Idaho 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic
Idaho Newspaper clippings January 30-31, 1920
Idaho photos courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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January 30 (continued)
The Kendrick Gazette. January 30, 1920, Page 1
The Flu Situation
From reports received from all over the country the flu is as much of a menace now as it was at any time last winter. Many deaths have occurred all over the country and the epidemic seems to be present in almost every community. A report from a reliable source stated there were eight deaths in Lewiston Tuesday. It is also reported there are 250 cases in Clarkston and 300 in Moscow.
Kendrick has had a few light cases but the number may be increased at any time as the disease spreads so rapidly. Cases in six families have been reported up to late Thursday afternoon. This is exclusive of three or four cases that have recovered.
The ridges tributary to Kendrick have reported a number of cases a few of which were quite severe.
At an unofficial meeting of the members of the Village council it was decided not to put a ban on public gatherings but the health officers requested that all public meetings be dispensed with whereever possible. No dances will be allowed under any consideration.
source: The Kendrick Gazette. (Kendrick, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Kendrick Gazette. January 30, 1920, Page 6
All “Flu” Cases To Be Isolated
“Flu” Again Appears
Seems to Be Spreading West From Chicago
Seattle — Strict isolation of all influenza and pneumonia cases in the state of Washington has been ordered by the state health commissioner. He urged all health officers to prepare hospitals and engage nurses beforehand for influenza patients in case epidemic should threaten.
Warning Given Montanans
Helena — After a study of the influenza in the east, watching its progress westward, the secretary of the state health board has proclaimed warning against the return of the “flu.”
He says the west can not hope to escape, but he believes it will be in mild form. Deaths depend largely, however, upon individual conduct, he said. He urges all persons who develop colds to go to bed and stay there until danger of complications is past.
Fargo Has 300 Cases
Fargo, N. D. — Fargo has more than 300 cases of influenza.
Quarantine was adopted at Moorhead, across the Red river from Fargo. Other cities are guarding against recurrence of last year’s epidemic.
Epidemic Hits Minnesota
St. Paul — Dr., Charles E. Smith, Jr., executive officer of the state health board, late Sunday proclaimed the influenza epidemic, and called on all health officers to join in the enforcement of regulations, for its control. Government regulations were put into effect again in Minnesota by Surgeon General Rupert Blue of the United States public health service.
(ibid, page 6)
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 30, 1920, Page 1
“Flu” Situation Shows Improvement
Fewer New Cases, No Deaths And Many Recoveries In Moscow Is Report
With fewer new cases, many recoveries and several very severe cases in which little hope for recovery was held yesterday, reported much better today, the “flu” situation in Moscow is encouraging. The same is true of nearly all sections. Several towns and cities report slightly increased numbers of new cases but fewer deaths are reported and it is believed the crest of the wave has passed. No deaths have been reported in Moscow since that of Joseph Duffy. Mrs. Duffy, whose condition was regarded as very serious, is reported much better today. Mrs. Robert West, whose condition gave alarm yesterday, is believed to be improved today.
The method of handling the situation adopted by Dr. Leitch, city health officer, seems to be bring [sic] satisfactory results and people are getting over the panicky feeling that was so manifest earlier in the siege. Lewiston reports conditions improved with but one death yesterday compared with three Wednesday, five Tuesday and Monday.
Epidemic Nation Wide
Washington – Steady spread of influenza over the country was indicated by reports to the health service today from state and city health officers. No marked increase in any particular locality, however, was noted.
2,000 N. Y. Phone Girls Down
New York — The total number of new influenza cases reported today was 4,076, a decrease of 883 from yesterday. Pneumonia cases reported totaled 649, a decrease of 37. There were 100 influenza deaths, an increase of 33 over yesterday, and 136 from pneumonia, an increase of 18.
More than 2,000 telephone operators were reported ill.
Spokane Emergency Hospital
Spokane, Wash. — A downtown fire station here tonight was turned into a hospital for firemen ill with influenza, and eight patients at once transferred to it. The fire fighting apparatus was transferred to another station. Owing to the increase in influenza cases, a large building formerly used for a skating rink was turned into an emergency hospital, under the auspices of one of the large hospitals. Eighty-four new cases were reported today, bringing the total to 307. There were three deaths from ordinary lobar pneumonia, but none from influenza-pneumonia.
