and several hundred alarmed citizens fled from the city. Five more cases
developed the next day and the board of health issued a proclamation stating
that the fever was prevalent and might assume the proportions of an epidemic.
Panic followed this pronouncement. Outgoing trains and boats
were crowded, places of business were closed and frightened citizens
besieged doctors' offices with frantic appeals for protection against the
plague. The board of health prohibited public assemblages and put large
groups of men to work scattering lime through streets, yards, and parks.
Restaurants were padlocked and many citizens, unable to obtain cooked
food, hired amateur chefs and set up their own eating places. Finally
railroad and steamship companies discontinued their services to the
stricken city, causing a shortage of provisions and the threat of famine.
Farmers living nearby were afraid to bring in eggs and produce.
Reports reached Jacksonville that the Federal Government had
appropriated $200,000 for victims of the epidemic and a flood of
requests for money and rations descended upon the city's relief
committee. The committee declared the reports were untrue, but the
public doubted the statement and retorted with a storm of abuse freely
mixed with threats of bodily harm. Finally, in desperation, the
committee suggested that the city be depopulated, but only 4,000 out of
14,000 residents agreed to depart, and a majority of these took refuge at
the nearby settlements of Camp Perry, Macclenny, and Sanderson.