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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 171, October 24-25, 1853

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Identifier: DX04186136

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 171, October 24-25, 1853

Description: Describes spending the night in Benton, Mississippi, a town nearly abandoned due to yellow fever.


gardens and trees. Everybody was exhilarated about it, anticipating it would end the Yellow Fever. All this day we stayed at Mc Lean’s, I was too queer to go on, and the rest wouldn’t do so without me. [Oliver] Kellam went on to Lexington, where he returned not, that night.

25 24. Tuesday. In the saddle again. Met Kellam after an hour’s riding; but he went on back to Mr Lean’s, again to join us, just as we rode through the little town of Lexington. There were some twenty negroes, some boys, girls and children, neatly attired; sitting on benches in front of the Court house, for sale. I had seen a placard intimating it, at Pontotoc. Onwards. We were now on the Yazoo City road, as was every mile intimated to us. The horrible name was everywhere, and as we knew how terribly the pestilence raged there, it seemed like slowly riding to one’s death. Benton we reached by 5. It presented a dismal appearance, the little store deserted, broken window panes, and placards pasted over doors intimating whither former occupants had fled to, or where medecine might be bought. (Yazoo City, some 10 miles distance had blighted it.) There were very few people in Benton, and they came to the house doors at the sound of our horses hoofs, wondering who might be the daring “drovers” who would defy the pestilence for gain, by riding towards the plague stricken city. The inn we purposed putting up at lay a mile farther on. I shall never forget that sunset, over where the doomed town lay. It was a close, hot, sultry, oppressive night, and there was a glare of pitiless colors, uncommon to look upon, in that sunset; green and orange predominating. That sunset, with its attendant sensations, (sickness had thoroughly unhinged me, so that I thought it equal chances whether I lived or died) — might haunt me. I never want to see the like again. When we had put up at the inn, (a poor place enough;) we heard more of it. News of the deaths of that day, and the fresh cases that had appeared. One man, having had his brother die at

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-24

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Transportation
Yellow fever
African Americans
Rising and setting


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