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The Plymale Family In America

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Yellow Fever Epidemic

Yellow fever epidemic-1878, Gallipolis, Ohio. -John Bronze

Huntington Public Library
977 189
Section 11
Taken from "The French Five Hundred"
(page 242)

The following is a list of the victims of the yellow fever epidemic which hit Gallipolis In the fall of 1878. The disease was carried from New Orleans on the steam boat JOHN PORTER.  Several people died on their way up from New Orleans, and were buried in one of the covered barges, and some were buried on the river bank. There were thirty five people that died (eventually 66) at Gallipolis, including the members of the crew.

An early frost helped to check the epidemic in October.  The barges and boat laid tied up to the bank on the Ohio side, about two miles below Gallipolis, and a short distance from the residence of Hugh Plymale, Sr.

During the epidemic, it began to rain and continued to rain until the Ohio River rose and broke the barges loose and they floated down stream, breaking up on rocks and bridge piers.  One covered barge made it to Cincinnati, Ohio where after finding that there were dead bodies on the barge, it was ordered burned. 

During extreme cold weather the following winter, the bodies of many of these victims were raised from their graves in which they had been hurriedly buried.  Eventually they were given a more decent burial in places consecrated to the dead.  Nearly all the bodies were in excellent state of preservation except that their skin had turned from yellow to black, and little perceptible odor arose from their graves.

Hugh Plymale Sr., his daughter Lourana (Rena), her husband, Claudis Brothers, along with several others, are resting on top of a hill above where Hugh Plymale, Sr. lived during the epidemic. The view of the Ohio from this point is very beautiful.

When relatives found Mrs. Claudis Brothers (Lourana "Rena" Plymale), daughter of Hugh Plymale, Sr., dead in bed, her small girl baby was nursing her dead mother's breast.  The baby, Zella Brothers, lived on without contracting the disease, and married Owen Cottrell later moving to Cleveland, Ohio.

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This monument stands in the City Park
in downtown Gallipolis, Ohio


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The boat "John Porter" broke a rockershaft on it's trip from New Orleans and was forced to tie up on the bank of the farm belonging to 0-1-13 Hugh Plymale I.

Updated On May 04, 2004 08:46 PM