there a small one in particular lots, will certainly be required.
We exhort the Councils to hasten the good work. Time is precious. Now a great crisis is at hand. Our destinies are suspended by a thread! Let it not be said that in so urgent an emergency our authorities proved recreant to their trusts.
Since the above was written, we learn that the Board of Health has had the whole subject before them. Let them keep in mind that the loss of a week now may be irremediable. That if they fail to perform their duty, and a pestilence returns, the phantom of yellow fever will shake its gaunt finger in the face of each one who may thus prove recreant to his trust.
January 19, 1856 - Southern Argus
One of the Victims.
He was often observed, yet but little known, nor desired to be otherwise. From Sun-rise till sun-set, with tools in hand, he labored skillfully and diligently. A few of the best citizens knew his worth, employed him and respected him. A little circle of friends loved and honored him; and even some of the poor venerated him. He always had a word of encouragement for the troubled and desponding; of advice and warning for the wayward, and of comfort for the distressed. He was one of the noblest works of God—an hones man. His thoughts, judging from his words, were often on things beyond this world. He frequently spoke of a rest above,—and the hopes and prospects of another and a happier state of existence cheered him on in his pilgrimage.
The fever found him pursuing still the even tenor of his way—without alarm, or scarce the suspicion of an attack. But the insidious disease fastened its deadly fangs upon him and his pallid cheek, dull eye and languid step showed, as he walked the street that the life blood has received the fatal poison. Reluctantly yielding to the power of the destroyer, he suddenly sank down, helpless, and delirious, and was soon a sallow corpse. And now he sleeps quietly in the church yard, while his worth is well remembered by some who knew how to appreciate true generosity of soul, lofty sentiments and fervent piety, though concealed away from the gaze of the world in the quiet walks of retirement and obscurity. We need not mention his name, for those who knew him will readily recognize the resemblance of the picture thus hastily sketched, to the former living original.
January 26, 1856 - Southern Argus
"Report of the Philadelphia Relief Committee," appointed to collect funds for the sufferers by yellow fever of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., 1856, by Thomas Webster, Jr., Chairman.
This report is deeply interesting and is altogether a most valuable work for the information concerning the visit of the yellow fever to our twin ports this last summer, and to Philadelphia in former years.
See description of monument in the beginning of the Report of the Philadelphia Relief Committee.
After this description follows the report, giving an account of the rise and progress of the disease in our midst, and the action of the philanthropic citizens of the city of Brotherly Love, with the list of the committees, and of those who so nobly came to our aid. We wish we had room to give every name mentioned—the list of those who came to Norfolk has already been published.
We see the aggregate of the Philadelphia contribution is over $50,000, and of the whole of Pennsylvania $65,000.
The report contains many useful suggestions; among those given from a report of a former Board of Health in that city we notice: "That no wharf be hereafter built unless the dock on either side be so deep as to be covered by water at low tide. That docks now made, and which are not covered at low tide, be filled up or dug deeper, to produce the effect at the head of the dock."
Next in order is the "Account Current," then an appendix, containing letters written to and from Norfolk and Portsmouth, and last, an important "Report of the Joint Committee of Council, relative to the malignant or pestilential disease of the summer and autumn of 1820, in the city of Philadelphia."
January 26, 1856 - Southern Argus
To Holy Deeds A Shrine
Messrs. Editors: So much of late has been "said and sung" concerning the recent awful scourge with which it pleased an All Wise Providence—against whose ways it becomes no man to murmur—to visit the people of Norfolk, thus any further reference thereto would, in any judgment be productive of no substantial benefit to those concerned immediately, or to others. It is a fact, an awful and stupendous fact, before which imagination shrink, and the mind is conscious of being appalled in its contemplation.
But it is done. The dark shadow of the destroying Angel's wing has gone;—and though the narrowed heart of the lonely and bereaved may bleed in sorrowing silence, and though we may be bound by the common ties of humanity and the sympathies of our natures to "weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn," yet we should not forget, that the funeral dirge, the solemn and impressive array of marshaled mourners, and the tears which bedew the cheeks of woman and of hardened man, are but passing tributes to the memories of those who, in paying the last debt poor nature owes, bequeathed a high and holy obligation to those whom they so faithfully served in life, and for whom they even dared to lay down their lives.
Shall I, Messrs Editors, refer the people of Norfolk, distinguished as they are for all the liberal virtues which so signally characterize them, to the manly nature and elevated character of one who stood foremost in their affection, when alive, and over whose magnanimous self-sacrifice, they all have wept as for one without a peer.
The rudest hind and most beggarly boor may crown himself with the laurel leaf, and have his name emblazoned on the historic page—or all his deeds recorded on monuments of marble, if in the storms or stratagems of war, he fearless fights, or fearless falls. But what shall be said or done for him, who in the absence of all excitement, calmly and without dismay, goes meekly as the minister of mercy, to confront the pestilence which walketh in darkness, and voluntarily dies for the good of others?
Were there none such in Norfolk? Was there no one who towered above all others in this noble cause of humanity? Will the community whom he so fondly loved and faithfully served, and for whom he died build no monument to perpetuate his praise and prove their gratitude? Shall no monument be built to HUNTER WOODIS? By a Stranger.
January 31, 1856 - Southern Argus
HEALTH OF THE CITY.—The Board of Health having made a tour of the city with a view to the improvement of its sanitary condition, met Tuesday, says the Herald, and adopted a report of their views, to be read before the City Councils. This report recommends at being of the first necessity, the draining of the lot on the North side of Water street, on the S. side of Cove street, and on the East side of Metcalf's lane, by culverts. The expense on filling up and grading these lots, "so as to prevent the lodgment and stagnation of water thereon," would, in most cases, be equivalent to the value of the property when so filled up and as they were made nuisances by great city improvements for the public benefit, it is but just that the burthen of abating the same should not fall exclusively on their owner, but that their owners be placed on an equitable footing with the citizens at large in bearing the expense of abating such nuisances.
The Board therefore recommend in their report, that a culvert be constructed under Water street to drain off the water from the sunken lots on its North side into the river, being of opinion that they will __ be kept dry and in a short time covered with "a beautiful green award." For this opinion they give as authority the lot of Mr. Richard Walks, (in a range with those referred to, and as much below the level of the street as they,) who, when the street was in the progress of being made, had the forecast to put a tunnel under it, by which this lot has always been kept dry and covered with grass. The owners of these water lots, the report suggests, would esteem it a privilege to pay the cost of the tunnel rather than incur the enormous expense of filling up their lots, under the orders of the Board.
The Board further recommend the immediate laying of a culvert under Cove street, from Metcalf's lane to its terminus in the marsh West of Catharine street. Into this culvert the water lodging on the lots of D. C. Barraud and Wm. Johnson, on the South side of Cove street, and on the lots on the East side of Metcalf's lane (which they recommend to be raised and paved) may be drained by means of a large paved gutter, passing through the lots of Barraud and Johnson, and delivering the drainage from those lots into the culvert under Cove street, which may also be made to drain off the stagnant water from Avon street. And thus the natural drainage of Back Creek will be restored by the artificial drainage proposed by the Board of Health. It is to be hoped that the Councils will not dally with this subject, but set to work at once and complete it before the ides of May.
The improvements thus suggested will, by draining all the grounds which were in former days drained into Back Creek (since filled up) undoubtedly remove one of the greatest sources of disease in the city; and should be set about forthwith. In filling up Back Creek numerous little streams and drains which carried off the water from the grounds which surrounded it, were stopped up; and hence the water has been retained in the earth to escape by the slow and unwholesome process of evaporation, or by the ventage of cellars and other vacancies under ground, which have frequently been overflown in all wet spells of weather. By the means recommended by the Board of Health, all this may be remedied.
The Board further recommend to the Councils the adopted of a general system of underground drainage, by means of a culvert under Main street, from Church to Commerce street, with lateral tunnels leading from it down Church street, Market Square, Bank street, Roanoke avenue and Commerce street, to the river.
Another act of the Board of Health, Tuesday, was the passage of an order that all nuisances created by private docks be abated at the expense of the owners—they to be notified by the Board of the existence of such nuisance, and if failing to abate it, the Board will do it and recover the cost from the owners by course of law.
January 31, & February 7, 1856 - Southern Argus
A stranger visiting the city at this day, would never suppose that it was so lately the scene of such appalling terror; and even the citizens themselves, those only excepted who remained here, seem fast forgetting the frightful epoch of August and September.
This is all well, and natural enough, too—for what avails the brooding over these days when so many thousands were driven away at a moment's warning, without means, and even with ordinary comfort, dependent upon the hospitality of strangers, and whose condition was a happy one compared with those who were fenced in by a strong necessity—even the last breathings of a husband, wife or child in pestilential agony, or the heartless quarantine which closed the door of hope, and left them to struggle in the hot embraces of man's last enemy.
But however natural it may be to seek to relieve our memory from the burden of that day, in the midst of which we were, and especially of that dark Sabbath morning when we saw forty men, each bearing a coffin on his shoulder, sent in saddest mercy from abroad, and missed as soon as sent, that the corrupting remains of the dearest to them might be removed from their sight forever. However, natural it may be to seek forgetfulness of such scenes, still we should not forget the silent and almost unobserved and wholly unrewarded services of the strangers who came among us, to do for us or to die with us. It is true that the names and deeds of some of these have been borne upon the trembling wires, and filled the gazettes of all parts of our country, and will be known for long years as angels of mercy; but there are scores of patient, tender, self-devoting nurses, who served without notice, and thoughtless of observance, to whom our highest gratitude is due.
