Rio History: Yellow Fever in Rio Grande City and other Moments in Time

By Steve Hathcock










October 4, 1846: American Flag 

Travelers Hall Point Isabel

“This subscriber has opened the above establishment at Point Isabel, where he is prepared to accommodate travelers and others who may favor him with their patronage at the lowest rates and with the best the market affords. Stage passengers and others passing can have their meals served to them at any time as no hour will be found inconvenient. Felix Testor.” (owner) 

In the same publication as above advertisement it was reported from Washington City that “the Hon. F.G. McConnell. stabbed himself in 8 places and died immediately on the 10th of last month.” He was a member of congress from the State of Alabama. 

Yellow Fever

Brownsville Texas October 2, 1867 Daily Ranchero; “Acting on the reports of yellow fever at Rio Grande City and contiguous ranches, the city council had a meeting Monday evening and resolved to act.”

The San Roman, a steamer that plied the waters of the Rio Grande River.  carried a message from Colonel Morrow,( commander of the Ringgold Barracks,) requesting that all steamboats from up-river be quarantined . 

In the meantime, a letter which was signed by prominent residents was sent to General McKenzie imploring him to “save this city if possible from the terrible scourge, alleging that the yellow fever season being nearly past, but a few more days of non-intercourse with infected ports would be necessary to save several hundred valuable lives.”

Col. Morrow seconded the idea and sent an ambulance and escort upriver to meet with the San Roman in order to assure the letter reached the general who was supposed to be onboard.

There were 25 case of the fever in Rio Grande City when the steamer left. 

The post surgeon, Dr. Riley who had previously been reported sick, has died of the disease. 


Hettie May of Corpus Christi

October, 1895: The Daily Herald of Brownsville Tx. This fast sailing schooner will ply (travel) between Corpus Christi and Point (Port) Isabel, making the trip every 10 days for the accommodation of passengers at the reduced rate of $10, U.S. currency for the trip. (Meals included)

Only 20 hours run from Corpus Point Isabel or Point Isabel to Corpus. Captain W. Anderson at Corpus Christi Tx. 

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