Covid 19 is the fourth pandemic to hit the Lone Star State, the first, small pox, coming with settlers from Europe of the 15th Century. Spanish Flu following the First World War was the third, but the biggest of all as the 1867 sweep of Yellow Fever that claimed 4,000 lives in Texas.
Dr. Zachary Doleshal teaches history at Sam Houston State, and has been looking at pandemics that have come through.Spanish Flu erupted in El Paso in 1918 and took a heavy toll across the state, but it was an acute hemorrhagic disease, in the same line as Ebola, that caused jaundice in many people and gave it the name Yellow Fever. It was transmitted by mosquito, and southern states, especially along the coastline, especially in the summer months, were especially hard hit. It’s progression across Texas, coming just two years after Appomattox as Reconstruction brought troops to the South, changed the formation of towns and the history of the state.
Listen to this six minute telling of the tale by Dr. Doleshal.