Taking Hold in Kansas
Topeka, Kan. — Influenza continued to spread rapidly throughout Kansas today, reports showing a total of 1,424 new cases as compared with 778 yesterday.
Two Yakima Deaths.
Yakima, Wash. — Two deaths from influenza reported this morning have stirred the Yakima chapter of the Red Cross to action. Sixty beds were ordered today from Seattle, and an emergency hospital will be opened if conditions get worse. Miss E. King, Red Cross nurse, has been assigned to special duty here.
Epidemic in Rome
Rome — Deaths from influenza on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, in Rome aggregated 122.
Schools Will Be Closed
Owing to the light attendance the school board announces that Moscow schools will remain closed, after today, until further notice. This does not mean anything serious, but so many are remaining away from school because of fear, and so many teachers are out that it was thought best to make no further attempt to continue school until conditions improve. Physicians believe that in another week the situation will clear up and the rest of the influenza wave will have passed.
Fred Collins’ Family Sick
Fred Collins, city mail carrier, is off duty owing to illness in his family. His route is being carried by Mr. Cady. Mr. Collins is not sick but his wife and children are quarantined and he has to remain at home to care for them. This takes Sam Hall, of the post office force, from the volunteer teaching work he took up in the high school. Mr. Hall is quite disappointed over the closing of the schools. He said: “In one of my classes there were 21 in attendance out of a total of 26 enrolled, and in another of my classes there were nine in attendance out of 15 in the class.” Mr. Hall has hoped to be able to do some more “Good Samaritan” work for the school but closing the schools will end his work there. He has, however, plenty of work to do in the post office with Postmaster Morgareidge and Assistant Postmaster Sudderth and one carrier out of service.
source: The Daily Star-Mirror. (Moscow, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 30, 1920, Page 2
Moscow people are acting sensibly in the influenza matter. There is no panic and no one is badly frightened. The sick are being well cared for and those who are not sick are going on about their business. If this attitude can be maintained – and there is no reason why it cannot – the situation will grow better and in a very short time the epidemic will be but a memory.
What’s In A Name?
Canadian physicians are ridiculing physicians of the United States for calling the present epidemic influenza. The doctors of our northern neighbor says it is nothing more nor less than the “grip” which visits the United States every winter. It makes little, if any difference what the disease is called, its results are deadly enough to cause precaution to be taken. The name amounts to but little more than did the name used by the little boy.
The boy had a dog and his little sweetheart had a cat. The cat had a piece of meat. In taking the meat from the cat a tragedy was enacted, the little boy tried to tell the little girl about it and to “break bad news gently.” He said:
“Your kitty had a piece of meat and my dog thought it was his.” Here he was interrupted by the little girls who was a stickler for proper language and who said: “Please don’t say thought. Dogs don’t think. They instinct.”
The boy’s reply is what applies to the present situation. He said: “I don’t care whether he thought or instincted, he killed your cat, just the same.”
(ibid, page 2)
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 30, 1920, Page 3
Mrs. Dave Greear went to her home in Troy today, after remaining in Moscow over a week to take care of her children and grand children, who have been ill of the “flu.”
Mrs. J. J. Martin of Stites arrived today in Moscow to assist in nursing some of the influenza patients at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Bert Crow.
The young people of the Christian church have postponed indefinitely the banquet they had planned for February 3.
John Sudderth, assistant postmaster, has been confined to his home with sickness. He has not been quarantined and it has not been decided that he had the “flu” which he had in severe form last year, but he has been ordered to remain at home until he gets well.
(ibid, page 3)
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The Idaho Recorder. January 30, 1920, Page 2
Flu Is Coming, Warns State Health Officer
Mild Form of Epidemic is Spreading Throughout Western States, Reports Show
Helena, Jan. 24 — After a study of the influenza situation for several weeks and by keeping in close touch with the progress it has made toward the western states, Dr. W. F. Cogswell, secretary of the state board of health, made a statement yesterday in the form of a warning against the return of the flu.
While Dr. Cogswell says the western progress of the influenza indicates that it cannot be hoped to escape a recurrence of it, he says it will appear in a mild form. He says that in the event of a recurrence, the number of deaths depend largely on individual conduct. He advises persons who develop colds to go to bed and remain there until danger of complications is over.
Casper, Wyo., Jan. 24 — With more than 125 cases of influenza reported in Casper to the county health officer, and two deaths in the last three days, further precautions as to prevention of the spread of the disease have been issued. All the cases are light.
