William Crawford Gorgas (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Gorgas, a dedicated humanitarian, led the effort that eliminated yellow fever as one of the major epidemic diseases throughout the world. This feat was accomplished through the diligent and practical application of scientific discoveries concerning the disease.
William Crawford Gorgas was born October 3, 1854, in Toulminville, Alabama. His father, Josiah Gorgas, was an officer in the United States Army and a Northerner; his mother, Amelia (Gayle) Gorgas, was a Southerner. The sectional strife in the late 1850’s caused Josiah Gorgas considerable anxiety, for both marriage and experience inclined him to the Southern side. Eventually, he resigned his commission and offered his services to the Confederacy. The family was soon living in Richmond, where Josiah was serving as chief of ordnance with the rank of general. His son, known as Willie while a child and W.C. as an adult, spent his early formative years intoxicated with the military romanticism of the rebellion. He never stopped wanting to be a soldier or wishing that the rebels had won.
When the war ended, the family settled in Brierfield, Alabama, where Josiah Gorgas invested his small remaining capital in a blast furnace. Willie got what schooling was available and was in fact fortunate that his father’s business quickly failed. When the senior Gorgas obtained a position at the University of the South in Sewanee,...
(The entire section is 2506 words.)
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