We are led to these remarks by our recollection of the services of the many excellent female nurses who chose to be humane, even at the peril of their lives. They have left us, and their names are as unknown to our citizens as if they had never made any sacrifice.
There were men among them, too—men indeed—whose advent cheered so many death-beds, and saved survivors from despair. Among these was the modest, interesting, and intelligent Captain Boyd. At the gloomiest period of the epidemic, Hunter Woodis led him to the bed-side of the Ex-Mayor of the city; the fever had prostrated the whole family. His services were at first declined, because she of less respectable deportment, who could wait upon females, was most to be desired. But he would not be refused; and, as a menial, doing the duties of the humblest servant and most faithful nurse, is master and slave, for weeks, without disrobing himself, without necessary food, without rest, and without the desire for reward, save what conscience brings, did this stranger work in his Samaritan office.
Who can estimate the services of the deceased O'Brien, and of Quick, his partner, who fell, as it were, at the grave—supplying sepulture to the last. And of Murphey, who was equally useful, and yet survived. And, of the Howard Association, who were ever at their post, to feed the living, to bury the dead, to die themselves.
February 7, 1856 - Southern Argus
Suitable Tribute to the Dead—The members of Granby street M. E. Church have erected a handsome tablet of pure white Italian marble, as a sacred memorial of the Rev. Mr. Dibrell, who died of the fever. It is placed against the north wall of the church (interior) on the right or west of the pulpit, and is in the shape of a shield, with a black border.
An appropriate inscription is deeply carved in the stone, with a facing of gold leaf, giving a neat and beautiful appearance to the substantial tribute to the memory of departed pastoral worth.
The work was executed by Mr. J. D. Couper, of this city, whose skill in masonry and correct delineations in marble have been much admired.
February 9, 1856 - Southern Argus
Continued Munificence of New York
We learn that Messrs. Perit, the President, and W. H. Macy, Treasurer of the New York Relief Committee, have within the past week, forwarded through the President of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, upwards of $1,600 in aid of the sufferers of the late epidemic.
We shall be glad to see a statement of the whole amount which has been sent on from the different parts of the Union for this object; and we should be still more so, if the benevolent donors could but know the good they have done and the sorrows they have averted, not only in the disciplined Orphan Asylum for the boys and girls, now under the charge of the Howard Association, but for the widows, whose hearths, as well as whose hearts, they have warmed by their extended charity.
February 12, 1856 - Southern Argus
HONOR TO THE WORTHY AND LAMENTED DEAD.—Much sorrow has been felt and exhibited both at home and abroad, for the many valuable men and true moral heroes who died of the pestilence that desolated our city a few months ago; and there has been some action with regard to a suitable and enduring monument to the memory of departed worth. Able speeches have been delivered, eloquent eulogies have been pronounced, and the feelings of true hearts have been brought into deep sympathetic exercise, when the names and the deeds of the sleeping dead have been mentioned. But we think more should be done—further and more definite measures should be used and more enlarged plans adopted in honor of the departed, and to secure the desirable object, in regard to which some action has already been taken.
When the news of the burning of the Richmond Theatre, on the night of Dec. 26th, 1811, was spread abroad, here, as well as elsewhere, the people were appalled, pained and startled in the highest degree, and thrown in the greatest excitement,—for more than 70 lives were lost, including a number of estimable ladies, the governor elect and other distinguished individuals. It was indeed a most heart-rendering calamity, and the inhabitants of the borough, with those of other places, very properly exhibited suitable evidences of their profound sorrow for the sudden and terrible visitation.
The civil authorities, officers of the Army and Navy, the volunteer companies, and an immense concourse of citizens, slowly marched, with solemn music, through the streets. An urn was carried in the procession; the bells tolled a funeral knell, and an appropriate discourse was delivered in one of the churches. The Herald states, that "a more solemn and impressive scene was never witnessed in the borough."
This manifestation of true sorrow, was all right and appropriate, for an uncommon fearfully severe affliction had visited a sister city.
But how does this compare with the effects of the recent pestilential tornado that swept through the length and breadth of the two towns of Norfolk and Portsmouth?
The echoes of the grave yard were awake at the dead of night by the ringing of the spade and the unrestrained voice of the sexton, while the cold earth was hastily removed to make room for the remains of such men as Woodis, Ferguson, Upshur, Tunis, Silvester, Jackson, Dibrell, Roberts, Wills, Barclay, Ferret, Walters, and a host of others, and of ladies whose worth and usefulness will not be known till the end of time. Some of the best of the citizens too, sleep in distant cemeteries. How extensive and terribly afflicting was the great visitation of '55!—And should not some action commensurate with the greatness of the calamity be taken, so that the citizens generally male and female of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and vicinity, could participate in the ceremonies? We hastily throw out the suggestion, hoping it may not be entirely in vain.
February 14, 1856 - Southern Argus
FUNERAL SERMONS.—On Sunday morning the Rev. Mr. Wills, of the Cumberland Street Methodist Church, preached the funeral sermon of the members of his charge who died of the fever. The discourse was deeply interesting and instructive. The subjects principally dwelt upon were the second coming of Christ and the Resurrection of the dead. The speaker seemed deeply impressed with the importance of the solemn truths set forth, and his style of delivery on the occasion was very energetic and attractive. Of the large number that crowded the ample church, very many were affected to tears.
A very appropriate discourse was also preached in the Methodist Protestant Church on Sunday, by Rev. Mr. McGee, in memory of the members of the Order of Rechabites and Sons of Temperance who died during the pestilence.
February 14, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Gallant Dead
Messrs. Editors.—A meeting was held some days since, a notice of which appeared in your paper, to devise ways, means, &c., to erect a monument to the lamented Woodis and Ferguson; and may I ask, sirs, with due regard, respect, &c., for the memory of those departed ones, if there are not others, silently sleeping in the cemeteries of Cedar Grove and Elm Wood, whose names have not been mentioned with so much honor, to whom that honor is due?
Where are those servants of Him who "went about doing good," that battled night after night and day after day with the grim visage of the monster death, until worn out by fatigue, they laid them down to rest, never again to be awakened until the final blast of the trumpet shall call to the judgment seat of Our Father, all who have shuffled off this mortal coil?—Where are the physicians who true to the noble nature of man, rode the tempest of disease until the last billow washed them on to the haven of their final rest? Some of the brightest marks of our State, sirs—the most brilliant ornaments of their profession— are gone and are lost to us forever—those whom we welcomed at our bedsides when sickness was our visitor, those who were ever welcome to our firesides and our boards, those whom we loved with a brother's love, and whose names must forever be enshrined in our memories and breathed with praise.
They have gone, sirs, with not a stone raised by the hands of affection, to mark as holy ground the mound wherein they sleep. And shall it be so? No emphatically no; the people of Norfolk have too much pride to allow their noble dead to slumber in forgotten graves. There shall be a monument towering (I hope) to the skies—a beacon light to the young —that they may follow the example of those whose deeds the monument should commemorate.
I have conversed with many of the citizens upon this question, and, while they all, without an exception, retain the kindest feelings, regard and respect for the two gentlemen whose names head this article, yet they do not feel willing to give money to erect a memorial to those two to the exclusion of others who have the same claim upon our reverence. Then let the monument be raised to all—to the many, and not to the few.
Monument to Hunter Woodis and Others
There are times of deep affliction, Mr. Argus, when the breast struggles in vain to realize the truth and fullness of its sorrow; when society, crushed by the weight of existing calamities, can no longer embody and individualize the broken, disjointed and scattered fragments around them THere are seasons of dismay, when mankind almost ceases to think; and gaze in silent, stupid wonder at the darkness and desolation that have suddenly gathered on their pathway. The over-taxed brain sinks down benumbed, or reels in lazy drunken lethargy along—holy, beautiful affection looks in calm despair upon the reeking ruin of its purest, sweetest and brightest joys—the rising fear, drop congeals in its fountain—the tongue is palsied, and the voice of eulogy hushed by the pressure of woe, that bears up faint and bleeding to the earth. The finer cords of human sympathy are broken by long-enduring tension—the hopeful spirit, that would rise in quick rebellion against a single blow of that "chastening rod which spareth not," will react no longer; and the soul shrinks back in cowering littleness before the awful majesty of God and the unsolved mystery of His ways.
Such a time, and such a season, the homes and hearts, and altars of our people have lately witnessed. But yesterday—so fresh in the memory of all—the demon of pestilence came, as "a thief in the night time," to despoil and desolate the fairest households of our city. The "Angel of Death" raised his gaunt and ghastly visage among you—from almost every hearthstone a wail of anguish rose upon the air; and morning broke, to tell that many a loved one had perished in his skeleton grasp. Hundreds of gay and happy firesides were suddenly robed in the vestments of mourning and weeping—widowed mothers, orphaned children and heart-stricken fathers still point, in hopeless gloom, to the "beckoning bier" that has veiled from life its only valued treasures.
Thank Heaven! that long night of darkness has passed away! The howlings of the storm are heard no longer. That Deluge of woe has swept over us, and gone, I trust forever. The poisoned waters have rolled back to the troubled ocean that heaved them up; and on the wreck-strewn beach we can gather now—to survey the melancholy view, and hear, in the still morning wind, a funeral dirge for the dear and valuable friends who perished by its billows.
