14. April 2018 · Comments Off on Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 in Grand Junction · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Grand Junction Deaths

Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878

56 White Victims as Published in the Bolivar Bulletin


Miss M.B. Moore – A teacher from Memphis – age 30 years

Mrs. E.W. Belew – A refugee from Granada, Mississippi – age 25 years

Mrs. Hewitt – A refugee from Memphis – age 25 years

George Lloyd – A clerk, age 60 years

W.J. Owens – A farmer – age 35 years

Mrs. W.J. Owens – A house wife – age 30 years

Miss Julia Culligan – A child of 14 years

Robert Clampitt – A carpenter, age 35 years

Mrs. Mollie Clampitt – Housewife, age 30 years

Harris Clampitt – Child of Robert and Mollie Clampitt – age 9 years

Chalmers Clampitt – Child of Robert and Mollie Clampitt – age 11 years

W.W. Pledge, Jr. – Express Agent, age 22 years

C.V. Prewitt – A farmer, age 30 years

Ernest Prewitt – Son of C.V. and A. Prewitt, age 2 years

Mrs. Eugenia Stinson – Wife of A.F. Stinson, age 24 years

Cyrus F. Stinson – Son of A.F. Stinson, student, age 8 years

Samuel Stinson – Son of A.F. Stinson, age 7 years

Charles Stinson – Son of A.F. Stinson, age 5 years

Frank Hawkins- Ran a boarding house, age 50 years

Frank Lavender – Marble cutter, age 28 years

Harry Lavender – Son of Frank Lavender, age 5 months

N.P. Hazzard – A clerk, age 16 years

Jasper Lavender – A marble cutter, age 23 years

Dr. N.H. Prewitt – A physician, age 45 years

Mrs. Nannie C. Prewitt – A housewife, age 45 years

R.P. Milam – Mail agent, age 23 years

Mrs. Bettie Hayes – A milliner, age 39 years

Mrs. Melora Smith – A housewife, age 45 years

Beauregard Smith – A student, age 16 years

Mary Tucker – A daughter of Smith Tucker, age 6 years

Susie Tucker – A daughter of Smith Tucker, age 3 years

J.H. Prewitt – A farmer, age 40 years

Mrs. Mollie Prewitt – Wife of J.H. Prewitt, age 35

T.E. Prewitt – Son of J.H. & Mollie P. Prewitt, student, age 18 years

Mrs. Susan Pledge Jennings – Of Madison, Alabama, 24 years

Booker Swann – Telegraph operator, age 22 years

Thomas E. Jones – Express Agent, age 25 years

Mr. Handy – A telegraph operator

James Netherland, Jr. – Hotel clerk, age 19

Parvin Netherland – Son of James Netherland, age 3

A Stranger – Occupation unknown

A Stranger – Occupation unknown

Dennis Flannery – Saloon keeper, 30 years

Mary Flannery – Daughter of Dennis Flannery, 3 years old

Mrs. Dennis Flannery – Housewife, 25 years old

W.J. Woods – Saloon keeper, age 45 years old

Annie Woods – Daughter of W.J. Woods, age 15 years

Mollie Woods – Daughter of W.J. Woods, age 18 years

Willie Woods – Son of W.J. Woods, age 7 years

Kittie Woods – Daughter of W.J. Woods, age 5 years

Virginia S. Bowers Patterson – Wife of M.A. Patterson, age 59 years

Smith Patterson – A teacher, age 37 years

William W. Bass – A farmer, died October 16, 1878, age 30 years

Mrs. Mary Prewitt – Wife of P.H. Prewitt, age 70 years

Mary L. Bledsoe – Wife of James Bledsoe, age 17 years

Mae Prewitt – Daughter of S.L. Prewitt, age 3 years.


The 56 Yellow Fever victims of Grand Junction listed above are all white. There were 20 Negro deaths.  Their names were not given for publication.  Of the whites who had the fever, 15 survived and are now considered well. Ten are considered convalescent, and three are still sick on October 31, 1878.

