An Investigation into the Identity and Location of the 1882 Yellow Fever Epidemic Victims in Pensacola, Florida

Nicole Marie Bonomo Lipson

           This research identifies the individuals who perished as a result of the 1882 yellow fever epidemic in Pensacola, Florida, locates the graves of these individuals, and determines if there were any changes in mortuary practices as a result of the epidemic. Through use of the Pensacola Semi-Weekly Commercial and a document commissioned by the Board of Health, the 197 yellow fever victims reported to the Board of Health are identified, including an additional 20 individuals who likely died outside the city limits. Cemetery records and surveys were used to locate these individuals within a cemetery. The results were analyzed using two different approaches: (1) examining the percentage of individuals found in a cemetery and (2) analyzing the elapsed time between death and burial. Based on the small percentage of victims located in a cemetery and the rapidity with which a body was buried following death, this study shows that burial practices in Pensacola were altered as a result of the epidemic.