Among the fallen there are many whose tragic fate can never be forgotten while the present generation lasts—many whose services require no marble shaft to keep them in remembrance, and whose names are already canonized in grateful memories around the stricken firesides of our city. And yet, for the honor of Norfolk, I trust to see a monument raised—in commemoration of the late pestilence, and the noble spirits that fell in martyrdom before it. Let the sculptured column rise, if only to perpetuate the virtues of one, whose fame has become a public legacy, which every man, woman and child among us should fondly cherish.
Unshrinking in the discharge of official duty, and guided by the promptings of a heart "open as day to melting charity," your late honored Mayor became a pioneer in the cause of suffering humanity—met the infection at its first poverty-stricken thresholds, and fell an easy victim on its devouring altar. Day after day and night after night he ministered—as an apostle of mercy—in the midst of want, disease, poverty and despair.
No chamber of sickness was too lowly or squalid for his presence; no scene too revolting for his generous sympathies; no hand too poor for his warm and open palm; and no distress too deep for the gauge of his noble soul.
Who can fail to admire the unceasing indifference to self—the moral heroism and melting pity for other's woes, that marked his every movement in that trying period? Who of his old associates can fail to remember that manly form, the lofty brow, the benevolent smile and mien erect that used to meet him in the daily walks of life"
"A combination and a form indeed,
Where every God did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man."
Who can ever forget to love the name and honor the memory of Hunter Woodis. SENEX.
At a meeting held in the Blues' Gun Room, on Tuesday evening, Col. Geo. Blow, in the Chair, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the death of Hunter Woodis is an event which fills this entire community with unaffected sorrow. He was one of the ablest advocates of the Bar, and in his offices of Chief Magistrate of this city, he was just, energetic and fearless. As a citizen he was esteemed, admired and loved. His life was devoted to the best interests of humanity, and was sacrificed upon the altar of public security. We will revere his memory and teach our children to emulate his virtues.
Resolved, That the memory of William B. Ferguson, the late President of the Howard Association deserves a conspicuous place among the benefactors of mankind. In the midst of the most appalling pestilence, he forgot himself in his desire to save others, and he has left in our affections an imperishable monument of disinterested usefulness and true courage.
Resolved, That whilst we have distinguished the chief actors in the late Crisis, we are not unmindful of the services and the sacrifices of the Clergy, the Medical faculty, the Howard Association, and all who contributed at such eminent cost to the relief of our afflicted people.
Resolved, That a committee of ___ be appointed by the Chair to report to a subsequent meeting a suitable mode of commemorating the virtues and services of those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of humanity during the late terrible Epidemic.
The following gentlemen were appointed a Committee under the 4th resolution:
Charles Sharp, Thomas C. Tabb, James E. Barry, John B. Whitehead, William D. Seymour, Chas A. Santos, Wm. H. Hunter, Jno. E. Doyle, William Lamb, J. R. Spratley, Wm. G. Dunbar, John R. Upshur, Thos. B. Rowland, J. M. Brickhouse, E. C. Robinson, J. A. Thompson, Ryland Capps.
Col. Geo. Blow and W. W. Sharp, Esq., responded to a call of the meeting and earnestly and eloquently advocated the erection of a monument to perpetuate the memory of the heroic spirits who fell at their posts.
February 18, 1856 - Southern Argus
On the Death of Mark L. Welch, who died of fever, September 5th, 1855.
We miss thee sadly, Father dear,
We never can forget thee, never;
Thy name oft calls the parting tear,
'Twas hard such ties as ours to sever.
And now we are left a broken band,
Our home is lonely without thee;
We cannot clasp our Father's hand,
His happy smile no more we see.
That loving heart is cold and still,
Our Mother mourns her husband gone;
Yet feels it was the Savior's will,
Who called him hence in life's bright morn.
We miss thee—oft we seem to hear
Thy footfall as in days gone by;
And gentle voice in words of cheer—
We can but mourn that thou didst die.
We miss thee sadly; yet we know
Thy soul still lives forever blest;
And there where healing waters flow,
We hope to meet when we are at rest. A. R. C.
February 19, 1856 - Southern Argus
THE FIREMEN'S OBSEQUIES—On Sunday morning the firemen belonging to the Union, Hope and Aid Fire Companies assembled, in citizen's dress, according to notice, at Market square and moved in procession to the Cumberland street Methodist Church. At the corner of Talbot street they were joined by the members of the Howard Association, with the orphan boys under their charge. The orphans headed the procession. They were followed by the Association—not omitting the immortal John Jones (the colored hearse driver) who is an attache of the Society. The firemen brought up the rear.
Seats were reserved for the procession in the body of the Church, and the large building was crowded with a solemn auditory, when the service commenced. The Rev. D. P. Wills, the pastor of the Church, officiated, and selected for his text, the 1st Epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 24th and 25th verses—
"For all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof fadeth away.
"But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
The discourse was an abled and pathetic one, and was delivered with much effort. The occasion was well calculated to call forth the tenderest appeals of religious eloquence; and faithfully did the good minister acquit himself of the important duty. Many were the brave hearts that fell in the common ruin; and to their surviving associates, the occasion was rife with powerful teachings.
After the benediction the procession was formed again, and the firemen, before disbanding, escorted the orphans to their home on Church street.
February 21, 1856 - Southern Argus
THE FEMALE ORPHAN ASYLUM—This benevolent institution is now under the management of Mrs. ___ Smith, and is still exerting a salutary influence upon the bereaved little ones there who find a home and a faithful and affectionate friend to care for them, and provide for their wants mentally and physically. We learn that there are now several vacancies, and the friends of any who may be the legitimate beneficiaries of the establishment, should apply for their admission without delay.
The orphans of this asylum attended St. Paul's church on Sunday morning last. A collection was taken up for their benefit; and while the plate was being handed, they sang a hymn,—their little voices sounded very sweet. Although the congregation present was small, over $50 was collected.
February 21, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Monument to the Martyrs of the Plague.
We are happy to learn that the Committee appointed for the purpose, have written for plans and specifications for a suitable monument to be erected to the memory of all who lost their lives in the late Pestilence, while endeavoring to [mitigate] the sufferings of our in habitants. They will soon be ready to report to the subsequent meeting which the Chairman was directed to call.
We are surprised to see the opposition made to this movement for the want of correct information upon the subject. Some imagine that a monument is to be erected to the memory of the gallant Woodis and Ferguson alone, and complain that these two are to be honored far above the rest. We would call the attention of all such to a resolution by a meeting of the citizens, which appeared in all the Norfolk papers, and which has been noticed by many papers abroad:
RESOLVED, That a committee of ___ be appointed by the Chair to report to a subsequent meeting a suitable mode of commemorating the virtues and services of those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of humanity during the late terrible Epidemic.
In accordance with this resolution a committee of seventeen was appointed, with Chas. Sharp, Esq., as chairman, and as we have before intimated, the members have gone energetically to work.
February 25, 1856 - Southern Argus
Report of the Relief Committee to Aid the Norfolk and Portsmouth Sufferers.
The undersigned, on behalf of the Committee appointed by the citizens of Richmond, to aid in the relief of the sufferers from the yellow fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth, have, to the best of their ability, performed the responsible duties assigned them, and now submit their report.
The first act of the Committee was to invite and urge upon the authorities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, to send to our care all who could come to us, whether they were sick or whether they were well, as ample provision had been made to accommodate any number that might reasonably be expected. To our regret, but a small number, with the exception of the orphans from Portsmouth, availed themselves of the invitation. Such, however, as came, were provided for either in the relief house or boarding houses.
Forty-four orphans, accompanied by several sisters of charity as nurses, were brought up and committed to our charge, by the Rev. Mr. Hume, the zealous, indefatigable, untiring pastor of the Baptist church in Portsmouth.—To this gentleman we are chiefly indebted for the proper direction of our labors in the field of charity, and his conduct throughout the pestilence is worthy of all praise.
Of the 47 orphans, 12 have been adopted and are now domiciled with respectable families in the State; two died, and the remainder have been reclaimed and returned to Portsmouth.
The Committee record with pride and pleasure the deep sympathy manifested by all classes of our community in the afflictions of our sister towns and the commendable liberality with which they contributed to their relief, nor should the meed of praise be confined to narrow limits of Richmond—it has a wider range and extends to every corner of the Commonwealth; for from every point contributions flowed in to fill our treasury.
The Doctors Christian and Haskins, who kindly volunteered their professional services to attend the sick at the Relief House, our acknowledgments are especially due, for the zeal and ability with which they performed their duties. By day as well as by night, they were ever found at their post.
To Bishop Magill, who generously placed the Catholic College at our disposal, and without which our arrangements would have been incomplete, we respectfully tender our sincere thanks.
The account of Col. G. W. Munford, Treasurer of the Relief Fund, has been examined, and the disbursements in every case found supported by proper vouchers.
There was received from all sources by the committee $11,484.80, disbursed $9,090.78, leaving a balance of $2,394.03 which has been remitted in equal proportions to the authorities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, to be appropriated for the benefit of their orphans.
Besides the above, a considerable sum, amounting to some $5000 was remitted to Norfolk and Portsmouth before the organization of this Committee, the receipt of which has been heretofore acknowledged in the public prints.
Committee: R. Archer, J. A. Cowardin, H. K. Ellyson.
February 28, 1856 - Southern Argus
Don't Touch the Graves.
Respect and honor paid by the surviving, to the remains of those whom we loved and esteemed when moving among us in life, are creditable to those who offer the holy tribute at the shrine of departed virtues. There is no more sacred debt than that which affection prompts us to pay at the graves of those whose loss we deeply morn.
But there are occasions when duty to the living, and the paramount sanitary claims of an entire community, require that those who seek to pay honor to the noble dead, should forego their sad privilege, or at least post pone it to a season when it can be done without interfering with needful requirements for the public health, or arousing apprehension.
