Va.) Portsmouth Relief Association (Portsmouth.

Report of the Portsmouth Relief Association to the contributors of the fund for the relief of Portsmouth, Virginia, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in that town in 1855 ... together with a sketch of the fever, etc.,etc online

. (page 1 of 28)
Online LibraryVa.) Portsmouth Relief Association (PortsmouthReport of the Portsmouth Relief Association to the contributors of the fund for the relief of Portsmouth, Virginia, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in that town in 1855 ... together with a sketch of the fever, etc.,etc → online text (page 1 of 28)
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ortsmoutb leM Association

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FOR Till.


DrniNT, tup:

jprcbalcnte of the iUlloto MtX tn that I oiun in 1855;




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H. K ELLYSON'S vii am FOWEfi PB1 •■ main 9TBEET.






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W. \'> !Vi;|i I.V HIM

V i OLE How ' \rioN


• I). I». i r him



rot' J. .V. ScHOOI.FIK:

01 8. T. fl CPBNDITO&B8

Prockk: no: Common Council


Sketch of tub \ I-'kvek. by De. -I V S ilfiexd '■'■


\ iN 1 - * <



. OF VOL. I •


James G. HoUiADAt's statement





ports m o u t lj |\cliff Association.

1). D l'lSKK.







' 1!). 33d I , for John I.arh, rend John Lash.

Page lit, 30th line, for Jordan Sparren, read Jordan Sparrow— make samp correction pagej
23 a-

99d line, for church, read check.
Page 23, 31th line, for N. Schoolfield, read J. N. Schoolfield.
Page 27, 17th line, for F. Montserral, read F. Montserrate.
Page 29, 39th line, for Thos. Brook, Jr., read Thos. Brooks, Jr.
Page 34, 33d line, for Adington, read Ahingdon.
Page 35, 10th lino, for Francis Minserrate, read Francis Montserrate.
44th line, for H. S. Shappner, read H. S. Shaffner.
Ith line, for Dr. Aspull, read Dr. Aspell.
Page 40, •.' r. Hardy, read Rev. Mr. Handy.

! line, for Dr. McClorkey, read Dr. McCloskey.
Page 63, 7th line, for Portland §7 33, read Portland $733 00.

64, 51st hne, for Surry $-.26 65, read Surry $20 66.
Page 64, 15th line 2d column, for Forestville $133, read Forestville ?10J.



Of thb Portsmouth Kn.u.i Association to che Contributors
for the Relief of the Sufferers prom Xellow Fever,
in tiii: Town of Portsmoi hi, di ring mi. Epidemic of 1855.

Tin: Association, in bringing to a rinse the labors volun-
tarily assumed by them, desire, for the gratification of
those who contributed so freely towards the relief of their
suffering fellow-citizens during the late epidemic, to make
an exposition of the manner in which they executed the
trust thus self-imposed. At a time when the town was
nearly deserted by her panic-stricken inhabitants, and few,
very few, were left to minister to the necessities of the sick
and th<- Buffering — when a quorum of the Council of the
town could n^t be had — when the merchant had left his
counting-room and tin- mechanic his work-shop — the under-
signed — nearly all of whom holding official relations to the
municipal affairs of the town, acting in concert a- a Relief
Association, hut at first without regular organization —
undertook the management of matters, designed and calcu-
lated to relieve the distresses of her people.

Before rendering an account of the mode in which the
duty, thus assumed, was performed by them, it is their
wish to return to the generous and noble-minded contribu-
tors towards the relict' of their suffering fellow-citizens, the
grateful and heartfelt thanks of the whole community. It
gives them pleasure to express the gratitude they feel for
the great and many benefits the people of Portsmouth have
received from the numerous, liberal and benevolent citizens,

ttered all over the country, who. in time of Bickness and

Buffering and death, remembered the poor and the needy,

and ministered t.. their necessitii

It is impossible to realize what measure of distress tin?

dire calamity which befel our town would have inflicted
" 2


upon her inhabitants, without the timely aid so abundantly
poured in upon us by friends everywhere. Their generous
contributions alone afforded the means of keeping gaunt
famine from our midst, and enabled us to supply food to
appease the pangs of hunger, which otherwise could not
have been alleviated.

