Robert Bell Smith Hargis

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Robert Bell Smith Hargis (1818-1893) was a prominent Pensacola physician in the nineteenth century who, with Dr. J. C. Whiting, established the early Pensacola Hospital in 1868 and published several pieces about yellow fever.

Born June 7, 1818 in Hillsborough, North Carolina, he attended the University of North Carolina and then the Medical College of Louisiana, graduating in 1844. He practiced medicine in Mobile for one year, but a bout with malaria forced him to move to higher ground at Mt. Pleasant. He came to Pensacola in 1851 and became the port physician. He contracted yellow fever in 1853 and spent a year convalescing in Milton. In 1854 he returned to Pensacola and became a surgeon at the Marine Hospital.

During the Civil War, Hargis served in the Confederate medical corps under General Braxton Bragg and later received a surgeon's commission, which he held until the end of the war. Returning to Pensacola in 1865, he worked with Dr. J. C. Whiting, and the two established the Pensacola Hospital in 1868.

He was president of the Escambia County Board of Health and became president of the Florida Medical Association in 1882. He was also president of the board of medical examiners for the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. Hargis wrote a number of papers documenting yellow fever epidemics, treatments and public hygiene. His final position was assistant surgeon at the United States Marine Hospital.

He died on November 30, 1893.