We refer to the opening of the pits in the burial grounds, where the indiscriminate dead (victims of the pestilence of last year) are reposing in silence. This, we learn, has lately been done by parties for the sake of recovering the bodies of relatives or friends. The earth impregnated with malarious atoms from decomposed bodies, has been thrown up to the surface; and coffin after coffin has been opened to ascertain if there may not be some lingering vestige by which a once familiar form could be identified.
This should not be done—at least, during this year. Another summer is about to open upon us—a summer which, it may be, will solve the destiny of the place. The seeds of pestilence which have been deposited beneath the earth's surface, should not be upturned before the approach of another winter; when if there be no recurrence of the fever, it may be done with impunity.
Let the authorities give positive instruction to the keeper of the cemeteries to allow no exhumation from any grave under any pretext, until after the close of the coming summer. Humanity and public necessity require a regulation of this sort. A vigilant ordering of all that pertains to the subject of health, will, we trust, suffice to preserve our city in a salubrious condition. A righteous Providence will do much for us; but we must do something for ourselves. Again we say, don't touch the graves.
* * * A silly report has been spread abroad that there is yellow fever in Norfolk. We suppose we must contradict it; though the idea of such a disease prevailing in winter is ridiculous. Our city is remarkably healthy.
February 28, 1856 - Southern Argus
REMOVAL OF THE DEAD.—Mr. Henry Myers, of Richmond, whose heroic conduct during the fever is so well remembered by many of our citizens, arrived yesterday in the Augusta, to make arrangements for the removal of the bodies of Dr. Gooch and Rev. Mr. Dibrell and son, which will be taken to Richmond on Saturday.
A delegation of Masons will arrive to-day from Richmond, and members in Norfolk and Portsmouth are expected to join them and proceed to-morrow, together with the Howard Association, to the cemetery, and move in procession in honor of the worthy dead. The remains will be removed prior to the arrival of the procession at the cemetery.
February 29, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Scourge and the Church Bell.
Death held his awful, frightful sway,
Is that dread time of woe,
And fearfully by night and day,
He laid his victims low
The doors were closed, the merchants gone,
Or sick, or lying dead,
While nurse and doctor hurried on
To the suff'rers dying bed.
And on the streets and river side,
Had ceased the city's din;
The grave-yard gates were open wide,
And the dead were crowded in.
And still thy voice, old "Belfry bell,"
Rang out both sad and drear,
Like the tolling of a fun'ral knell,
To the lonely mourner's ear.
But soon the church was vacant too,
For the pastor ling'ring lay;
And the sexton ceased his work to do,—
The sexton old and gray.
Thy tongue, at last, was still, old bell,
But the pond'rous chain was wound,
And the hammer of the old clock fell,
And still kept up the sound.
In every vacant thoroughfare—
The river's surface o'er,
The echoes floated in the air
And reached the Southern shore.
And dolefully and solemnly,
In measured notes and slow,
Thy voice still wakes the memory
To the fearful time of woe.
The writer of the following touching filial tribute, fell a victim to the yellow fever in the height of the epidemic. The lines were written but a few days before her death, and while she was suffering under the keen affliction or recent bereavement. Among her latest requests was, that they should be transmitted to us for publication. The whole household is gone—father, mother, daughter; and this outpouring of affection reaches us like a waif from shipwreck—a picture rescued from the devouring deep:
On the Death of a Beloved Mother
I am bereaved, indeed! My mother!
She for whom I stove to live;
My last, my best, my only tie to earth
Is from me torn! Could not the force
Of learned skill, with tender assiduities
Of friends—and the out-pouring of a
Child's heart-breathings, avert the blow?
Ah, no! The mandate had gone forth
'Thy days are numbered!' Aged pilgrim
'Thy master calleth for thee!' Any! with what
Holy joy her breast responded—'Come, Lord Jesus!'
She gather up her mantle, and on the rod
And staff of Jesus leaned with holy confidence,
And met the King of Terrors undismayed.
Through many changes, and toilsome paths
Thy weary feet did trail, while journeying here.
But now they conflict's o'er! Thou art safely housed!
Sainted mother! I can only strive my few remaining
Days on earth, to follow thee as thou didst
Follow Christ. Thy meekness, patience and humility,
With all the Christian graces, adorned thy life.
'None knew thee but to love three!'
The sweet expression of that face will ever
Rest upon me. I am alone on earth!—
In Heaven my treasures are! Help me, O God!
To kiss the rod, and strive to meet them there.
Catharine, Norfolk, Va., August 29th, 1855.
March 10 & 13, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Norfolk and Portsmouth Fund
The Richmond Dispatch states that the committee, to wind up the affairs of the Relief Fund in that city, for the benefit of the Norfolk and Portsmouth sufferers, have received the following letters, acknowledging the receipt by the proper officers in those cities, of the balance in the hands of the committee, after the settlement of all claims against them:
MAYOR'S OFFICE, NORFOLK
Feb. 22d, 1856
Gentlemen: I return you my sincere thanks for the kind consideration evinced by you, as the Relief Committee, and through you to the citizens of Richmond generally, for their unbounded kindness towards our poor afflicted city, throughout her sufferings, and for this your closing offering, ($1,197.01.)
Our orphans, who have lost father and mother, are in the hands of the Howard Association, and are amply provided for—they having a fund set apart for them of some seventy-five thousand dollars. But not so with those children who have lost fathers only. Their mothers have to depend upon what they can get from friends, and small pittances from the Association.
I have been enabled, by contributions from abroad, to distribute among the latter class, some $1700 during this cold winter. We have not less than three hundred poor widows, and some of them have five, seven, nine and eleven children. If it meets your approbation, I shall distribute this fund among the widows and other orphans.
Your ob't serv't
EZRA T. SUMMERS, Mayor of Norfolk
To Committee: Messrs R. A. Archer, H. K. Ellyson, J. A. Cowardin.
[In reply to Mr. Summers' proposition, the committee have informed him that the objects of the donors will be fully carried out if the sum remitted him is expended for the destitute widows and their children, who were bereaved by the pestilence last year.]
PORTSMOUTH, Va., Feb. 26th, 1856.
GENTLEMEN:—His Honor, Mayor Fiske, has just handed me your valued favor of the 20th instant, conveying a check of eleven hundred and ninety-seven dollars and one cent, for the benefit of the Portsmouth orphans.
Whenever I look back upon the gloomy scenes through which we have so recently passed, and call to mind the zealous benevolence, the noble emulation of men everywhere, in the struggle to be foremost in our behalf—Richmond, her people, her active committee, her maternal care of our orphans, call up our chastest gratitude, and elicit our most guileless thanks. These, let me assure you, though uttered in feeblest accents, are, nevertheless, distinct, heartfelt and undefiled.
I am, very truly,
Your friend and servant
HOLT WILSON, Treasurer of the Portsmouth Relief Association.
To Messrs. R. Archer, J. A. Cowardin and H. K. Ellyson, Committee Richmond, Va.
March 11, 1856 - Southern Argus
The Orphan's Invocation.
My sorrow is no dream—the earth had none
Whose bosom-chords are quivering for me;
If the unending universe bears one,
My mother—oh, my mother! it is then
And since the dark grave veiled thee from my sight
I have endured the loneliness of years;
Then let me gaze on thee this restless night;
Come, I invoke thee with a spell of tears!
I know not of they spirit; sighs float far
To lose themselves amid the shades of spaces;
Thought wanders wildly on from star to star,
But does not reach its final resting place.
Well, let Eternity's strong barriers rise
And mock the madness of my midnight prayer;
For though love rushes to the shadowy skies,
It shall not seek to lure lost light from there.
No, no—I lend a lone and listening ear
When every song-bird's weary wings are furled;
Then speak one word—I will not as to hear
The mournful music of the angel world,
I gaze through darkness, but 'tis not to view
The far off glory of the spirit's shore.
Bring the resistless beauty that I know
Ere life was clouded—I will wish no more
Ah! my mind wanders, for the grave is deep,
And they have laid thee with its lonely dead.
I tremble when the moaning night-wind's sweep
Above that place of silence and of dread;
For icy earth-dews have a fearful power—
They fall on lips and brow to leave no trace,
And not one spell that stirs this haunted house
Can call them from oblivion's dark embrace.
Oh! then if earth or heaven will e'er five back
The beauty and the spirit that have flown,
If none retrace the soul's ethereal track,
If I must bear life and the world alone,
Then let my childhood's dreamy memories wake
And chill the brow or agonize the braid—
I care not though my heaving heart strings break,
For then my lost love will be mine again.
Yet gaze on me, my mother, when day's light
Is fading from the crimson clouds of even,
And when the quivering stars of solemn night
Light the blue loneliness of their far heaven,
And murmur to me, though I fear thee not,
When skies are dark and autumn winds are wild.
Yes, if thy early anguish is forgot,
Pity my own, and smile as thou has smiled.
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.
March 27, 1856 - Southern Argus
Lines written on the death of R. M. C. Young, of Portsmouth, VA,
who departed this life, Sep. 14, 1855, in this city.
Thou are sleeping, lowly sleeping,
Where the winds are moaning by,
Sad and lonely are their dirges,
As above thy head they sigh.
Ceaseless requiems are they singing,
In a weird and mournful strain,
But their wailing sound will never,
Fall upon thy ear again.
Lost to all thy dreams of future,
Withered in their time of spring,
Blissful joyous youth could never,
Ward from thee, the archer's sting.