How sublime a eulogium on the character of our institu-
tions and our people, did this spontaneous outpouring of
benevolence in behalf of a plague-stricken city, present !
The citizens of every section of our country — the old and
the young, as well as little children — people of all shades of
politics and religion, simultaneously and without concert,
joined in the holy charity which was to furnish food and
comfort to a dying community ! When our wants became
known — and they w T ere by no means few, or small — there
was not a day on which supplies of money, provisions,
medicines, and necessaries of all kinds, were not flowing in
upon us.

In this connection, it may not be invidious to refer to the
very great sacrifices made by the Baltimore Steam Packet
Company for our relief. At an enormous pecuniary loss
they kept up a constant communication with Baltimore, and
free of all charge, transported to our town the physicians,
nurses and provision sent to our succor. The positive assu-
rance of the enterprising and intelligent President of the
Company, M. N. Falls, was given, that the line should be
kept in operation ; and for days and weeks and months, the
free use of their boats was kindly afforded to us. And the
Seaboard and Koanoke Railroad Company, through their
faithful president, Dr. Wm. Collins, now, alas ! no more —
dead in the discharge of his duty to the Company and the
place of his birth — should not be unremembered for the very
liberal policy displayed by them. But we will not particu-
larize further, for, when all did so well, it is impossible to
make a distinction.

Assistance was not alone furnished us in provisions and


money. When the call for personal help went forth, '>ur
erics were heard ami nobly responded to. [ntelligenl ami
philanthropic physicians, kind and Bkilful nurses, and -^ < • 1 1 -
He, sympathizing women flocked to our relief. They knew
the danger the} were about to encounter, bni thai did not
cause them t" hesitate, Intent onl) on ministering to the
wants of sick ami Buffering humanity, all thoughl of danger
to self was discarded, ami vigorously ami nobly did they
battle with the plague-fiend— -some to tall, to rise no more
until the sounding of the last trump ' .Martyrs to human-
ity ! Exemplars of heroism ! They Tell more nobly than
if cut down on the battle-field amid the pomp and circum-
stance of war. No martial strains or loud huzzas cheered
them in their labors. Nothing hut the shrieks of the suf-
fering and the groans of the dying saluted their ears.
Noiselessly and without applause, save that afforded by a
consciousness of their holy mission, they followed in the
track of the pestilence, rendering all the aid to its victims
which an arduous course of theory had placed at their com-

To the Genera] Government — to the President of the
United States the Secretary of the Navy, ami the Chief of
the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, are our people under
obligations tor their ready assent to the requesl of a com-
mittee of our citizens for the use of the United states Naval
Hospital. Fortunate, indeed, was it for our town that the

use . . t" this noble institution was secured — fortunate that the

execution of th *der from the Department at Washington

devolved upon the humane and liberal Commander of the
Station at this place, and the able and enlightened
Medical Corps then stationed at the U, 8. Naval Hospital —
Surgeon Lewis \Y. Minor. Thos. B. Steele, dame-. F. Har-
rison, Randolph Harrison. John C. Coleman and Frank A.
Walke. It is due to Commodore McKeever, to say, that he
gave the order from the department the most extensive con-
struction, so as to afford as much relict' a 1 - possible Our in-


tercourse with him has been of the most pleasing kind. For
liis liberality and humanity he is entitled to our warmest

From a higher source, the Secretary of the Navy, they all
have received marks of appreciation of their services. But
this will not prevent us from giving utterance to the feel-
ings of gratitude entertained by all, for their kindness,
skill, attention and sympathy manifested towards the sick
under their charge. Some of us have reason to know and
feel the debt of gratitude due them, and it will be our con-
stant pleasure to bear evidence, on all occasions, to their
worth as officers, as physicians and as men.

