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USF Libraries Exhibits

1888 Epidemic in Jacksonville

Sailor standing guard at the construction of a quarantine station

Sailor standing guard, 1942/12/07.

Jacksonville was clear of Yellow Fever until, in 1888, a saloon-keeper named Richard D. McCormick left Tampa for the city of Jacksonville. As soon as it was found out that McCormick had a confirmed case of Yellow Fever, the city tried to prevent an epidemic of the disease. They ended up promptly sending McCormick to the Sand Hills quarantine station, disinfecting all of his belongings and burning down the Mayflower hotel where he had been staying. Jacksonville also ensured that all people arriving from Tampa, Plant City and Manatee had to be arrested before coming in the city and taken to Sand Hills. When the residents of Jacksonville started to contract the disease, many tried to flee to other cities. However, only the city of Monticello would let them enter their city for a short period of time. Because the people were basically trapped in their own city, they created their own refugee camps. When many Jacksonville residents started contracting Yellow Fever, the city tried to use other measures to curb the epidemic. The streets were covered in lime and bichloride of mercury, ammunition was fired in the air (in the hopes of killing the microbes) and every night barrels of tar were burned.  Unfortunately, all these efforts were futile. In a city of thirteen thousand, there were five thousand confirmed cases with at least 427 deaths.

Sand Hills hospital

Sand Hills Hospital, [Date unknown].