Yet we know that thou art happy,
That an Angel's harp is thine,
That beyond the deep, deep ether,
Rest they spirit, all divine.
Thou art singing, sweetly singing,
And we would not call thee back,
Would not have thy steps to wander,
O'er life's dark and broken track.
Faretheewell dear friend and cherished,
'Tis a long farewell we say,
We will meet no more forever,
Till the resurrection day. R. M.
March 28, 1856 - Southern Argus
A Case for Public Sympathy
We cannot better subserve the noble purpose of a sorrowing father, than by the publication of the following letter of Governor Wise. The suggestion of the Governor is judicious and we trust that the information sought for will be speedily forwarded, so as to relieve the anxious fears of one who lost a wife and children by the ravages of the yellow fever, and is now by unaccountable circumstances, deprived of the consoling presence of another child.
We request the Virginia papers, especially those at Staunton, and also the Alabama papers, to give circulation to the accompanying facts and to aid the sacred wishes of a bereaved parent.
Richmond, VA, March 24, 1856.
Dear Sir:—The bearer of this, Mr. Sam Bains, is placed under peculiar circumstances, appealing to the sympathy of every feeling heart. The accompanying letter from the Rev. Mr. Hume, addressed to Mr. H. K. Ellyson, touches the fact that he, Mr. Hume, accompanied by Mr. Bains, the father, placed an infant male child, two years old, in charge of the committee of Norfolk and Portsmouth orphans here at Richmond, on the 14th Sept. 1855.—The committee here consisted of Messrs Robert Archer, W. Godd'n, Luther Lib'y, Thos. Dodamead, H. Harall, Chas. __, H. K. Ellyson, Geo. W. Munford, Jno M. Gregory, Jas. A. Cowardin, Jno. P. Ballard, D. H. Landon, Jno. S. Caskie, Jos. Mayo. They, it seems, placed the child, with twenty-seven others at the place provided for them by the committee under care of Mr. Bagby. Strange to say, this child is now lost, and the father has been hunting for it in vain. I advise him to ask those, everywhere, who have taken any of these children, to send a description of them to the papers, in order that he may see who probably has his babe. Please give him a square in your columns to aid his search.
HENRY A. WISE
March 29, 1856 - Southern Argus
Lines on the Death of my Father
Our home is darkened and our hearth is lonely,
A loved one hath departed from our band,
Only those who lose a gentle father, only
Can prize the soft warm pressure of his hand.
The radiant smile that played upon each feature,
His accents of affections, sweet and mild,
As when at eve he called his darling creature,
And said to her "good night," God bless you child.
And such wert thou, my kind and noble pater,
To me thou wast a very household god,
The Oracle, whence issued sweet afflata,
Who spoke with smiles and sanctioned with a nod.
Thus while our hearts with deep warm love upwelling,
Knelt nightly round our own domestic shrine,
A dark-bowed angel passed within our dwelling,
And touched our Idol, whispering "this is mine."
Too late he fled the sick'ning scene of danger,
There purer airs might stay the angel's flight;
Too long he dallied with the fearful stranger,
'Til o'er his spirit came the with'ring blight.
Good night, my father, would I had been near thee—
The last to cool thy brow, and press thy hand;
It had been much, tho' sad, once more to hear thee,
Ere thou hadst passed the bounds of spirit land.
Good night, my father—not as erst, good night,
No morrow's noise can break thy slumbers deep;
Thy chamber is too close, and morning's light
May not invade the grave's deep curtain sleep.
And yet, sweet faith, I deem thou art at rest—
In that far land where blessed angels keep
Their nightly watch—fulfil their high behest,
To guard the spot where souls in Jesus sleep.
April 17, 1856 - Southern Argus
THE BALTIMORE PATRIOT AND OUR CITY.—The following article appears in Tuesday's Patriot, a paper justly held in high estimation and long and widely known as a very ably conducted and dignified journal. Its remarks about our city are just and appropriate, and of course we take pleasure in transferring them to our column.
THE CITY OF NORFOLK
We have just been conversing with a prominent gentleman of Norfolk, member of the Board of Health, and are glad to learn from him, that the city has almost entirely recovered from the effects of that terrible scourge which pressed so heavily and disastrously upon it last summer. Business there is now quite active and daily increasing. Merchants and others have taken good cheer and are favored with a prosperous, healthful trade. Those who were cut off by the fever, are still mourned in melancholy remembrance, leaving an irreparable void in social circles, but others have come to take their places in the busy panorama of life. The spirit of improvement is onward and upward. New buildings are erecting in various directions, stores are opening, whilst commendable enterprise is apparent everywhere. All departments of mechanics, manufactures, and industrial pursuits, are healthful and prosperous. Streets are being opened, repaired, and put in a condition of cleanliness. Especial attention is given by the authorities to all parts of the city, with a view of future healthfulness. No efforts will be spared to effect this most desirable end. Those localities where the epidemic first appeared are receiving unceasing care.
Real estate, we are pleased to learn, has not depreciated as was supposed it would, but on the other hand meets ready sale at full prices. The idea that the fever will again revisit Norfolk this summer, or for many years to come, is not entertained by any. Frightful and impressive as was the scourge last year, the recollection of it seems to have passed, except so far as to admonish towards future cautiousness.
We are glad to know that this state of things exists in our sister city, and shall ever rejoice in being able to chronicle her prosperity.
Norfolk possesses advantages, not only as a southern seaport, but in many other respects, which, when fully appreciated and developed, must place her conspicuously before the world as a commercial emporium.
April 17, 1856 - Southern Argus
Washington, 8th April, '56
Gen. Millson was at his post of duty, (as he always is) when the Deficiency Bill came up yesterday in Committee of the Whole; and obtaining the floor, he briefly addressed the House upon the necessity of the small appropriation asked for the purpose of filling up the Custom House lot in Norfolk. He is thus reported:
The ravages of the terrible epidemic which last summer desolated the city of Norfolk, must be still within the recollection of every member of this House. Its virulence was so great, and its malignity so extraordinary—sweeping away thousands of our most useful and valuable citizens, that it is not strange that there should be a natural anxiety on the part of the citizens of that town to adopt every possible method of preventing its recurrence. The authorities of place have, therefore, adopted those sanitary measures which experience has shown to be necessary. They have called on the owners of property to remove every existing nuisance, and to adopt every precaution by which the return of this pestilence can be avoided.
The board of health of the city of Norfolk have addressed a communication to the superintendent of the new custom-house, now in process of construction. I trust the committee will perceive, by this time, that what I am about to say relates to one of the Senate's amendments to the bill under consideration. I did not indicate my purpose to speak to the bill under consideration at the outset, for fear that so extraordinary an occurrence might be declared to be out of order. The communication addressed by the board of health is in these words:
OFFICE OF BOARD OF HEALTH,
January 26, 1856.
At a meeting of the Board of Health it was ordered that a sunken place on the lot upon which the new custom house is being erected, be filled up and graded, so as to prevent the lodgment and stagnation of water thereon, and that the work hereby required to be done be completed before the first of March next.
THOMAS G. BROUGHTON, Secretary of Board of Health.
John H. Sale, Superintendent of the New Custom-House, Norfolk, Va.,
This communication was sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, who communicated it to the Senate, which body, among other amendments to the deficiency bill, adopted the following:
For filling up and grading the grounds belonging to the custom-house building, Norfolk, Va., $1,000.
Now, sir, I was very much surprised to see that the Committee of Ways and Means in the House had recommended a non-concurrence in this amendment. It seemed to me strange that when hundreds, thousands, and millions of dollars were squandered for almost entirely unnecessary purposes, this inconsiderable appropriation of $1,000 should be reported against—an appropriation not merely for a work of justice, but on of humanity and mercy. Now, I know—I am aware that the Committee of Ways and Means were not apprised of the necessity there in this appropriation.
Mr. Phelps. If the gentleman will yield the floor for a moment I will call the attention of the committee to the amendment of the Senate to the deficiency bill. It is in the following words:
For filling up and grading the grounds belonging to the custom-house, Norfolk, Virginia, $1,000.
The Committee of Ways and Means, through their chairman, recommend that the House nonconcur in that amendment. From the papers submitted to us at the time, the committee acted upon that amendment. It was considered that if the appropriation asked for was necessary at all, it should go in the regular annual appropriation bill, instead of being considered as a deficiency.
With that view of the case the Committee of Ways and Means recommended a non-concurrence in the Senate's amendment. Since this decision of the committee the attention of its members has been called to the objects for which this appropriation was designed. It is found that the appropriation is not only for grading the lot, but for sanitary purposes in the city of Norfolk; and I am satisfied that if a quorum of the committee had been present at the time it would have reviewed its decision. I will inform the gentlemen that while I may represent the Committee of Ways and Means in reporting to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union the decision to which that Committee has arrived, yet I reserve to myself a right as an individual member of the committee to pursue that course I believe right and just. From the information which I have I will give the amendment my cordial support.