Nor may we neglect to mention others, whose zeal and
interest were so intensely exhibited in our behalf during the
gloomy period through which we have passed. The names
of Thos. Webster, Jr., of Philadelphia, J. W. Weir, of
Harrisburg, J. Albright, of Lancaster, J. Levering, of Bal-
timore, Thos. Dodamead of the city of Richmond, D'Arcy
Paul, of Petersburg, Jno. M. Otey, of Lynchburg, Jno. P.
Ingle, of Washington City, and the noble men who com-
posed the committees of these places, together with those of
Boston, New York, Albany, Washington City, Alexandria,
Charleston, Columbia, Wilmington, Cincinnati, Lexington,
and, indeed, the whole band of benevolent and zealous men
who composed the several Relief Committees in the various
cities, towns, villages and country places throughout our
favored land — these all must ever be remembered by the
people of Portsmouth with the profoundest gratitude.

Having in a very general way, and in a feeble manner
attempted to return our acknowledgments to our many no-
ble and generous benefactors, we will proceed to the exposi-
tion promised in the beginning of this report.

In taking charge of the supplies so bountifully placed at
their command, the Association met with abundant de-
mands for their use. The epidemic had seized upon the
community when totally unprepared for it. The whole


population was paralyzed by panic There was no place
prepared for the reception of the indigenl Bick; and from a
want of knowledge of the character of the disease, it was
next to impossible to procure competent nurses. All mer-
cantile pursuits and mechanical operations having been
brought to a close — the wages of labor baving been stopped,
and the stores having been closed, the Association a1 the
very threshold found its hands full. Fortunately, the first
need was supplied by the consenl of the Government to the
use of the Naval Hospital : and the Association at once pro-
ceeded to afford all the relief in their power to alleviate the
Buffering caused by the want of food and nursing.

The town was districted into wards, to which commit!
were appointed, whose duty it was to seek out the sick and
the destitute. A central office was opened, a1 which daily

— ions wen- held. For the supply of provisions, articles

of diet and clothing, stores were rented and store-keepers

placed in them. As fast as g Is arrived they were sent to

the stores to be issued to those in need, on the orders of the
Ward Committees, or of the members of the Association.
tetics and cordials were gratuitously Bupplied on all the
physicians requisitions.

It may not be out of place to remark, that three of the
four successive keepers of the Provision Store died of the
Fever, and the fourth suffered severely from an attack.

There were three est a l il i shinen t s in the town when- pre-
scriptions were compounded, and every attendant ineackof
these dispensaries suffered with the disease. This created
another demand on the Association. Apoth t'i ..m

abroad nobly came to our aid, and it was only bi fchefr ex-
ertions that the prescriptions of the (acuity «rejc< !"" up.
of those employed in this duty, everyone or lai

took the Fever, and certainly four, it' not more, diedhof it.
No doubt the loss of rest and fatigue incident to their cen-
Btant and harrassing labors tended to this result.

Baving been bo fortunate as to obtain the use of the


Naval Eospital for the reception of the indigent sick and
others who preferred going there, provision had also to "be
made by us for their conveyance to that institution. This
was not so easily done as might be supposed. The fear of
contagion rendered it very difficult at first to procure a
driver for the sick wagon, and then only by the payment of
exorbitant wages. Two of those employed in this capacity

When the physicians and nurses who came to our assist-
ance began to arrive in our midst — there being no public
house open, and few citizens of the town remaining who
were able to accommodate them, we had to make provision
for their entertainment. Some of them were quartered at
the residence of Win. H. Wilson, Esq., which had been
kindly placed at our command; but that being insufficient,
we were compelled to open the "Crawford House," and
keep it on our account, to board and lodge them. At this
establishment, for some time, as many as forty persons,
physicians, nurses, apothecaries and others, were provided

As the Fever proceeded in its devastation, many heads of
families fell, leaving helpless orphans unprovided for. To
meet this contingency, we were compelled to open a tempo-
rary Orphans' Home. The Academy-building was taken
possession of and furnished for their reception, and placed
under the charge and supervision of the Sisters of Charity ;
and, as the natural protectors of these little children were
swept away by the pestilence, they were removed thence
and properly nourished and cared for. After a short time,
the benevolence of the citizens of Richmond relieved us of
this charge.

