Dr. John Erskine was buried in Elmwood Cemetery on September 17, 1878. Dr Erskine was a native of Alabama. He and his older brother moved to Memphis in the 1850s to practice medicine. He served as a surgeon during the Civil War.
Returning to Memphis after that, he became interested in public health and was appointed the city health officer. He was one of the 110 doctors who tended to the sick and dying during the deadly Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878.
In August of 1878, Memphis was struck with its most disastrous Yellow Fever epidemic. The Howard Association, a volunteer group of young businessmen, organized a medical corps to help the devastated city.
Volunteer physicians and nurses came from all over the country to treat the thousands of disease victims. Many stayed at the Peabody Hotel, the only hotel to stay open during the epidemic. Each physician was assigned to a district where they often started their rounds at dawn.
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He grew-up there in a shotgun shack that his father, Vernon, built. Elvis was thirteen when his parents moved to Memphis. Throughout his teens, the family moved around, living in small apartments and low-cost public housing.
Abe Fortas may be the only Supreme Court Justice whose first career was in a dance band. The son of Jewish immigrants from England, Fortas grew up on Pontotoc Street in downtown Memphis. His father encouraged him to play the violin, and, by thirteen, he was playing in a dance band called “the Blue Medley Boys.”
The young sensation, nicknamed “Fiddlin' Abe,” earned enough to supplement his college scholarship at Southwestern University, today's Rhodes College. His passion for music and the arts remained with him throughout his life.