Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 3, September, 1992 Page: 145
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The Epidemic of 1873, in Columbus, Texas
hour, under which, in three hours he sunk into a deep coma, with a failing pulse and slow
respiration, which gradually increased until the morning of the 22d, when he died,
apparently from the effects of narcotic poisoning. No jaundice.
At 2 o'clock P. M. of this our second day of gloom and sadness, Dr.
Azincourt14 arrived from Galveston, and took charge, without ceremony or invitation
even, of every case of disease he could hear of unhesitatingly pronouncing each and
every one "true and unadulterated hamagastric fever, of the most malignant type." The
utter recklessness of this decision determined me to telegraph Dr. Peete to come, or send
some member of our profession competent to determine the matter; in response to which
Dr. Samuel A. Towsey arrived two days later. The same "train" which brought Dr.
Azincourt, however, gave us the assistance of Mr. Hardy Eddins, one of nature's own
noblemen, in charge of a corps of nurses and an abundance of supplies, furnished by
the munificence of our friends in Galveston. The energy and unflagging self-sacrifice
with which he addressed himself to the task of supplying the wants and alleviating the
sufferings of our stricken people will be cherished in the memory, and excite grateful
throbs in many a heart when his own is cold in the embrace he averted from numbers
of our people.
Thursday, the 23d, was a cool, cloudy day, with a northeast wind and
occasional showers of drizzling rain. No death during the day.
In the evening, Dr. W. B. Briggs, and some more nurses, arrived from
Galveston, contributing greatly to the relief of Dr. Bowers and myself, as well as to the
comfort and safety of the sick.
On Friday, the 24th, there were two deaths; one at an old hotel on the south
side of the public square, three doors west of the boarding-house at which other cases
had occurred, and one on the corner of Travis and Washington streets. Did not see either
of them. Weather cool, damp and cloudy.16
14 Original note: Dr. Azincourt proved to be a disciple of Hahnemann, who, if he did not believe "the
hair of the dog was good for the bite," believed something not much worse: and proceeded to dispense, in
accordance with his diagnosis, infinitesimal yellow fever to his patients, without regard to symptoms or
indications, at the proposed rate of seventy-five dollars per patient, notwithstanding he had contracted with
the Mayor of Galveston to render his services for the daily stipend of ten dollars. It is due to Mayor [C. W.)
Hurley to state, however, that he knew nothing of the gentleman beyond his own representation, that he had
treated yellow fever recently, both in New Orleans and Shreveport. He did not remain long in Columbus.
Editor's note: Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was a German physician who established a system of
medicine known as homeopathy, under which substances that were found to cause symptoms of a particular
disease in a healthy person were used to treat patients with the disease. Dr. Harrison's disdain for such
treatments is shared by modern physicians.
Dr. Azincourt, whose name probably ought to be spelled Agincourt, is something of a mystery. He
is not listed in the Galveston City Directory of either 1872 or 1874, and there is no record of him at the library
of either the Texas Medical Association in Austin (whose records were graciously searched by Susan Brock)
or the American Medical Association in Chicago. Further, if published indexes can be trusted, no person
named either Agincourt or Azincourt appears in either the 1870 or the 1880 federal census of Texas (see
Ronald Vern Jackson, ed., Texas 1870 Census Index, Salt Lake: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1987 and
Jackson, ed., Texas 1880 Census Index, Salt Lake: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1989, 2 volumes).
15 Editor's note: The old hotel referred to was the Bonds' or the National Hotel, and thus the man
who died there was probably Andrew J. Bonds. A man whose name is given as "A. J. Bonds" is said, in The
Fayette County New Era of November 7, 1873, to have died on October 25 rather than, as Dr. Harrison here
reports, on October 24. He was probably Andrew J. Bonds, who appears as A. J. Bonds on both the 1850
and the 1860 censuses of Colorado County, but there is some room for doubt. On both censuses, Andrew
J. Bonds appears with a woman who was apparently his wife, Penny Anne, end a girl who seems to have been
his daughter, Martha A. Martha, 14 years old on the 1860 census, married Fred Barnard the following year,
on August 20, 1861 (see Marriage Book D, page 100, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas).
All doubt that this is the same Martha A. Bonds is erased by the 1870 census, on which she appears as
Barnard's 24 year old wife. Martha Barnard lived into the twentieth century, signing a deed as late as July
31, 1907 (see Deed Book 35, page 472, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas), meaning that
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 3, September, 1992, periodical, September 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151386/m1/17/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.