We concluded to send these helpless little ones to a city
of our own State, rather than to the fraternal city of
Baltimore, which had also kindly made provision for their

In nursing the sick, much difficulty was experienced by


the Committee in procuring proper assistanci Never hav-
ing been visited 1>\ a similar epidemic, our people were
ignorant of its nature, and unfitted for its management.
The fear of contagion operated in the beginning very much
i.i enhance the difficulty. It was hard to persuade them there was qo more danger in aursing the sick, than
there was in breathing the atmosphere in the stre< ts. Con-
sequently, extravagant prices had to be paid for all attend-
ance. At first, three dollars per day were demanded by
nurses, however incompetent; and the supply of those, even
at that price, was very limited. I'm this want was in a
measure supplied by the nohle volunteer nurses from abroad.
And then we had to make provision for the burial of the
dead. In this last sad duty the Association was materially
assisted by the indefatigable and truly praiseworthy exer-
tions of one of our colored population, familiarly known as
Bob Butt. This humble negro, in his line, performed duty
beyond all price. Fnaii morn till nighl he labored at his
spade, ami frequently made the grave-yard his resting-
place. Under his direction and superintendence, all who
died of the Fever wire decently committed to their mother

[n all their operations the Association endeavored \<>
along with as little expenditure <>l' mone] as possible.
Under a different state of things all that th< mplished

might have been done for tar less than they expended.
They readily admit this. But, when tin- amount expended
is contemplated, and the circumstances by which thej \\'
surrounded tak.n into consideration, it is not probable that
another organization could have done with less. Emer-
gencies which could H"> l»' perceived were constantly aris-
ing, which had to be met at ..nee. Personal help was
continually in demand, and this was only t.» Ik- had at
exorbitant rates. These, and various other ca ;' a

similar nature, went far to increase fchi »nd

what they would have been in ordinary tim<


It is not pretended by us that our proceedings were con-
ducted with that regularity which characterizes the doings
of organized bodies in times of health and prosperity. We
claim to have done the best that we could with the limited
personnel at our command. We now see that errors were
committed, which, if we had the matter to go over, we
could rectify. But we have the consciousness of knowing
that what we did was done for the best, and, that in what-
ever else we mav have fallen short, it was not in our inten-

Before closing this Report, it is proper that something be
said relative to the Orphan Asylum which this Association
contemplate erecting. To this object, as will be seen in the
Keport of the Treasurer, a sum has already been devoted.
And it is in contemplation to appropriate whatever residue
there may be to the erection and support of so necessary an
institution. It is true, no funds were remitted by our gen-
erous friends for this special object, but from the profound
interest which was felt by all abroad, manifested in special
contributions for the orphans, in offers to take charge of
them, and in the abundant supplies of clothing and all
other necessaries incident to their helpless condition, the
Association concluded that it would not only meet the views
of all, but be the best appropriation of the funds remaining
on hand and unexpended, which could be made. Indeed,
by the able report of Thos. Webster, Jr., Esq., and the
Belief Committee of Philadelphia, it will be seen, that a
portion of the generous contributions there has been in-
vested in funds to aid in this design of our Association.

An Orphan Asylum Bill is now in course of progress in
our Legislature, which we trust will be speedily consum-
mated, when the necessary action will be taken in order to
accomplish the work designed.