Fargo, N. D., Jan. 24 — There are more than 300 cases of influenza in Fargo, most of them developed in the last four days, according to reports at the city health department.
St. Paul, Jan. 24 — State health authorities agreeing that a new epidemic of influenza has arrived in Minnesota, Dr. Charles. E. Smith, Jr., executive officer of the state board of health, yesterday proclaimed the disease epidemic and called on all local health officers to join in the enforcement of state regulations for its control.
source: The Idaho Recorder. (Salmon City, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Idaho Recorder. January 30, 1920, Page 3
Influenza has appeared in epidemic form in several communities in Idaho.
(ibid, page 3)
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The Idaho Recorder. January 30, 1920, Page 8
We are in receipt of a communication from Ernest E. Laubaugh, M. D., chief of the bureau of public health service, to the effect that influenza has appeared in epidemic form in several communities in Idaho.
The chief claims it is highly contagious and rapidly spreading and asks that every effort be put forth to keep it down and under control. Rigid isolation must be established in all cases and prompt reports rendered.
We sincerely hope that our community may escape a return of this much feared epidemic but should it come again we feel there is no occasion for scare for under proper treatment at the outbreak no deaths should result.
(ibid, page 8)
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Montpelier Examiner. January 30, 1920, Page 1
Death Angel Visits Four Home During Past Week
Mrs. Mary Human died at her home in Liberty Sunday morning, January 18. Grandma, as she was familiarly called, was 80 years of age. … [survived by 11 children, 71 grand children, and 25 great grand children.] …
Within the past week the Angel of Death has visited three homes in Georgetown, in two instances taking therefrom the wife and mother and in the third the husband and father. The death’s were caused from influenza and complications following it.
Mrs. Joseph Hebdon was the first to succumb to the dreaded disease. He death occurred shortly after noon last Sunday.
She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Abel Smart and was born in Smithfield, Utah, June 3, 1875. … Short open air funeral services were held at the Hebdon home last Tuesday afternoon.
The second death was that of Roy Wixom, which occurred last Tuesday afternoon. His death was caused from pneumonia following the influenza. Deceased was 27 years of age and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Wixom of Sharon. He is survived by his parents, wife and three children. Funeral services were held at his home Monday afternoon.
The third home to be darkened by the shadow of death was that of Ernest P. Hoff, the young wife and mother being called at 11 o’clock Wednesday night after an illness of ten days with the flu.
The deceased was the daughter of Chris Sorensen of Georgetown, where she was born on Sept. 8, 1893. … Besides her husband and infant son, Ernest P. Jr., 17 months old, she is survived by her father, five brothers and five sister. Open air funeral services where held at the Hoff home yesterday afternoon at 3 o’clock.
The three deaths have cast a deep gloom over Georgetown, and the deepest sympathy of the entire community goes out to the grief-stricken families.
source: Montpelier Examiner. (Montpelier, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Montpelier Examiner. January 30, 1920, Page 2
Says Influenza is Unconquered
London — Official admission that the most mysterious disease germ of the ages – the influenza bacillus – has defeated the world’s greatest scientists was made to Universal Service Saturday by Sir George Newman, chief medical officer of the British health ministry.
(ibid, page 2)
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Montpelier Examiner. January 30, 1920, Page 4
Flu Situation In City Well In Hand
Montpelier, in common with almost every other community in the country, is again battling with the influenza. The disease made its appearance here last week, and while it quickly spread the cases, with a very few exceptions, have been in a mild form. Up to this morning there has been only one death.
There has been no inclination upon the health authorities to close the schools, picture shows or dances, as the experience of a year ago proved that the strictest of quarantines did no good. However, strict quarantine is placed upon each home where the disease appears.
The situation is being well handled by the doctors, the Red Cross and a committee from the Boosters’ club headed by A. E. Thiel.
John Hillier and Frank Dunn have been appointed quarantine officers, and headquarters have been established at the fire station. If any one who is ill with the disease need assistance of any kind, will phone 141, or get word to Mr. Hillier they will receive prompt attention.
Through action of the Boosters’ club, Chairman Howell of the county commissioners, has appointed Nettie Hillier as city nurse. She is going from house to house investigating conditions and giving such instructions to the nurses and patients as may be needed.
This morning about 45 homes under quarantine and all the patients are reported as getting along nicely.
