Forgotten Trails

Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, April 16, 2003

By Staff
Reader provides valuable material
By LYDIA GRIMES - Features Writer
I want to let you know about an email that I received after writing about the Harold family a couple of weeks ago. It is always a pleasure to know that there is actually someone out there who reads this material and this letter is an example of what can come of putting your family into print in this column.
A cousin who lives near Brewton sent me your article via email. I have a little something to add.
My great-grandmother was Cournal/Counell Harold Franklin. Thirty years ago I found the ship's manifest at the Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library, which showed that the Harold family arrived in New Orleans on May 12, 1853, on the S. S. Auguste, bound from Bremen. Cournal is not on the passenger list. Family legend has it that she was born on the ship, but this is probably not true. During her life, she complicated matters by giving her birthplace in Germany and in Alabama.
What is most amazing about this story is the salient and incontrovertible fact that the Auguste brought yellow fever to New Orleans that year. The first victim was a sailor on the ship, which probably gathered the infected mosquitoes while being berthed next to another infected ship in Cuba before departing for New Orleans. Subsequent early victims were German immigrants. By the end of the epidemic in the fall of '53, the city's population had been literally decimated and the epidemic had spread along the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River. Lucky for the Harolds, they were cleared by customs and set sail for Pensacola almost immediately, thus escaping the fever. One day I plan to compare the manifest of the Auguste with the list of the dead. I feel sure I will find many matches.
If there is a possibility of printing this letter, please do. I have tried without success to correspond with Harolds in Brewton. My mother, Doy Payne Longest, daughter of Maybel Franklin Payne, and granddaughter of Cournal/Counell and James Martin Franklin, is now 80 years old and remembers them well. Maybe this letter will bring them out of the genealogical woodwork.
Judith Longest Bethea
3 Poydras Street, #3A
New Orleans, LA 70130
I am going to stop with this. Next week I will get back to another family.
Happy hunting!
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