With these remarks, we now proceed to lay before the
public an account of the receipts and expenditures of our
Association .


OF TilK.


Relief Association.




Holt Wilson, Treasurer, in Account with

Aug. 25— To cash, by the hands of W. Watts, being balance re-
ceived by him up to the period of his illness, as
per statement rendered, *
Contributions— viz : J. J. Lardner,
Page & Allen,

E. W. Clark & Co., Philadelphia,
R. A. Hamilton, "

E. M. Lewis, Cashier, "
Saml. Marx, Cashier, (Richmond,)
A. Goodwin, Cashier, (Fredericks-
A. Goodwin, Cashier, (Fredericks

A. Goodwin, Cashier, (Fredericks
Aug. 28 — To draft, D. D. Fiske, Mayor, on Howard Associatioi
of Norfolk, (Philadelphia $250,) .
Check, P. C. Osborne, Cashier, (Petersburg,)
Check, E. M. Lewis, Cashier, (Philadelphia,)

it ti it a a

Chubb Bros., Washington,
Cash, (Louisa Court House, $6,)
Cash, A. B. & T. A. Work, Hanover,
Aug. 29 — To cash, T. Brown, Wilmington, North Carolina,
Cash, from Amelia county,
Check, E. M. Lewis, Cashier, Philadelphia, .
Israel S. Sheldon, Saratoga, New York,
Aug. 30— To John S. Stubbs, Esq., ....

Aug. 31 — To check, E. M. Lewis, Cashier, Philadelphia, .
E. P. Nash, of Petersburg,
Check, Hardy Bros., from Jas. Johnson, Esq., of
North Carolina, ....

Cash from Columbia, Lancaster county, Pennsylva
nia, ......

Sept. 1— To check, Thos. Matthews, Cashier, Lewisburg, Vir
ginia, ......

Check, Hardy Bros., additional from Jas. Johnson

Esq., of North Carolina,

Check, A. Emmerson, from a friend in Washington,

Cash from Oney H. Edwards, being proceeds of

wood sold, ......

g e pt. 4 — To check of Thomas Matthews, Cashier, Lewisburg,
Virginia, and cash, .....

Amount carried forward, .....
* See statement A.

$5,735 CO

80 00

25 00

400 00

25 00

800 00

1,273 23

30 00

313 13

5 00

1,701 75

912 12

400 00

400 00

895 87

16 00

10 00

117 00

5 00

909 17

20 00

25 00

306 68

94 12

200 00

175 00

506 90

200 00










///-• Portsmouth lidi'j' Association,


-By li. <;. Scott, for provision store, ... 5>) 00

.7— Win. Porter for digging graves, per order of J. (


John Cnffee for same, by same,

Robert Rix for services, b^ sa ,

Henry Todd, nurse at Hospital, by order of L. W
-Mil' on, ....

Pati ick McDonough, nan me,

John Batl and John Bartley, boat hire ami drayage
r J. <i. Holladay,
Au;. 2i I ptain Rowe, order J. G. Hollad

Porchase of horse from Wm. Ontten, per order J. Q
Holladay, .....

ph Army, transporting sick to Hospital, order .1
• i. Holladay, ....

■ I'll Army, transporting sick to Hospital, order J
<;. Holladay, ....

• i h Army, burning beds, Ac., order J. ('•. Holla
day. ......

Joseph Army, transporting rick to Hospital, order J
<;. Holladay, ....

1 rer James Webb, support of, physicians on North
street, order Holt Wilson,
Aug. 2\)— Elliott, irashei at the Hospital, order L. W. .Minor
Burg ....

B. <;. Scott for the provision Btore, order Holl
Wilson, .....

1 rer James Webb, support of physicians on North
Btreet, order Holt Wilson,
Aug. 30— Win. Porter, digging grave-, order .1. <;. II illaday,

John Coffee, digging g irder J. <■. Holladay,

John I. arli, fur cigars tor physicians on (forth -
1 rer James Webb, support of physicians on [
street, order 1 1 ■ » 1 1 Wilson, ....