There is no need of undue alarm over the situation and the people should not become panicky or frightened, as that would only make matters worse. Fear weakens a person’s power of resistance and makes them even more liable to contract any disease than if they went about their daily labors with confidence and a feeling that there was no such a disease as influenza in the land.
Death Claims Three Star Valley People
Vernon, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Crook of Afton, died in Salt Lake on Jan. 20. Death resulted from injuries received two years ago while the young man was branding and dehorning cattle. Deceased was 28 years of age. The remains were brot [sic] to Afton for burial.
Della, the four-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Call, died in Afton on January 21. Death was caused from pneumonia.
L. F. Draney died at his home in Freedom on January 21. His death was directly due to hemorrhage of the lungs, he having bled most of the night previous to his death.
No Great Act of Heroism Required
If some great act of heroism was necessary to protect a child from croup, no mother would hesitate to protect her offspring, but when it is only necessary to keep at hand a bottle of Chamberlain’s cough Remedy and give is as soon as the first indication of croup appears, there are many who neglect it. Chamberlain’s Cough Remedy is within the reach of all and is prompt and effectual. – Adv.
(ibid, page 4)
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Waha General Store, Waha, Idaho ca. 1909
Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 1
Launch Drive To Fight Influenza
Red Cross Takes Over Palace Rooms For Patients
Thursday afternoon the local Red Cross chapter took over the Palace rooms to provide hospital quarters for influenza patients. Because of the rapid spread of the disease both in Caldwell and in the surrounding country districts, it was deemed essential to provide hospital quarters somewhere that the patients might be given prompt medical attention.
Patrons of the hotel were asked to vacate the premises Thursday afternoon that all available room might be utilized for influenza sufferers. A number of cases were immediately quartered there.
So far, while the influenza is quite prevalent, most of the cases are of a quite mild form and no alarm is felt regarding the situation. Some few cases of pneumonia of varying degrees of severity are reported but in general the situation is considered well in hand.
Because of the contagious character of the disease it is not regarded as advisable to use regular hospitals for such patients.
source: The Caldwell Tribune. (Caldwell, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 3
Local and Personal
Ten Davis schools have been closed because of influenza. Schools at Star have also been closed.
Prof. H. H. Hayman of the College of Idaho faculty is ill with the influenza. Mrs. J. M. Rankin is also sick with the same disease.
Mrs. Harry Froman and little son Bobby are confined to their home on Cleveland boulevard with influenza.
William March, city night watchman, is confined to his home because of illness. During the absence of Mr. March, Glen McCullough has been acting as night watchman.
Mrs., John Smeed is ill at her home.
R. A. Thornton of the Alexander Clothing company, is confined to his home because of illness.
Tom Reddock, proprietor of the Independent Barber shop, is seriously ill at his home.
Several persons at the court house have been ill the past week. L. C. Knowlton, county recorder, Miss Rose Edwards, chief clerk and B. L. Newell are among those who were absent from duty during the week.
(ibid, page 3)
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 8
Influenza Has Many Victims
State Department Urges Case But Holds Optimistic View
Influenza continues to invade new areas in the state, but the situation as a whole is somewhat improved. A total of 221 new cases with two deaths have been reported to this office January 25th, as compared with a total of 325 cases January 24th. In those communities in which all organizations are co-operating with the local health authorities the situation is well in hand.
The department of public welfare urges that the communities not become alarmed, but calmly view the situation, assist the local health officers by refraining from attending public gatherings, moving picture shows, dance halls, etc., as the foremost authorities on public health agree that these places are breeding spots for the transmission of the contagion.
Means to Prevent Spread
For the protection of those members of the family who have not influenza when an inmate of their house hold is down, it is essential that all dishes and table ware be boiled. Here again the foremost medical men agree is the second chief avenue of the contagion. Keep the home properly ventilated and when coughing or sneezing be sure to cover the mouse and nose with a handkerchief. This is called droplet infection” and the foremost medical men recognize it as an important avenue for the transmission of contagion.
The following is a report of cases received January 25th.
Bear Lake county, 66 new cases, 1 death.
Pocatello, 2 new cases.
Nampa, 57 new cases, 1 death.
Moscow, 41 new cases.
Minidoka, 55 new cases.
Total new cases reported, 221, two deaths.
Total cases reported since January 8th, 1444.
Total deaths, influenza, since January 8th, 3.
Total deaths, pneumonia, since January 8th, 5.
Department of Public Welfare
Ernest E. Laubaugh, M. D., Chief Bureau of Public Health Service.
