One Reply to “Wayne Dowdy’s Dateline: October 7, 2020”

  1. I am sorry to hear about your coronavirus pandemic and that 490 Shelby County citizens have died thus far. As you know, the Yellow Fever epidemic hit Memphis 142 years ago. Of all the cities that battled yellow fever during the summer of 1878, Memphis suffered the worst. Those who remained to witness the carnage were overwhelmed with the magnitude of the epidemic. Within days of yellow fever’s arrival, hundreds of Memphians were ill, leaving citizens in a state of panic while officials scrambled to organize medical relief. Of the 20,000 people who remained in the city, over 17,000 contracted yellow fever during the three-month crest of the epidemic. More than 5,000 of these perished.

    Be glad Mr. Dowdy that your Health Care workers are surviving your pandemic. You see in 1878, the Howard Association of Memphis was caring for the sick and of their 32 members, 10 of them died and 13 more were struck by the disease but eventually recovered. Thankfully, Catholic priests and nuns kept on serving the ill while 13 of these priests and 30 sisters died! Memphis doctors were helped by three times their number who came in from other cities; of the total 111 doctors who treated the symptoms of a disease they were unable to cure, there were 33 deaths.

    In 1870, Memphis had a population of over 40,000 with a newspaper circulation of approximately 4,000. However, due to the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, the population was so decimated that Memphis became bankrupt in 1879 and was declared a Taxing District of Nashville.

    Fortunately, by 1900, we had grown to over 102,000 citizens and our news paper circulation was almost 25,000! In is great to know Mr. Dowdy that your population in Memphis in 2020 now stands at over 1,150,000 people.

    I am sorry to hear that your president came down with the virus, but it is good to hear that he is recovering nicely. Please do not be too hard on him Mr. Dowdy as I have lived through three presidential assassinations in 36 years … first, Abraham Lincoln in 1865, then James A Garfield in 1881 and finally, William McKinley in 1901. And … yes, they were all Republicans!

    Give my best to you and all your Memphis citizens. I urge you to share my two books below with them so they can better appreciate our history. It helps to keep our history as well as our present events in perspective. I am sure better days are ahead.

    Your truly,
    Colonel John McLeod Keating
    Former Managing Editor of the Memphis Appeal

    Link to my books:

    Keating, John McLeod, 1830-1906

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.