Mr. Millson. I am glad to hear it. I shall occupy the attention of the committee but a moment longer to say that it is obviously necessary and proper that this appropriation should be made here, and not in the civil and diplomatic appropriation bill. If it be delayed until the passage of the latter bill, it will be too late. The summer will be upon us. This work must be done; and if it were not done by the Congress of the United States, I undertake to say that the hack drivers of the city of Washington would themselves contribute the money. This generous body of men, which contributed $700 to relieve the distress of the people of Norfolk, would rebuke the parsimony of Congress by contributing this sum of money themselves—that is, if such parsimony could be charged to Congress. I was confident that the Committee of Ways and Means had acted under a misapprehension; that it had recommended a non-concurrence in the Senate's amendment because of the want of information of the reasons for which it was asked; for I cannot believe, when it is recollected that the people represented by the gentlemen here—the people of the whole country—during the last season, contributed freely and generously hundred of thousands of dollars to relieve the suffering sick of Norfolk—that gentlemen here would haggle about a pitiful appropriation of $1,000 to abate a nuisance in that city. I cannot believe it. We all recollect with gratitude the hearty liberality of the people of United States. It was unexampled; it was unprecedented; and I take this occasion to say that the outpourings of the people of every section of the Union—in the North, in the South, in the East and in the West—have bound to them the people whom I represent by ties of affection and gratitude more strong than hooks of steel.
I am glad to find that I was not wrong in my supposition that the committee came to it conclusion only from the want of full information.
Mr. Zollicoffer obtained the floor, but yielded it to
Mr. Cox, who moved that the committee rise.
The motion was agreed to.
So the committee rose; and the Speaker having resumed the chair, the Chairman reported that the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union had, according to order, had the Union generally under consideration, and particularly the amendments of the Senate to the deficiency bill, and had come to no resolution thereon.
April 23, 1856 - Southern Argus
A Story of the Plague
Extracts from the advance sheets of Blythe Landsdale, or
Gleanings from the Field of the Pestilence
By Fanny Fielding
(Copy right secured.)
A Portion of the Introduction.
It having been hinted that a book gotten up embracing some of the incidents connected with the ravages of a fearful pestilence which desolated this city during the past summer would be a popular claimant for public favor, and as no prescribed mode has been set forth for the embodiment of those mournful reminiscences, it is hoped that these gleanings comprised in the history of a heretofore unwritten life may not prove altogether unacceptable.
If, in "Blythe Landsdale," any or many of the readers of this narrative imagine they have the life likeness of one who breathes and moves among them—but like that far-famed bird of olden story, "keep up a wondrous thinking" if, on the other hand, there are those who consign my heroine to the realms of fancy creation, we shall not quarrel—let each receive her as it pleases him best whether "in the flesh or in the spirit."
To Miss Annie M. Andrews, whose "angel mission to the plague stricken city" placed her in possession of many of the facts narrated in this little history, the writer expresses her indebtedness for the gratuitous kindness and courtesy by which they were furnished.
"Peace, little Blythe! My poor mis-named and miserable child! The wind howls gloomily around these sashless windows, and the snow flakes are falling thick and fast upon us; but there is a safe home for me, and for you, my baby, near at hand. There, let the rains come and the winter winds whistle. They are not half so cold as we shall be, although, oh wondrous mystery! we suffer not. And the haggard woman hugged her babe to her bosom, and wept wildly.
Patience, mourner;—live on in your misery and dream of that haven of rest,—not in the sunny churchyard through which in your girldays light footsteps brushed away the dew each Sabbath morning,—where you thought, ere earth's loves or cares came into your heart, early to have laid you;—not in the green shady square of a flowery garden, known long after;—but in the "Strangers' Burial Ground," where the houseless and the homeless dream to find rest,—where reckless feet grind pauper dust beneath them—hope thou there to lay down life's sorrows, but yet be patient.
It is not known to you, oh suffering Mother, that the frail little form which you clasp, for whose emancipation you are hourly praying, is yet to shed Angel-glory upon earth; but now I see some good spirit has looked forth upon you from those young eyes and gently whispered—Bide ye His time "Who doeth all things well," and the rebellions flash has gone from a wild eye quenched by that repentant tear which says—"Thy will be done."
Dark days—more dark days are coming—can you still alter the Angel-prayer? God knoweth. . . .
There is an unseen hand which holds the helm of your little adventurers back, and there is a wild tempestuous sea ahead and clouds and storms are gathering still.—"In pity spare!" cries short sighted affection—"tempt not the fretful tide with freight so precious!"
Hush!—the little life-voyager has gone forth with tidings of good, and for every soul gained unto him,—sealed with his seal whose name is truth, a new jewel shall be added to her own crown. For every tear wept in secret,—for every sigh repressed, for every joy foregone,—for every sacrifice of self to his cause, there is entered a new sentence in letters of gold upon the registry of heaven. Pray not, therefore, that the cup pass away:—
The cross here—the crown hereafter.
April 24, 1856 - Southern Argus
THE MONUMENT - Suitable efforts have been made, and will be continued, to raise sufficient funds for the erection of a handsome and imposing monument to the memory of those heroic men, the physicians, ministers and others of our city who nobly fell at their posts during the fearful scourge of last year, and it is very properly suggested that the column be placed in a public place.
We think the situation that would be deemed most appropriate, by the citizens generally, is the centre of the front part of City Hall Square. Let it stand there upon its solid base, in full view from the harbor, and easy of access by all who may wish to see the sad and lasting evidence of the heartfelt gratitude of our people deeply inscribed with the names of the heroes who gloriously fell at their posts, while toiling on fearlessly amid the arrows of death that flew every way, as it were, from the "fleshless hand" of the stern and relentless rider on the "pale horse."
April 24, 1856 - Southern Argus
FUNDS FOR THE ORPHANS - We have been favored by Augustus B. Cooke, Esq., President of the Howard Association, with an inspection of a parchment deed of settlement, by the Philadelphia Relief Committee, of the balance remaining in their hands from their original magnificent collections on behalf of the sufferers by the Yellow Fever in Norfolk, as a permanent fund for the surviving orphans now under the charge of the Howard Association.
This balance amounts to $1600, and it has been invested in Philadelphia city scrip, in the name of Thomas Webster, Jr., Esq., (chairman of the Phila. committee) as trustee, the annual profits to be dispensed under the direction of the Howard Association of Norfolk. This fund will prove a perpetual reminiscence of the exalted magnificence of the charitable Philadelphians in the terrible summer of 1855.
There are now 53 orphans under charge of the Howard Association. A fine, intelligent band of juvenile proteges, they do credit to their judicious and devoted matron Mrs. M. A. White.
April 24, 1856 - Southern Argus
MEETING OF THE MEDICal FACULTY.—At a meeting of the Medical Faculty of the City of Norfolk, held on the evening of the 9th of April, 1856, at the Hall of the Aid Fire Company, on motion of Dr. R. B. Tunstall, Dr. D. M. Wright was called to the Chair, and Dr. E. D. Granier was appointed Secretary.
The Chairman then explained the object of the meeting in the following appropriate and touching remarks, a copy of which he kindly consented to give the Secretary for publication, at the solicitation of all present.
I am deeply sensible of the honor conferred on me, in being called to preside over your deliberations on an occasion of such melancholy interest.
We have assembled gentlemen to commemorate the noble deeds, and pay a tribute of respect, to the memory of those fearless and faithful spirits, who, sacrificing themselves on the altar of duty, fell nobly battling in the cause of humanity. Generous and faithful custodians of the public health, when the shrieks and dying groans in our sister city announced the close approach of the invisible foe; whilst with wise precaution and sagacious foresight they admonished all who could to fly, themselves stood firm and steadfast at their post.
Soon the voice of the gallant "UPSHUR" is heard, proclaiming the enemy on our shore, and the deadly conflict begun.
The insatiate Archer, as if vengeful of the efforts made by our skillful and heroic friends to arrest his fatal progress, with partial aim directed his poisoned shafts against the ranks of our profession. Swift the fatal arrow sped, and one by one in rapid succession those dauntless heroes fell.
Amongst the earliest victims of the dread Destroyer, was the venerable "SYLVESTER."— Prudent, sagacious, and eminently practical, a discerning public had justly placed him in the front ranks of his profession.
He was quickly followed by his son, Dr. RICHARD SYLVESTER, a young gentleman of amiable disposition and fine attainments. He had but recently entered upon the stern and arduous duties of his profession, but his zeal and industry, with his superior natural abilities, gave promise of much future usefulness.
Him, next follows the brave CONSTABLE, than whom none contended with the enemy more manfully, or met death with greater philosophic calmness.
The kind and gentle HALSON next falls.—Pure in sentiment, cultivated in tastes, with a mind enriched by years of study and contemplation, he was at once an honor to the profession, and an ornament to society.
The intelligence of the death of the indefatigable HIGGINS is next received. Stern and resolute, yet kind and sympathetic, he seemed the man for the occasion, but the rugged oak is oft the first to yield to the furious storm.
Nor the vigor of youth, nor the maturity of manhood proved a barrier to the Parthian arrow of the Destroyer, and soon the youthful BRIGGS is numbered with the dead. Then snapped the silken cords which else had drawn him to other and far happier scenes, and yielded his life to a stern and manly sense of duty.
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.
The ranks of the profession had now been thinned by disease and death to less than one-fourth of their original number. Still the pestilence raged with unabated fury. The Angel of Death still hovers over our devoted city, other victims are demanded, and he who first proclaimed the enemy's approach, he who battled so manfully, so successfully, and for a time single-handed—he, the gifted, gallant UPSHUR, falls.
Scarcely had the public mind recovered from the shock which the death of one so admired, so beloved had occasioned, when again the fountains of grief are burst asunder by the overwhelming intelligence of the death of Dr. HENRY SELDEN.
Though comparatively a young man, Dr. Henry Selden had already acquired much professional distinction. Thoroughly educated, with a mind peculiarly adapted to his profession, with all those high moral qualities which command respect and secure esteem, and with manners peculiarly bland and attractive, it were difficult to imagine that such an one could fall short of eminence. In his death science mourns the loss of one of her most gifted and promising sons.