College Of Idaho Notes
Sidney McLaughlin left for home on account of his brother Marvin, who is ill at Ten Davis.
Harley Philpott of Boise returned to college after a week’s absence caused by his parents’ sickness.
Raymond Rice of Roswell is ill.
The joy killer of the campus begins next Wednesday when final examinations are scheduled.
(ibid, page 8)
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 9
Items of Interest From Surrounding Territory
There is no school this week on account of the sickness in the neighborhood. It is hoped that by Monday it will be possible to have school again.
La Verne Miller came home from Boise Friday evening sick with the influenza. Winston Miller came down with it Sunday morning. They are getting along as well as can be expected.
Carol Gahley has the influenza. She came home from Boise Thursday evening.
Marvin McLaughlin is still unable to be around yet.
Little Ruth Bartles is ill with the pneumonia.
George McNichol is slowly improving from the influenza.
Mrs. L. E. Small has been sick the past week.
There were not many people at church Sunday.
The water in Sand Hollow raised Sunday night and has washed the bridge out near Ten Davis and made the one by McLaughlin unsafe for large cars to cross on.
The mail man was unable to make the trip through here Monday on account of the bridges being out.
W. B. Allicon is confined to his home with influenza. This is the first case in our community.
Miss Edith Clements primary teacher was unable to be in school Monday and Tuesday because of illness. Mr. Bertra Horner substituted during her absence.
Mr. Iva Vassar and son Sammie are confined to their home with a severe attack of grippe.
The S. J. Livesay family are recovering from the grippe.
A. B. Knott is confined to his home with a severe cold.
Helen Packer and Theodore Wells are still unable to return to school. Helen has been tussling with scarlet fever.
Robert, the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Milliner is recovering from a sick spell.
The many friends of Bart Thomas will be sorry to learn of his critical illness. Bart was formerly a resident of this community but now resides in Caldwell.
Word has been received from J. T. Bales who is visiting at Leesburg, Va., that he is a victim of the influenza.
(ibid, page 9)
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 10
Items of Interest From Surrounding Territory
Mrs. Seburn Harris is at Melba caring for daughter and son, who are sick with the influenza.
The Ambrose Tish family is sick with the influenza.
Ezra Hinshaw is on the sick list.
Mr. Calvin Harvey is quite sick.
John Ragsdale is on the sick list.
Eugene Hibbs has recovered from the mumps and is back to school in the seminary.
Glen Gulley is sick with the mumps.
Quite a lot of sickness seems to have appeared among our residents.
Mrs. Cupp’s family have all been ailing with the grippe and the mumps. Maurice Bailey and Annie Roberts have the influenza, while Hubert Smith is said to have the small pox.
The entire community was greatly shocked to learn of the death of Mrs. Harry E. Smith which occurred at Boise last Thursday morning. Friends knew that both Mr. and Mrs. Smith were ill in a Boise hotel, but no one was prepared for Mrs. Smith’s sudden demise, which was caused by the pneumonia. She leaves her husband, a son, a mother, and two sisters to mourn her loss. Interment was in a Boise cemetery.
(ibid, page 10)
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The Caldwell Tribune. January 30, 1920, Page 11
Items of Interest From Surrounding Territory
Mr. and Mrs. Denman and two children are having a siege of the influenza. They are all very sick.
Elon Williams is seriously ill with the mumps.
John M. Nicholas has been on the sick list for the past week with a severe cold.
Leroy Shaw is having a tussle with lagrippe this week.
Mrs. H. E. Smith was threatened with pneumonia last week, but is some better at this time.
Little Sterling Brown, and Jessie Spencer, who were out of school last week on account of colds, are better and in school again.
Robert Christopher is ill with indigestion. Has has not been able to attend school this week.
As the writer is sick abed this whole budget of news savors of sickness.
Last but not least, at the Bill Postlewaite home they seem to be running quite a hospital as there are six patients up to this date, all confined to their beds.
La Grippe is very prevalent in Canyon. The school become so depleted that the board of education decided on Tuesday to close for a short time. Some entire families have been stricken down.
R. A. Houdyshell and family are improving slowly. Dr. Hamer was called to treat the entire family of S. P. McNeil.
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Suread were visiting at the home of Dr. B. Nyers on Sunday and reported la grippe in their home in Boise.
Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Cox from Middleton have been assisting in the care of their daughter, Mrs. Houdyshell and her family in their illness.
