NORTH MISSISSIPPI 453 Lamar served as the Secretary of the Interior, the first former Confederate to serve as a cabinet officer. He concluded his honored career as a Supreme Court Justice, becoming the only American to serve in all three branches of the federal government. Lamar’s commitment to sectional reconciliation did not come without conditions: home rule. “Home rule” meant the restoration of the “natural ruling class” of the state to power: conservative white Democrats. In a letter Lamar denounced the “grim despotism” that oppresses the Southern people. The question is “how to get rid of these creatures, defiled by blood, gorged with spoils, cruel, cowardly, faithless, who are now ruling the South for no purpose except those of oppression and plunder.” The vast majority of white Southerners never accepted African Americans voting or office holding. They despised the “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags” who, along with the former slaves, made up the Republican Party. They passionately believed that the corrupt “Negro rule” of the Republicans was an abomination. The Republicans held power until the “Revolution of 1875.” White Democrats organized a campaign of political terror, using “rifle clubs” to intimidate African American voters. In the November 1875 elections, the white Democrats swept into power, “redeeming” the state. L.Q.C. Lamar presented a respectable face on the revolution, publicly calling for moderation but playing a crucial role in the negotiations forcing Republican governor Adelbert Ames from office. The Scourge ofYellow Fever Prior to 1878, Holly Springs had never experienced a yellow fever epidemic. “Yellow Jack” or the “Saffron Scourge” had plagued the South for centuries as the most feared of “summer fevers” and greatly contributed to the South’s reputation as an unhealthy region. The panic it inspired was due to its mysterious outbreaks; medical science had no effective treatments or knowledge of its transmission. Knowledge that it was transmitted by the female aedes aegypti mosquito was decades in the future. Popular theories blamed “miasmas” caused by rotting vegetable and animal matter causing “bad air.” The disease struck quickly with dreadful symptoms: once bitten, within four days victims suffered high fevers, chills, and nausea. After a false lull in its intensity, victims suffered the signature symptom of internal bleeding, leading to the regurgitation of partially digested blood in the form of the dreaded “black vomit.” After intense suffering victims either survived or died within a few days. When news of outbreaks in Memphis and Grenada reached Holly Springs, town leaders openly welcomed refugees fleeing the scourge. They believed themselves to be safe, as Holly Springs had a reputation as a uniquely healthy locale, “remarkable for the purity of its atmosphere, salubrity of climate, and general healthfulness in every respect” in part due to its elevation and relative isolation. Newspaper reports praised the “Noble Hearted Little City” for welcoming those fleeing the scourge, denouncing false rumors of an outbreak, “in fact, we have declared against the quarantine, and have thrown open our hospitality to our sister cities.” Refugees from Grenada started arriving August 17 on the Mississippi Central Railroad. Private homes were opened to the arrivals. Belatedly, the city government ordered the City Marshall W. H. Jones to meet all trains and allow no persons with signs of the disease to get off. The first death occurred on August 26, as panic spread throughout the town. Soon all businesses closed and a mass exodus of women and children fled the city. By the end of August, the population declined from 4,000 to 1,500 as those with the ability and resources fled into the countryside. Dr. J. P. Dromgoogle telegraphed that “the disease had become general and rages with fury, and the telegrams poured over the land telling that the city of flowers had become the city of death.” In the midst of fear and panic were stories of heroism as many stayed to care for the sick and dying. Volunteers used the Marshall County Courthouse as a makeshift hospital, with beds of simple straw that could be easily removed when soiled. Victims couldn’t be buried quickly enough, as rows of ghastly coffins lined the court house lawn, “waiting for ghastlier bodies.” The most celebrated of the brave volunteers were twelve Sisters of Charity from Nazareth, Kentucky, who established a station in the courthouse hospital along with Father Anacletus Oberti of Holly Springs St. Joseph Catholic Church. Dr. Swearingen, a volunteer physician from Austin, Texas, recalled, “Like angels of mercy, they hovered over the loathsome spot day and night, caring not who the patient might be, if only his life could be saved. One by one, these sisters fell until six of them, with the faithful priest, Father Oberti, lay dead.” Dr. Swearingen was so moved by the selfless devotion of the Sisters that he carved a tribute to one of them, Sister Corinthia, on the courthouse wall. The When news of outbreaks in Memphis and Grenada reached Holly Springs, town leaders openly welcomed refugees fleeing the scourge.