The wife of Governor Duval, who was visiting her daughter in St.
Joseph, succumbed to the disease July 12, 1841. R. Gibson, editor of the
Floridian, who came to St. Joseph to remove his family to a place of safety,
was himself stricken. Others of prominence who succumbed were two
publishers, the wife of another, and a Federal judge. In a short time the
disease had spread to such an extent that graves could hardly be dug rapidly
enough. Many who had come to spend the summer in this pleasant and
healthful resort were stricken by the malady, some died on their homeward
journey, while others lived to return home and thus spread the virus of the
disease. All through the lower South the fever raged that summer and fall.
The actual number of deaths is not known, but it is probable that
hundreds of fatalities occurred. Newspapers minimized alarming accounts
which came from many sources. The Star of Florida, Tallahassee, stated July
21, 1841: "Reports of St. Joseph and Apalachicola are also unfavorable.
Many deaths are said to have taken place." The St. Joseph Times reported in
August: "The sickness in our town has materially abated; the number of cases
now on hand not exceeding half a dozen, and one or two only of these
regarded serious. We trust the epidemic is now over and that in a few days
we shall be enabled to give distinct assurance that the health of the place is
restored. We have lately been visited by refreshing showers of rain, and the
atmosphere is cool and pleasant. The unexpected appearance of the epidemic
through when we have passed is attributed by the physicians to foreign causes,
a recurrence of which may be guarded against in future by proper quarantine
regulations. We have lost some valuable