The small child of Mr. and Mrs. Wyrick who has been having a tussle with the influenza is reported as being much improved.
Miss Lamson teacher in the lower room is ill with the scarlet fever. Her mother is here from Colorado taking care of her. Miss Daisy Beatty of Caldwell is substituting as teacher during Miss Lamson’s absence.
The higher grades of the school were dismissed several days last week as several of the pupils in the eighth grade were taking examinations.
Clinton Northroup is slowly improving after a siege of pneumonia.
Miss Doris Chambers is up again after a week sickness.
Bruce Smith is the third patient down with pneumonia in our neighborhood.
Sylvester Hills family are quarantined for small pox. Dr. Gue was called Thursday night to see Jessie and pronounced it such.
We understand that the influenza is on the war path again very strongly in the Gem district. Three families near the Claytonia school have it. Mr. and Mrs. Tom Jackson and one daughter have it. Bill Jackson is down. Bessie Wilson has it and Mrs. Hansbrough was taken to the hospital last Saturday with an undecided case which may turn out to be influenza.
The schools have been closed but what is the use of closing the schools if the young people are allowed to run around to parties.
Mrs. Harry Smith died at the hospital in Caldwell last Thursday due to pneumonia caused by the influenza. She was buried on Friday.
Grandma Andrews is recovering slowly from a severe attack of cold.
Two men were taken sick at a sheep camp at Mrs. Andrew’s place and were taken to Caldwell. We have not learned if it was the influenza.
A sad accident happened at the Froman ferry not long ago when Dr. Young of Caldwell was drowned. He leaves a wife and four children.
(ibid, page 11)
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Shoshone Journal. January 30, 1920, Page 1
Official Report On The Flu Situation
Boise, Idaho, Jan. 27th, 1920
Influenza continues to increase throughout Idaho, four hundred and fifty new cases being reported to this office January 26th.
Thus far there has been no evidence of any material increase in the severity of the disease, but three deaths being reported during the past twenty-four hours.
No accurate statistics are available on Pneumonia but it appears that Pneumonia is becoming prevalent.
Influenza Reported 1-26-20
Ada County – Boise 33, Kuna 40, Star 82.
Bannock County – Pocatello 4.
Bear Lake County – Montpelier 100.
Benewah County – 8.
Canyon County – Nampa 60[?], Parma 3.
Fremont County – Ashton 1.
Jerome County – Jerome 1.
Kootenai County – Culdesac 15, Rose Lake 2.
Madison County – 18.
Minidoka County – 29.
Lewis County – Ilo 2.
Nez Perce County – Lewiston, 32.
Payette County – New Plymouth 2, Payette 1.
Shoshone County – Wallace 6.
Twin Falls County – Twin Falls 5.
Death from influenza, Pocatello 1.
Death from pneumonia, Star 2.
Ernest E. Laughbaugh, M. D., Chief Bureau of Public Health Service.
High School Notes
There has been so much absence on the part of both pupils and teachers that we are beginning to think the flu must be around again. Miss Farris, Miss Elenor Jones and Mrs. Johnson were absent Monday, Miss Hollingshead and Miss Henkins on Tues. During the absence of Mrs. Johnson Monday and Miss Henkins Tuesday, Flossie Mason has been teaching.
Mary McMahon was taken ill Mon. and had to return home from school.
source: Shoshone Journal. (Shoshone, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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American Falls Press. January 30, 1920, Page 1
Spread Of Influenza Source Of Concern
Ernest Laubaugh Reports Many New Cases But Few Casualties – Urges Cooperation of Public to Confine Cases to Afflicted Localities
Influenza continues to invade new areas in the state, but the situation as a whole is somewhat improved. A total of two hundred and twenty-one new cases with two deaths having been reported to this office January 25th, as compared with a total of three hundred and twenty-five cases on January 24th. In those communities in which all organizations are cooperating with the local health authorities the situation is well in hand.
This office urges that the communities not become alarmed, but calmly view the situation, assist the local health officers by refraining from attending public gatherings, moving picture shows, dance halls, etc., as the foremost authorities on public health agree that these places are breeding spots for the transmission of the contagion.
For the protection of these members of the family who have no “flu’ when an inmate of their household is down, it is essential that all dishes and table … (Continued on page 5.)
Women’s Club Urges Campsite and Parent Teachers Association
Revives Activity After Suspension Of Two Years – Mrs. C. W. Thompson Chosen President, Mrs. Voight Vice Pres.