Such, gentlemen, is the lengthened list of those whose sad fate we are called on to deplore.
The heart swells with pride at the contemplation of their heroic conduct, and the annals of our profession will be enriched by a record of their names and their deeds.
But, gentlemen, whilst we mourn the loss of those whom a personal acquaintance, and long professional intercourse had endeared to us, we are not unmindful of those noble strangers, who in the hour of need, when the cry of distress was borne on every breeze, with a generous sympathy above all praise came promptly to our relief, and sacrificed their lives in their noble efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the afflicted.
A tear to their memory. Long, long will it remain embalmed in the hearts of a grateful community.
On motion of Dr. Moore, it was received that a committee of seven be appointed by the Chair to draft Preamble and Resolutions for the consideration of the meeting. The following gentlemen were appointed by the Chair, Drs. Moore, Selden, Cowery, Tunstall, Campbell, Holmes and Marsh, who after a short recess reported the following Preamble and Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.
Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, in his wisdom, to remove from among us a number of our professional brethren, in the midst of their usefulness and while in the active discharge of duties of the most exalted and responsible character, displaying a heroism such as in no age or county has ever been surpassed, if equaled; and as it is at all times proper to commemorate noble deeds whenever and wherever seen; and as a moral courage, a humane, charitable, disinterested and self sacrificing spirit was displayed by our lamented professional brethren in the most appalling Pestilence which history records, this conduct on their part being to us a just cause of professional pride;—and whereas the labor and exertions imposed upon them was an appeal to the profession throughout the country for assistance, which was cheerfully and heroically responded to by our professional brethren from abroad, who, losing sight of themselves in the distress which surrounded us, came to us in our time of need and devoted themselves at the peril of their lives to the great work of relieving and of ministering to the sick; Therefore, be it
Resolved, That while we bow in humble submission to the will of Him in whose hands are the issues of Life and Death—we lament and mourn with unfeigned sorrow, the loss to us and the country of some of the brightest ornaments our profession claimed, and that we will cherish the memory of Sylvester, Higgins, Halson, Selden, Upshur, Constable, Tunstall and Briggs of our own Physicians with feelings of professional pride, as well as the memory of Gebhart [Gelbardt], Gooch, Thompson, Craycroft, Fliess, Booth, Howe, [Marshall], Kierson, Blow, Handy, Smith, Jackson, DeBerche, Schell, Obermuller, Berry, Dillard, Capry and Schissinger, those noble spirits, who came to our assistance from abroad.
Resolved, That we will wear the usual badge of mourning for the period of thirty days, as a token of respect and affection for those of our profession who have fallen in the late epidemic.
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to wait upon the committee appointed by our fellow-citizens to have a monument erected to the memory of the Physicians, Ministers, Apothecaries, Nurses and others who fell in the late epidemic, and request that the monument be erected in or near some public thoroughfare, that it may be seen by us in our every day walks and by those who visit us, and that it may serve to keep in our minds their noble deeds and thereby stimulate us to emulate them.
Resolved, That we hereby offer our sincere and heartfelt sympathies, to the families of those of our own and visiting Physicians who fell martyrs in the cause of humanity, and pray that He who "tempers the wind to the shorn Lamb" will comfort them in their affliction with that comfort which He alone can give.
Resolved, That the Secretary of this meeting be requested to furnish the families of those Physicians who fell in the late epidemic with a copy of these resolutions with such remarks as he may deem proper.
On motion of Dr. Tunstall the following resolution was adopted—
Resolved, That our City Councils be and are hereby requested to vote some testimonial or token to those Physicians, Apothecaries, Nurses and others who visited us and gave us their services in the recent epidemic, and whose lives were spared as an acknowledgement of their valuable services and heroic conduct.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to the Chairman and Secretary.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to the Aid Fire Company for the use of their Hall.
Resolved, That the city papers be requested to publish the proceeding of this meeting.
D. M. WRIGHT, M. D., Chairman, E. D. GRANIER, M. D., Secretary.
April 30, 1856 - Southern Argus
ENGLAND AND THE ORPHANS.—It will be seen by notice in another column, that G. P. R. James, Esq., H. B. M. Consul for Virginia, has been directed by the Earl of Clarendon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to distribute a thousand dollars among those societies which protected and relieved the orphans of British parents during the late pestilence in this city and in Portsmouth.
This is a generous and praiseworthy act, and speaks well for the heart of a mighty Nation. The amount is small, but is deemed sufficient, and shows that noble and generous impulses are felt by those in high authority. Amid the excitement attending the close of a great war, after the fierce conflict of powerful armies, after the roar of the last great gun has boomed angrily, the last drop of blood have gushed and gurgled, and the last deep groan of agony has died away upon the ensanguined shores of the Baltic; while the council fires are lighted up, and the stern old war chiefs are solemnly deliberating upon the great peace treaty, the little ones bereaved by the merciless scourge are not forgotten. The cry of the distant and lonely orphan of British parents is not unheeded. This tells of sympathetic hearts in high places—of refinement, humanity, and civilization. It revives the Christian's hope for the time when the "nations shall learn war no more;" when the strong and ample line-of-battle ships shall be used to transport the messengers of peace to benighted lands; when the death dealing Minnie rifles and the black-throated-56 pounders shall stand rusting and useless; when the battle strife shall be over for ever, and songs of joy, and peace, and love shall be heard from hill to hill and echo in tones of gladness from every corner of the peopled earth.
May 1, 1856 - Southern Argus
A Forthcoming Work.
Blythe Landsdale; or Gleanings from the field of the Pestilence. By Fanny Fielding.
We are indebted to the talented authoress for the pleasure we have derived from the perusal of some of the advance sheets of this highly interesting work.
We know of no period in modern or even ancient history, from which material could be more easily obtained for writing a deeply-thrilling story, than the fearful summer of '55 in our own city. The events of the epidemic were extraordinary, and calculated to develop the heretofore hidden characters of individuals. It brought out all the heroism, the piety, the charity and unselfishness, as well as all the levity, the brutality, the licentiousness, and the sensuality of human nature. While it discovered in some the noblest generosity and self-sacrifice, it displayed in others the selfishness and cowardice of frail humanity in its most revolting form.
The authoress having made herself perfectly familiar with all the heart-appalling incidents that transpired during that terrible march of the conqueror death through our city, when a mighty nation stood aghast at the spectacle of such unparalleled slaughter, has given to the literary world a production that will be of deep interest to every reader, but especially to those in any way connected with Norfolk.
We shall give tomorrow an extract from this work.
May 1, 1856 - Southern Argus
SANITARY.—A great deal has been done to improve the sanitary condition of our city; but much still remains to be done. The streets are generally in a good condition, many private lots have been properly attended to, some of the docks have been dug out and deepened, and the ditch through the marsh at the head of the back creek, between Granby and Brewer street is being cleaned out and widened.—The work of cleansing and renovating generally, is to go on vigorously. We therefore need entertain no fears about the fever, provided the quarantine regulations be early and firmly enforced. Indeed, we are far beyond the latitude in which the yellow fever originates, and we are prepared to prove to the satisfaction of any reasonable man, that the disease was introduced here last year by the Ben Franklin. Our city has been healthy, proverbially so for thirty years, excepting the cholera, which made but little distinction as to place.
In 1821, when there was some fever here, it was shown that foreign vessels brought it, and there is no good reason to fear a return of the disease here the coming summer. With regard to the weather, there have been seasons like that of last summer—hot, damp, and sultry; and the condition of the city last year was no worse than it was formerly. Let all apprehensions of any epidemic be dismissed.
A gentleman now in the city, from a northern State, who has examined the sanitary condition of things here, avers that it is far better, even now, than that of others elsewhere, and that Norfolk may be justly said to be a clean city, and remarkably free from bad odors, filth, and other objectionable features in this respect. The streets are paved, generally wide and airy, and the people look as rosy and healthful as those among the mountains of the interior.
May 2, 1856 - Southern Argus
Selections From a Forthcoming Work.
Below we give a Chapter, the second of Blythe Landsdale, or Gleaning from the Field of the Pestilence. By Fanny Fielding. It is a new light upon the early life of the heroine and is entitled
Do you have sunny days now, Belle Ashton, in that cottage by the sea side? And yet you might have had.
Aye, but for the evil one, who walks yet upon earth to try the souls of men.
There was a broad expanse of blue and sparkling water, there were "roses red and white" climbing by the windows, a sweet brier and a honeysuckle upon the rustic porch, and there were green lawns and white palings, and stalwart trees through which the summer wind loved to whisper its secrets. There were hollyhocks with gay blossoms—crimson, yellow, pink and white, and Herbert, Kate and Alie were there, and they had happy times gathering the flowers and following the shadows of the tall elm trees, from side to side of the smoothly shaved lawn.
A Country Attorney's practice, most likely would never have yielded him a fortune, but Walter Landsdale had talent, genius, many thought, was popular in the community, and must rise, people said. The law not the chasm which was to engross all hope of promise belonging to the lot of those with whom he had to do, and ere they had marked the mournful change, the light from her eyes, the joy from her soul, had gone out forever.
Had he then cast her affection as a worthless thing beneath his feet?
Not avowedly so—ah no! He dreamed not for many a year that he was less himself in appreciation of the devotedness than when from her far-off home he took her to be the star of his own fireside.
