251.626.0798 

Hours : 8 a.m. - Dusk
Seven days a week, 365 days a year


The Blakeley Blog

The Blakeley Blog is a forum for discussion and discovery of the incredible natural and cultural treasures found at Historic Blakeley State Park.

Many of the poems in the Blakeley Blog by Sue Walker appeared in an earlier version in In The Realm of Rivers, published by NewSouth Press in Montgomery Alabama.

  
<< Back to Blog Page

THIS THEN – NOW -- 1822, 1826, 1828, 2020 Epidemic – Pandemic – Bad Air


Time past and time present are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past  (T.S. Eliot)

~

Yellow Fever

Gold dust /  Pickled Apple peel suspended in laudanum  / Hot mustard baths / leeches applied to the throat and chest

 

The Corona Virus:  Covid 19

Oluminant /  Hydroxychloroquine  /  Favipiravir / Remdesivir

but not a shot of chlorox

~

 

            In 1822, 1826, and again in 1828, the Yellow Fever epidemic decimated the population of the city of Blakeley, now a part of Blakeley State Park.  Called “Bad Air,” no one knew then the disease was caused by mosquitoes.  Some say that Mobile physician, Dr. Josiah Clark Nott suspected so and noted the sickness in papers written in 1848.  Quarantines were adopted though some residents of Blakeley escaped to Mobile where the air was considered efficacious.  

            The technical, scientific name for Yellow Fever is Coquillettidia fuscopennata (don’t worry, I can’t pronounce it either), but it was also called “Yellow Jack” and in New Orleans, Bronze John.”  And like Covid 19, it was a killer.

 

            In 1853, Alabama’s 15th Governor, John A. Winston, officially instituted “The Can’t Get Away Club” to help care for those who were ill and dying of the Fever. Like the Corona Virus, it was no respecter of the prominent, the young, the old, the rich or the poor; there were too few physicians and fever nurses.   Price Williams was then the organization’s President. One memorable nurse was August Evans Wilson (1835-1909) who helped establish a small hospital on the outskirts of Mobile.  Today, she is probably best known as the author of the novel, Beulah, based in part on the bedside experience of her nursing career.

 

            Now, in 2020, as we experience social distancing and the ravages of a world pandemic, we are, I think, brought to remember the ghost-town that once was a prominent part of our local history and of Blakeley State Park and think once more of how a disease alters the landscape of the world in which we live.




 

 

 

Download Park Map