Tag Archives: Yellow Fever

Two Centuries of Creativity: William Morgan, McMurray Livery

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A complete architectural vision would seem to have assembled itself overnight. In William Morgan’s architectural offices, in the old livery and stables he’d renovated downtown, he drafted designs for homes and headquarters where Isaiah David Hart, the founder of the city, built his own first home.

There was a fire in 1850. There were fires in the Civil War. The Great Fire of 1901 was the third largest urban fire in United States history. In 2012, artist and photographer Tiffany Manning smelled smoke in her studio above where a blacksmith’s shop had stood 100 years before. Firefighters said if she hadn’t been there, the building would have burned down. She writes with light.

Goat Island, Christopher’s Pier, Rattlesnake Hunting, a Man Shot in the Face, and Tim Gilmore’s Upcoming Book Launch at the Jacksonville Historical Society

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On August 23 at 6:30 pm at the Jacksonville Historical Society, Tim Gilmore will launch, read from, and sign his newest book, Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida vs. Rollians Christopher. (Your invitation is at the bottom of this post.)

Rollians Christopher, 1955, photograph unattributed, courtesy Florida Times-Union

Here’s an early version of a story that makes its way into the book, a story about Christopher’s Pier, the tavern that protruded from the fishing village over the river for decades, about a Yellow Fever quarantine hospital, about a fisherman whose legs were car tires, about shrimp boats and hunting rattlesnakes, about a man shot in the face.

Goat Island, 1955, prior to its development into Blount Island, photograph unattributed, courtesy Florida Times-Union

You are invited: https://www.facebook.com/events/314940972382209/

Old Philips, w/o Boundaries, Beheadings, the Last Hall-and-Parlor

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Someone stole their heads. Their bodies had been burnt. Police found two axes in the scorched desolation of the shack. Just before Christmas. 1913.

Most of the residents of Philips were the children or grandchildren of former slaves, or were former slaves themselves. Sunken ground in the slope and swale of Philips Cemetery at Craig Swamp might mark older unrecorded graves.

Her husband lived to be 97. She was born in the house in 1922. Surely he’d heard the story when he was young.

Gilmore Cemetery and Settlement

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Irish immigrant Archibald Gilmore founded this settlement in 1885. The Gilmore train station stopped somewhere along today’s Gilmore Heights Road North.

Bill Hawley trudged through the dark wooded night in fear of the escaped convict. The Timucuans were here five millennia before all that.

Anna Fletcher’s Final Home

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Photographs of ghosts, of ectoplasm. She died here, in her final home, on Riverside Avenue.

The wife of the Jacksonville mayor and longest-serving U.S. senator from Florida testified before Congress, against Houdini, on behalf of Spiritualism.

 

Sister Mary Ann at the Church of the Immaculate Conception

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Sister Mary Ann braved the jails, whispered with the condemned. She nurtured soldiers shot, stabbed, battered and dismembered in Civil War Jacksonville. She raised the funds to open the orphanage, and St. Mary’s Home opened on August 15th, the Feast of Assumption, 1886. 

Daily, she’d made her rounds among those dying of Yellow Fever, their yellow eyes and the vomiting of blood, the seizures that mocked demonic possession.

By the time she died in January 1914, “Jacksonville’s Angel of Mercy” had selflessly served the sick, the dying, the condemned, the homeless, the lost, and the orphaned in Jacksonville for 50 years.