Changed was he—and still unconscious of change? Listen to yonder maniac in the asylum of ___, is he cognizant of any change in the inner man, when during his lucid intervals he speaks so beautifully, so feeling of her he loved?—but alas! that fond remembrance flitting with meteor ray across his darkened brain, only adds agony to sorrow when she reflects that the steady light of reason shall never illumine his mental sky again.
Were it not mercy in Heaven to remove such, ere the dark memories overshadow the sunshine? Let my dear ones be taken from me; but let me remember them as loved and loving to the last.—The changeless in Heaven,—far, far better than the changed upon earth.—Yes, take me Father, while the sunlight of love circles round my name,—take me ere I have made winter in one heart to which my coming should have brought the spring-time.
One by one Belle Landsdale saw the years wane at the Cottage, and one by one as other lights departed—the manly Herbert, the laughing Kate and the gentle Alie were gathered to their fathers.
She is content, she said,—to give Alie up to God—she was born an Angel, fair and frail, but Herbert and Kate—how hard!—They could have battled with life—could have won, and used no harsher weapons than kind words and deed and their own ready smiles.
At intervals there were other little faces shining in upon the circle, and little forms so, so lithe and soft, but they did not flourish there:—one light less at the fireside,—one mound more in the green grave yard:—grief upon earth, gladness in Heaven, and one by one they were gone. . . .
Other men and their wives and their children have tenanted the sea-side cottage and some of them have passed away. The flowers planted by little hands, long since gone to dust, have told no story to them, and nought breaths of those passed away save the little half-hidden grave-stones in a grassy garden-square. Specified in the deed of conveyance as "secured, with perpetual right of way thereto and from, to Walter Landsdale and his heirs forever." . . . .
"Will you keep that brat quiet, or will you let me throttle it?"
One half hour before the miserable wife and mother would almost have considered the cruel threat a temptation to rid herself and child of a loathsome burthen; now, she choked down the bitter retort which rose angrily to her lip, and laid the half-starving babe tenderly to her bosom. The mute voice which had been speaking from the depths of those pure eyes, had not been forgotten.
May 3, 1856 - Southern Argus
Cedar Grove and Elmwood Cemeteries.
Yesterday was a delightful day, a May morning shower laid the dust and cooled the atmosphere, and yet it was sufficiently warm at mid day for summer clothes. We took a stroll to the cemeteries in order to view the elegant and tasteful monuments that Friendship and Love, have erected, to those who have lately left us for the spirit world.
It was lovely in Cedar Grove yesterday, scarcely a new made grave could be seen, and although through the prudence of our citizens additional earth has lately been heaped on the graves of those who were buried last summer, yet the grass is fast covering them, and the graveyard looks as smooth, and verdant as a villa lawn; the cedars too are luxuriant and the rose bushes and other shrubs are blooming and blossoming, and casting a fragrance around. There was a calm and stillness about the place that fascinated us, no where did we see in either cemetery, the grave digger plying his spade,—there was no noise, save the singing of the birds, that crowded the cedar trees. We saw very many beautiful monuments of which we shall hereafter give an account.
To Mr. Hawkins much credit is due, for the great attention and care he has expended, in keeping in the best order Cedar Grove, Elmwood and Potters Field. Great care has been taken by him to cover well the graves, to prevent all apprehension of danger, and that he has more than succeeded we can testify.
May 5, 1856 - Southern Argus
Memorial of the Rev. Wm. M. Jackson.
Messrs. Vickery & Griffith have laid on our table "A sketch of the Life of the Rev. Wm. M. Jackson, late rector of St. Paul's Church, Norfolk, Va." By the Rev. Geo. D. Cummins, rector of Trinity Church, Washington, D.C.—This beautiful tribute to the lamented Mr. Jackson, so well known and so much beloved among us, by one so long his co-laborer in the cause of Christ in this city, is very appropriate.
The work is just what was wanted by the friends of the deceased, a short and truthful sketch of his life. The book is so well written that had no names been mentioned, every acquaintance of Mr. Jackson who reads it, would know for whom it is intended.
May 27, 1856 - Southern Argus
"AND SUCH IS LIFE"—It is unpleasant to many minds to know of instances of suffering and distress; but it is well, occasionally, at least, to remind those who are blessed with health, wealth and happiness, of some who are struggling with poverty and absolute want.
A widow lady whose husband died during the fever, was left, like many others, in a destitute and dependent condition, with four children, three girls and boy, the latter a delicate infant now ill. This lady was very attentive to the sick and suffering last summer; since which time the struggle with want and destitution has been constant and painful.—Toiling day and night with her needle, she receives on an average $2.50 per week, or at the rate of about $130 a year, and yet she and her children live; but how they are fed, clothed, sheltered, and warmed, we leave for others to imagine if they can.
June 6, 1856 - Southern Argus
"My beloved has gone into His garden to gather lilies." (Solomon's song.)
Some one has beautifully named the cemetery for the dead, "God's Acre." Our acre God has highly cultivated; lilies and laurels are there, for He sent to the South for the bay, the palm, and the palmetto; and to the North for trees of the brave old oak; and He went into his garden, the Church, and gathered lilies, and planted them also, that all might grow, together without goodly cedar and elm, and become branches of one vine, that Earth may know that her soil is free for all His branches.
Is there no balm from Gilead there? Are there no Physicians there? Echo sadly answers— "Physicians there."
A few months ago, the good, the beautiful, and brave, dropped like the ripe olive, and in death were gathered there, like the gleaned grapes when the vintage was done.
Now, our Spring birds sing all the braver and better in that sweet garden spot of the Old Dominion, for being in such brave, good company. Sing, for the beams of your houses are cedar, and the rafting the elm, the oak, and the bay. Sing, for you know nothing of sin and death. You are fulfilling, not prostrating, the object of life; and when we shall have passed from the power of sin and the grave, we will join thy chorus of praise. But sing now for those who are dead, and keep your saddest song for the living, who are left without heart to sing for themselves, for God has gone into His garden and gathered lilies. The rich perfume of the flowers are with Him; the broken stems are ours only.
In one of my many rambles over God's Acre, two of these little birds alighted close to my feet, from a tree near by, as fearless of me as if I too were one of the dead, over whom all the bird kind were caroling so carelessly. It was a slight mistake for birds to make; it was a slight mistake for any one to make, for sickness and pain are fast fashioning me for that rest which remaineth for the people of God, and I am now as unable as I am unwilling to harm one of these little feathered favorites, as if I had already entered into that rest. They seemed to confer sensibly together—then looked up to me, and I took that look for an invitation to remain. They then separated, and hopped lightly on two white marble monuments, which covered the remains of sweet sisters; and then, with every diapason, every stop in their little organs out, they sang as only birds could sing, with such an audience.
Oh! memory how vividly then did you picture the past; like the moving scenes of a faithful diorama you presented and passed to each and every well remembered scene, in which these sweet sisters appeared, clothed in the Beauty of Holiness. I knew them as Charity, teaching the poor of our City. I recognized them as Faith, entering the doors of our Church, and again heard their soft voices, in notes of praise, warbling as bird like as these their feathered representatives. Truly God has gone into His garden and gathered lilies.
These were three Sisters, two are not, but Hope still lives in our City. She has put aside her harp, for the anchor, for there are now too many strings broken in her home.
To us, the good, the beautiful and brave dead are as water spilled on the ground—to Him the Father of our Spirits, they are as water gathered into the "river of the Water of Life." To us they are dead flowers, but alive unto Him, who giving life to all flowers, and to every petal its own perfume, points us to Himself, as the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley. E. T.
June 26, 1856 - Southern Argus
LIGHTNING AND EPIDEMICS.—Professor Webster of Portsmouth, in his reply to a statement of Mr. Meriam of Brooklyn, relative to the effect of electricity on epidemics, says:
"The writer of this was in Portsmouth until the 30th of August, 1855, and he is confident that there was not a flash of lightning seen or peal of thunder heard during that month, and very little during July, June and May."
Without entering into the controversy, we will just state, for the information of those interested in the matter, that this location was visited on Friday, 17th August, 1855, with a very severe and exciting electric display.—There were some brilliant flashes of lightning, and the peals of thunder were very loud and startling. The large and handsome building at the Fair grounds, not half a mile from the city, was struck by the fluid, and, with the handsome structure on the north side, took fire and was consumed. On the 31st of July there was one of the most terrific thunder storms at Hampton and Old Point ever witnessed, and extending thence a considerable distance south in the direction of this city, though spending its violence and fury before reaching our immediate locality. Vessels in the Roads were struck by the lightning, and one or two persons killed.
June 28, 1856 - Southern Argus
GENEROUS PHILADELPHIA.—Thomas Webster, Jr., Esq., Chairman of the Philadelphia Relief Committee, has written a final letter to Holt Wilson, Esq., Secretary of the Portsmouth Orphan Asylum, replete with charitable sentiments, from which we make the following extracts:
"I take pleasure in remitting to you by this mail, as per register from the post office, a Deed of Trust from myself as trustee for the citizens of Philadelphia, to yourself and Dr. George W. Peete, officers of Portsmouth Orphan Asyulm, conveying to you, for said Asylum, in trust for the benefit of orphan children of your place, seventeen hundred dollars of the Philadelphia six per cent. loan, as per certificate, dated 26th January last and enclosed there with a power of attorney to transfer said stock to the Portsmouth Orphan Asylum.—Should your Asylum accept said trust in all its provisions, please have the deed entered in the proper office of record, and advise me accordingly.
"I certainly trust that your city may forever be spared a revisitation of the dreadful scourge. Should, however, calamity, disease and suffering again ravage and desolate your firesides, our community, true to its natural sympathies, will generously respond to the cry of distress."