Inscribed by the author. Included with the book is an 1855 3 page letter concerning the Yellow Fever outbreak in Portsmouth, Virginia New York: Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge 11 Bible House, Astor Place, 1856.
First Edition. Hardcover. 12mo. , vi, , 193 pages,  page blank, . Frontispiece engraving of Rev. Chisholm. Brown cloth hardcover ruled in blind on the covers with blind stamped decorations on the covers. Title on the spine. Binding is in very good condition. Light toning to the contents. Inscription on the right front flyleaf reads - "To Miss Nannie Norton from the Author. Richmond Oct 1859." Inside the book is a hand written 3 page letter dated August 24th, 1855 with the original envelope. The letter has 4 folds with very minor perforations at the folds (no loss of writing). The envelope has the partial stampless postmark somewhere in Virginia. The envelope is addressed to "Arthur Emmerson Esq. Portsmouth Virginia". On the left margin in pencil is the partial name of "Leopold Cors...?" The letter was written from Salt Sulphur, VA now located in West Virginia. Very good. Item #18919
Transcription of the letter as best as follows with errors in spelling and punctuation:
24 Augt 1855
I see from the Balt. Sun of the 22d that G Holliday is reported as being sick with the fever. I know of no other Holliday but our Gus. I hope and trust that this may not be he His noble self sacrafising conduct I had hoped would secure him from an attack. I am deeply concerned for my friend indeed the paper almost fell from my hands. I gentleman saw and came and asked what was the matter May God protect and ? him if sick I see others reports a John Collins ? G. Maupin and others. Poor Berry Palmer I see is dead and my much esteemed friend Dr R. H. Parker and indeed many others. I hope and pray Heaven you and yours my friend may escape. Yet I fear most tremblingly? for you and your family. Why stay in that doomed town. Why lose a life not only vulnerable to your family but prized beyond expression by friends? I think of you every time of the day and the first thought n the morning. May God in his mercy watch and defend you.
I am getting on here quite well. We have a large Company here. Many pretty girls and many disposed? to flirt. I as usual take not part with them. The water n air a ?? me much I think. I have made many friends up here. Friend whom I value. I have been to nearly all the springs have seen something at all tried? ale. Gen Baily of accimae? is ill at the Red Sulphur Inn. Mr Letcher went to see him yesterday and gives a glowing acct. of his condition. Baily is is empressed with the idea that he will die. He has the consumption. I go to Lewisburg Monday. Shall stay some three days and return to find my way home. Regards to John Nalty Chris Watts and other friends - Say to Gus every thing which my sincere friendship may offer - Wishing you and yours Arthur exempt from the disease
I am very sincerely and with truth your friend [Signed] Leopold
[Addressed] Arthur Emmerson Esq. Portsmouth Virginia
Ancestry dot com locates a record for Arthur Emmerson of Portsmouth, Virginia, 1817-1870. His father was also Arthur Emmerson. There were plenty of genealogical records online for the Emmerson family in Portsmouth.
From an article listed on "Elephantsmarch dot wordpress dot com (September 15, 2015):
The Fever struck several states and cities in the 1850’s, but Portsmouth and Norfolk experienced the most devastation. By the end of 1855, nearly half of the city’s population perished, and nearly every home in the city of Portsmouth had at least one person suffering from the sickness. It is thought that by the end of the summer over 2,000 people in Portsmouth and Norfolk succumbed to the fever.
Yellow fever, sometimes called “Yellow Jack,” is transmitted from infected female Mosquitos. The fever can cause the skin to take on a yellow hue, which is where the illness gets its namesake. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting. This particular epidemic of yellow fever started on the island of St. Thomas and made its way to Portsmouth by ship.
On June 7, 1855, a merchant steamer called the Benjamin Franklin stopped at the Gosport Shipyard in Portsmouth for repairs. It was known that there was an outbreak in St. Thomas, where the ship had just come from, and so the crew was quarantined on the ship for a total of nineteen days. One crew member on the ship was ill and died from the fever within that time period, while another man died from unknown causes. It is thought that crew members violated the quarantine and left the ship, and that is how the disease was introduced onto land. Most of what we know about the whereabouts of the epidemic comes from doctors’ notes, and articles written in the local paper the Southern Argus.
The first known cases other than the crew of the ship were reported in Barry’s Row, a poor Irish tenement building located on Church Street. The inhabitants were told to vacate the building, but some would not leave and were then forcibly removed and the building was burnt to the ground thinking that this would take care of it. However, the fire just made things worse by spreading the disease even further.
By August, hundreds of people were dying everyday, and in some cases entire families were wiped out. Those who could afford burials were buried in Cedar Grove and Elmwood Cemeteries, while the less wealthy victims were buried in mass graves in different locations in Portsmouth and Norfolk, but most notably Potter’s Field.
Physicians worked around the clock to help treating those stricken with the fever; several even came from other states to help out. A relief group called the Howard Association was also sent to help treat the ill and provide aid.
Within weeks, the once bustling and most profitable ship-building city on the eastern coast was completely desolate. William Ferguson, head of the Howard Association, is quoted as saying, “The coming of a ship into her harbour today would cause almost as much surprise to the beholder as did the first ship whose hull rippled the surface of her waters to the Indian who then dwelt there.” The only ship that was allowed to come into Portsmouth during the epidemic was one that supplied coffins.
The epidemic ended with the coming of fall and winter when the Mosquitos disappeared. Some of the families that fled that summer returned in the winter to try to rebuild their lives, but many were still fearful of the fever and never returned. Both the fever and the civil war erupting six years later left many women as widows. Many of them were forced to take to the streets as prostitutes in order to earn money and survive. However, the fever did bring some positive changes to the city, such as improvements to sanitation and tenement reforms.
“In the short space of ninety days, out of an average population of 6,000, every man, woman and child, almost without exception, has been stricken … and about 2,000 have been buried. But the storm is over, and again our good ship lays her course…her flag…sadly at half mast.”
The Southern Argus, 1855.
James Chisholm (September 30, 1815 – September 15, 1855) was an Episcopal priest in Portsmouth, Virginia who died of yellow fever after working to assist others (of every denomination) stricken by an epidemic.
Chisholm was born in Salem, Massachusetts and moved to Virginia to teach. He converted to the Episcopal church and was ordained, then served as the first rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, founded in 1848 as part of the Oxford Movement although with the permission of Virginia's bishop, William Meade.
In February, 1855, Rev. Chisholm's wife died, leaving him to care for two young sons. When yellow fever struck Portsmouth and nearby Norfolk in the summer and one of his sons fell ill, Chisholm sent his boys to live with relatives, but returned to the city. Almost all other leading citizens, ranging from doctors to clergy, left, but Rev. Chisholm remained to assist those stricken by the epidemic, with not only pastoral care, but food, medical care and even digging graves. He worked closely with Rev. Francis Devlin of the city's St. Paul's Catholic Church to assist Irish immigrants who continued to live in "pestilential abodes". As the disease abated in the fall, Chisholm had been so weakened by his efforts (and news that one of his sons had died) that he himself succumbed at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, becoming one of the 3,200 deaths in a city which had about 12,000 residents the previous winter.
About 20 people turned out for his funeral, conducted by a Baptist minister. Rev. Chisholm is buried in Portsmouth's Cedar Grove cemetery. His memoirs of that epidemic, edited shortly after his death to emphasize the Christian values which prompted the somewhat delicate and retiring (if not bashful) cleric to exhibit fortitude through that epidemic are available at various sources. Since 2010, the Episcopal Church has remembered Chisholm annually on its liturgical calendar on September 15..