Wednesday, October 8, 2003
I've Been Thinking, Historical Account of the Montgomery Area
by Narcissa Martin Boulware
Terror in Navasota
Medicine during the westward expansion was primitive and ineffective, a tragic and colossal failure. Dr. W.M. Campbell a Parker County physician who graduated from Vanderbilt Medical College around 1890 says, "I didn't know a thing in the world about medicine and I didn't know anybody that did. I never knew a single teacher that knew the cause of a single disease."
Medicine was given in shameful ignorance. Doctoring was very crude.
I was searching the Montgomery, Grimes and Magnolia history books trying to trace the first owners of my little family cemetery and saw the Grimes County account of the two terrible epidemics that hit all these areas in 1866 and 1867. The entire area was in total shock and terrible poverty and need; the next year after the war was over. The first disease to hit was Cholera. By all accounts to the three areas, Montgomery, Navasota and Anderson, as well as Magnolia. Strange as it seems Cholera deaths occurred most frequently in the black population. While struggling with a way to make a living and the fight against Cholera, the next year 1867 saw the people struck with Yellow Fever epidemic. (Let me note here according to the account of the tragedy in the town of Navasota "Only a very few Negroes died of Yellow Fever." This seems strange to me, they were all human, they lived together ate the same food, went to the same doctors, traveled the same roads, but died separately).
There was a Dr. Kilpatrick in Navasota and he wrote to a letter to a New Orleans newspaper asking the paper to publish the list and dates of the deaths of so many people in such a short time, as either a warning or notice to the rest of the world.
The town of Navasota had a population of about 3000 people. The first death known to be Yellow Fever happened on August 5, 1867. Then there was one on August 9th, 15th, 16th, and 19th. Then there were two deaths on the 24th, one being a doctor. Two died on Aug. 26th, one on the 27th, two on the 28th, one on the 30th, and one on the 31st. at this point the article says that perhaps half the population left the city, including the Mayor which left the city government non-existent.
The deaths in September were two on the 1st, five on the 2nd, three on the 3rd, one on the 6th, ten on the 4th, three on the 5th, one on the 6th, ten on the 7th, eight on the 8th, fifteen on the 9th, six on the 10th, four on the 11th, three on the 12th & 13th, seven on the 14th & 15th in all account in September there were 126 people who died. In October there were 43 who died, and most were children. In November there were 14. The account says the Yellow Fever raged on until there was what the article called a "Killing Frost" on the 29th of November ending the epidemic. There were a total of 178 people dying a death known to be Yellow Fever in one community. When it was over, the town with a population of 3000 had been reduced to about 400.
The faithful doctor, a Dr. Baylor, worked night and day for his flock, took the fever himself and administered to himself by going home that night, took a cup of castor oil, wrapped himself in a blanket and after a 24 hour period had sweated the fever out of his body and went back caring for the sick and dying.
This was the story all over our part of Texas. Here in Montgomery I have passed by the Womack Cemetery on the Old Plantersville Road and read the tombstone account of the death of the Womack father and his two babies, all buried in the same grave, with one tombstone and Womack's mother-in-law beside them.
haven't found chapter 2
Notify Administrator about this message?
|Home | Help | About Us | Site Index | Jobs | PRIVACY | Affiliate|
|© 2007 The Generations Network|