Dr. Daniel W. Roberts
Portrait from historic reference painted during 2014 by Jean Troemel in her 93 rd year.
The following is taken from a tribute by Rev R. Z. Johnstone, B. D
Hundreds of tourists each year include in their visit to America's oldest city a trip to the little African Methodist
church. Here in St. Augustine may be seen one of the most unique monuments in the entire State: the memorial
fountain to a doctor who almost single-handily fought one of the city's worst epidemics.
Dr. Daniel W. Roberts, born in Indiana one year after emancipation, was the only Negro physician among the
several thousand residents of St. Augustine and vicinity when the country's worst recorded epidemics of influenza
broke out in 1918.
St. Augustine suffered heavily; cases were reported by the dozen each day. The white doctors who normally
cared for most of the Negro sick in St. Augustine found their hands full with other cases. The outlying areas,
covering territory that stretched as far as Bayard on the north and Flagler County on the south, made heavy
demands on medical service.
Into this picture of suffering and chaos, Dr. Roberts steeped. Day and night he worked, finally reaching every
patient who called him. His contemporaries said of him at the time that he was visiting three times as many victims
as any other physician. This, however, was not the most remarkable feature of his work. During the entire
epidemic he did not lose a single patient!
Other physicians became interested in his methods. Much of the time, after the first few weeks of the epidemic,
was spent assisting others doctors from Jacksonville, Daytona, and nearby cities in preparing prescriptions and
remedies for their own practices. At one point the number of prescriptions written for his St. Augustine patients
alone reached 60 a day.
While Roberts saved every one of his patients, he could not save himself from the natural consequences of the
heroic overexertion to which he subjected himself. In February of the following year he died.
The full tribute to Dr. Roberts may be found at:
Tall ship in St Augustine Harbor
Jean painted a soft and expressive night view and presented it to the ship's crew as a gift when finished