Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 3, September, 1992 Page: 150
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Tuesday, the 16th, there were three deaths, two on Spring street, between
Bowie and Live Oak, and one at the corner of Austin and Jackson streets.43
Wednesday, the 17th, one, Spring street, between Live Oak and Prairie,
Wednesday, the 31st, the last case of the epidemic, died on Spring street,
at the same house at which the death on the 17th occurred.44
I have been thus particular in enumerating the deaths and their several
localities because they represent very fairly the extent to which the disease prevailed in
different sections of the town, from the period of its inception until its termination. Of
the cases that came under my care I have almost invariably given the leading
characteristics; and, it will be observed, they were, in nearly every instance, marked by
a distinct periodicity - palpable intermission or remission. I would not have it
understood, however, that all of the cases that occurred presented this peculiar feature,
nor, indeed, more than a small proportion of them. But, so far as my observation
extended, at least, this periodicity was almost universal in fatal cases, while, where the
character of a continued fever, with the large, red tongue, tenderness in the epigastric
region, etc., before detailed, was maintained, patients generally recovered.
Some other points I have omitted to mention that are valuable in a diagnostic
point of view.
The secretions and evacuations were almost invariably acid, even the
lachrymal secretion and the saliva showed the acid reaction. After the first few days,
too, I invariably took the temperature of cases of considerable gravity, and in no instance
did it exceed 1030, rarely 1020. In the case of the patient who took the aqua ammonia
by mistake, I was informed it reached 1080. I also tested the urine for albumen in a great
many of the severest cases, but never found it in considerable quantities and never unless
the urine was stained with blood.
Of the specimens of black vomit submitted, you will perceive that some of
them have a large coagulum, others are changed to a dusky or slate color, and only one
or two retain the characteristics of that substance, i. e., black vomit.
In conclusion, it may be observed that while the disease made its appearance
almost simultaneously in nearly every part of that section of the town to which it was
subsequently confined, it failed to spread in the western quarter, indeed, ceased to
prevail there to a very great extent until the latter part of the period of its prevalence,
being confined mostly to streets near the river and around the public square, where filthy
houses and neglected privies made the atmosphere intolerable.
Another fact of importance: There were quite a number of Northern,
unacclimated men in town throughout the entire period of its duration, visiting and
waiting upon the sick day and night, all of whom escaped unscathed. One of these men
kept his family in town, and two of his children had the disease lightly and made rapid
recoveries after the fifth day.
I have notes of some other cases presenting peculiarities that I desire to
submit to the consideration of the medical profession, but the length of this paper
admonishes me to seek another opportunity.
43 Editor's note: The two deaths on Spring Street were likely to have been the men identified as
Sims and Brown and said to be strangers in town in The Fayette County New Era of December 19, 1873. The
third victim has not been identified.
44 Editor's note: Neither the victim on December 17 nor the one on December 31 has been identified.
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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/m1/22/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.