Meetings Held Bi-Monthly
Mayor Hanson, Dr. Schlitz and Dr. Noth Give Survey of Civic and Health Conditions of Town and County
Election of officers and a survey of the civic needs of the city were the outstanding features of the first meeting of the American Falls Woman’s club since the outbreak of the war in 1917. Mrs. C. W. Thompson was elected president; Mrs. John P. Voight, vice president, and Mrs. R. E. Austin, secretary-treasurer. The meeting was held in the parlor of the Hotel Remington and was attended by 25 women of the city.
Mayor Hanson, Dr. C. F. Schiltz, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Dr. R. F. Noth, county health officer spoke before the club on the civic needs of the town. Mayor Hanson explained the needs of a campsite and the possibilities of obtaining same through the action of the city council. He believed that the financial support should come from the Chamber of Commerce and expressed reluctance on the part of the council to pay the preliminary costs out of the public funds. He intimated that the city would be glad to maintain any campsite chosen and assist in every way possible to bring about the creation of all necessary accommodations for tourists.
Dr. Schlitz urged the cooperation of the Woman’s club in civic affairs and suggested to the women that they exert [their] influence on the members of the [city] council to the end that the city [build?] the necessary improvements for the campsite. He expressed appreciation of the proposed work to be undertaken by the club. “If the Chamber of Commerce and the American Falls Woman’s club say that the city should build the campsite and maintain it, I believe that the council will see that it is done,” he said. Mr. Hanson stated that the undivided support of these two bodies would undoubtedly encourage the council in any undertaking of the sort mentioned.
No “Flu” in County.
Dr. Noth advised the women that there was not a single case of real influenza in the county. There is considerable illness and many have severe colds bordering on influenza. Local afflictions however, he said, apply to the head and do not include afflictions of the lungs or other vital organs of the body. He advised teachers to watch for the appearance of sickness in the school room and report immediately any symptoms that appear. Persons afflicted with severe colds bordering on influenza should remain at home and prevent possible contagion.
Mrs. Bruce Lampson held the interest of her audience with a few timely suggestions on the value to be realized from a parent-teachers’ association. “Two few parents cooperate with teachers to get the best results from the education of their children,” she said. “A better understanding and acquaintance among parents and teachers will make our school problems much easier and encourage more congenial relationship that will bring improved benefits to our students.”
… The next meeting of the club will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the parlor of the Remington. There will be a musical program in addition to the regular business. All women of the town are urged to be present as well as all from out of town who are able to attend. Meetings will be held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Teachers are particularly invited to join as honorary members.
source: American Falls Press. (American Falls, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Wallace, Idaho, Looking West ca. 1914
Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 31, 1920, Page 1
“Flu” Situation Much Better Today
No More Deaths In Moscow And Fewer Cases – Troy Man Is Flu Victim
Local conditions show marked improvement in regards to the influenza epidemic. It is reported that there were but 28 new cases reported yesterday as compared with an average of 48 for the previous four days. The new cases are generally mild. A number of those who were first taken ill are being released from quarantine. Many of the cases are so mild that the patients do not even go to bed but remain in doors and take care of themselves.
Troy Man is Dead
Samuel Sletto, of Troy, died of pneumonia following influenza last night. He had been sick but a few days. He leaves a wife and four children. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ole Sletto, of Moscow, are under quarantine with the disease as is his sister, Mrs. J. Wilson.
No Deaths in Moscow
Contrary to persistent reports via the street rumor route, there have been no more deaths in Moscow and general conditions are regarded as much better. The warm, bright sunshine is regarded as much better for health conditions than the cloudy, damp and chilly weather of a week ago. The past two days have been more like April than January and this is believed to have helped conditions locally.
Two Deaths at Lewiston
Two more deaths are reported at Lewiston yesterday, making a total of 12, to date, but conditions are reported much better in Lewiston than they have been and it is believed the crest of the wave has passed there as in many other places. Camas Prairie towns report conditions much improved today.
Much Worse in New York
New York — Deaths from influenza and pneumonia showed another increase in the reports submitted to the health department today, while the number of new cases of each disease again jumped nearly to record figures. There were 119 influenza and 143 pneumonia deaths reported today, and increase of 19 and 7 respectively over those reported yesterday. New influenza cases reported reached a total of 5,532, an increase of 825 over yesterday and within 57 of the record number reported Wednesday. New pneumonia cases totaled 851, and increase of 202 over the previous day.
