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A page from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1879 depicting camps established outside of Memphis during the yellow fever epidemic.

As the first Memphis residents became infected with yellow fever, over half of the city’s population fled for fear of getting sick. Some traveled north or went to stay with relatives. Many of the city’s poor were desperate to leave but had no place to go. Camp Father Matthew was one of several camps established outside the city of Memphis for refugees from the fever.