Dr. N.H. Prewitt sent this letter to the Bolivar Bulletin before he succumbed to the Yellow Fever epidemic in October of 1878:

“I am thoroughly demoralized by the deaths of so many friends and relatives.  My brother, Joe, was convalesing, got up and arranged personal effects and moved over to Brother Dr. Tom Prewitt’s, relapsed, and I saw him put beneath the sod day before yesterday.  Sister Nannie O. Prewitt, the widow of the late Jack Prewitt and mother of R.P. Milam, one of our first cases, died the night before.  She contracted the fever while waiting on that dear son. I took her to my house.  She was the oldest sister of my wife and a member of the Presbyterian Church.  I have three convalescents in my house.  Arthur is up and running the whole post office Department at this place.  Sister Alice Prewitt, wife of dear C.V. Prewitt, who is dead, also has the fever along with little Susie and her dear mother.  What terrible times! Excuse so much personal news.  Since my last letter, we have lost our noble Tom Jones of the Express Office.  The Lavender brothers and Tom Jones all died within 15 minutes of each other.  The Lavenders were accountable in their work of burying the dead and their places cannot be easily filled.  We are dependent on Isaac Toler, John Stone, and Tony Jordan (all colored) to bury the dead.  We cannot too highly praise these colored men.  Mr. Clampitt died yesterday.  The death number to date is about fifty.  There are several new cases under treatment with three or four dangerous.  Dr. Tom Prewitt is now relapsed and in critical condition.”


Bolivar Bulletin Article, October 10, 1878:

Honor to Whom Honor is Due – While others have nobly done their duty, Dr. Nathan H. Prewitt, of the Junction, is singularly conspicuous among the heroic physicians of the stricken South in standing so true to his professional obligations to the public.  He and his brother, Dr. Tom Prewitt, are entitled to the largest measure of praise for their devotion and self sacrifice which they have manifested all through the terrible fever scourge at the Junction.  The following letter from the distinguished Dr. W.H. Beatty speaks for itself.  “To Mr. G.W. Armistead, Editor of the Bolivar Bulletin: At the call of your state, I was sent to Grand Junction and found things in a terrible condition.  Most of the best people had (I think wisely) fled.  One of the local doctors was very sick and the other, Dr. Nathan Prewitt, would have been in bed but for his indomitable energy and determination. He really had the fever when I arrived, but he took me to see every sick person in town at a time and under circumstances when any other man I ever saw would have been in fear, and during my entire stay of three weeks, he aided me in every possible way in my efforts to relieve his sadly afflicted neighbors and friends.  But for him, I could have done nothing and would have left in despair.  Your readers already know what terrible ravages the disease made at Grand Junction. I want them to know that but for Dr. Nathan Prewitt, it would have been vastly worse, and therefore, ask that you publish this, which will take Dr. Prewitt by surprise more than anyone else.  Signed, W.H. Beatty, M.D.

Dr. Nathan H. Prewitt died October 11, 1878 of Yellow Fever and lies buried in the Grand Junction Cemetery.  He was born August 6, 1829.  He was the son of James and Elizabeth Hill Prewitt (both buried at Mt. Comfort Cemetery.)


From the Jackson Tribune and Sun:

Shocking Inhumanity Near Milan

Young Howlett, aged 10 years old, a grandson of Mr. Pledge, the hotel man of Grand Junction, passed up to Milan a few days ago where his grandfather was staying.  Being from an infected area or town, although having stayed in it only a few hours, he could not remain in Milan.  His grandfather rented an isolated cabin a mile or more from town and hired a Negro woman to take the boy and stay with him until the days of his quarantine were completed.  The first night in the cabin was a terrible one in his experience. A few persons whom fear and cowardice had made brutes of themselves went to the cabin, stoned it, shot into it, and ran the poor little fellow out into the night and darkness, and fired shot after shot at him as he fled in wild terror.  The little fellow remained all night in the woods wandering and hiding in pitiless cold.  Next morning he crept into Milan and his grandfather took him to a place of safety.  Now we respect quarantine, we respect the fears of the people in these terrible times, but such treatment as this little boy received is simply inhumane and brands the authors as brutes and cowards.  We know the respectable people of Milan condemn the acts denounced by us fully as much as we do and we further know that the Milan authorities and quarantine officers are guiltless of any connection with the perpetrators, but they should hunt down the guilty and see that they are punished.


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