Aug. 31— Dr. Cole, order J. '•. Holladay,

i ■ rer James Webb, support of physicians on North
Holt Wilson's order, ....

li ick hire due Win. Ontten, per order .1. 0. Holladay,
Hack hire, Jordan Bparren, order of .1. <;. Holladay,
Bob Bntt, gravi .. <;. Holladay,

I>r. Wm. Collins, • bysicians al Crawford

Ilou-.', order J. 6. Holladay,

b I. Day, conveying rick to Hospital and
House, order J. V Schoolfleld,

I G '■'• . : ded for rick and

lute, .......

Amount carried forward, .....














9 00















8 00







60 00




100 00

100 00


Mo no


Dr. Holt Wilson, Treasurer, in Account with


Amount brought forward, ..... $15,719 32

Check from Hardy & Bro., from citizens of North
Carolina, ......

Cash from W. Luckett, Bath county. .

Cash, Rev. J. D. Mitchell, Lynchburg,

Cash from a Delaware Farmer,
Sept. 5 — To R. H. Battle, Teller, from Jas. D. Proctor,

From Ro. Saunders, Williamsburg, Virginia,

J. A. Smith, Cashier, from Thos. Pemberton,

Cash, Win. P. Underwood, Surry county, .

Cash, John L. Alston, N. C, .
Sept. 6 — To check, J. M. Otey, Cashier, Wm. Radford, Lynch-
burg, .......

Check, Andrew White & Sons,

Sweeney Rittenhouse & Co., (assistant Postmaster,)

Check, C. Dewey, Cashier, sundry, .

W. W. Pierce, of Wilmington, North Carolina,

Hebron Baptist Church, T. Hume,

Wm. R. Gait, of Buchanan, ....

Episcopal Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, Rev. R.
S. Mason, ......

Church contribution at Sweet Springs,

E. M. Lewis, Cashier, Philadelphia, .
Sept. 8 — To citizens of Washington, D. C, through Merchants

Exchange Association, ..... 734 59

L. S. Webb, Cashier, (half to Norfolk,) from citi-
zens of Windsor, ..... 150 00
Sept. 10— To N. M. Crawford, D. D., Georgia, ... 5 00

Check Morton, Bouldin & Gains, Charlotte, from
W. T. Scott, Esq., through H. B. Grigsby, . 65 50

Check, P. C. Osborne, Cashier, from citizens of Pe-
tersburg, through D'Arcy Paul, Esq.,

W. H. Jones, of Mecklenburg, through Dr. Peete,

Check, W. L. Scbaeffer, Cashier, from Philadelphia,
through Thos. Webster, Jr., Chairman, being ad-
ditional, ......

Check, E. M. Lewis, Cashier, from same source, Phi-
ladelphia, ......

From vicinity of Enfield, North Carolina, through
G. A. T. Whittaker,

Mis. Philip Williams, at Capon Springs,
Sept. 12 — To cash from Raleigh, N. C, through C. Dewey, Cash-
ier, from the Methodist and Baptist churches,

From Clarksville, Virginia, through W. H. Gee and
J. E. Haskins, committee, ....

Amount carried forward, ..... $19,787 87

100 00

5 00

7 00

1 00

60 00

150 00

58 32

10 00

5 00

10 00

20 00

103 00

384 00

49 71

15 00

10 00

178 00

336 25

402 00



20 00

200 00





10 00







13 50

25 00

•J I

Portsmouth Rditf Association,

IS .

Amount brought forward, .....

Online LibraryVa.) Portsmouth Relief Association (PortsmouthReport of the Portsmouth Relief Association to the contributors of the fund for the relief of Portsmouth, Virginia, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in that town in 1855 ... together with a sketch of the fever, etc.,etc → online text (page 1 of 28)