Chicago Stops Public Funerals
Chicago — New cases of influenza for the last 24 hours numbered 1,015 as against 1,149 on Thursday, while pneumonia claimed 340 new patients, compared with 455. Deaths from influenza totaled 112 and from pneumonia 80.
A ban was placed on public funerals and on wakes, and persons attending funerals are limited to ten, by order of the health department tonight.
Increase at Spokane
Spokane — One hundred and ninety-five cases of influenza with no deaths were reported here tonight, bringing the total cases to 500, practically all of a mild nature.
U. of Minnesota Student Deaths
Minneapolis — Eight students at the University of Minnesota died of influenza today. One hundred and fifty students at the school are ill. There are 2,000 cases in Minneapolis.
Deaths at Honolulu
Honolulu, T. H. — Three deaths from influenza were reported here today, making twelve fatalities here from the disease since Jan. 1. Sixty-four cases have been reported during that time.
The situation on the island of Maui, second largest of the Hawaiian group, was declared out of hand today and the territorial health doctor has been dispatched to the place. Two deaths have occurred in Maui and 26 cases have been reported to date.
No Services at Nazarene Church
Owing to the influenza situation and the fact that Pastor Goss and wife have been assisting to care for the sick, there will be no services tomorrow at the Nazarene Church.
source: The Daily Star-Mirror. (Moscow, Idaho), 31 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 31, 1920, Page 5
The sheriff’s office has had several of its officers absent on account of influenza. Sheriff Woody and his family have just been released from quarantine and Deputy Sheriff L. G. Peterson is now a victim of the disease, but he is recovering rapidly.
Clinton Havens is quite ill of the influenza.
(ibid, page 5)
The Spanish Flu in Spokane
By Kenneth Knoll 2/07/2005 HistoryLink.org Essay 7247
Kenneth Knoll was 12 years old when the influenza epidemic came to Spokane. This catastrophic event so impressed him that he felt compelled to describe it 70 years later. His essay is based mainly on newspaper accounts, official records and personal recollections and is reprinted from The Pacific Northwesterner, Vol. 33, No. 1, 1989. It is here edited by David Wilma and reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Kenneth Knoll (c.) and his sisters wearing gauze masks against influenza, Spokane, 1918 Courtesy Kenneth Knoll, The Pacific Northwesterner
When the Plague Hit Spokane
By Kenneth Knoll
By October 1918, the faltering Allied forces had regrouped to stem the advance of the German Army. After great human sacrifice, the tide was changing in war-ravaged Europe. Young men from Spokane were among those who had been killed or wounded in the fighting. The list of casualties in the Spokesman-Review served as a constant reminder of the toll of war.
Underlying these concerns was another dread. The Spanish Influenza which had been sweeping Europe with severe and fatal effects had leaped the Atlantic Ocean and was now present on the East Coast. The first case of the flu had been reported in Boston on September 5. On October 1, the City Health Department declared that some cases might be in Spokane but saw no need for alarm. The Department recommended covering the mouth and nose while sneezing and using antiseptic sprays and gargles to prevent infection.
As the days passed, newspapers reported a virtual explosion in the number of cases as the disease relentlessly spread across the nation. On the Atlantic Coast, the highest incidence of illness occurred in crowded army cantonments. By October 1, 72,327 cases were reported in Army camps, 20,000 of them occurring in the previous 48 hours. By October 3, there were more than 100,000 cases with over 2,000 deaths in members of the Armed Forces. By the next day, the total number of cases stood at 137,975.
Similar phenomenon was occurring in the civilian population. On October 1, Boston reported 171 deaths from influenza. Philadelphia had 446 new cases and Helena, Montana, 100. By October 3, cases had been reported in 42 states.
The University of Washington in Seattle reported 820 cases among its students on October 4, with one death. On October 5, Chicago had 916 new cases and 78 deaths. Philadelphia had 788 cases and 171 deaths. Officials in Washington, D.C., closed all places of public assembly such as churches, theaters, and dance halls. Seattle did the same and police declared that spitting in the streets would be cause for arrest. By October 7, Washington state was added to the list of states having influenza in epidemic proportions.
The causes and means of transmission of the disease were poorly understood in the early 1900s and as a result, the methods proposed for prevention were often bizarre. Dr. John B. Anderson, Spokane Health Officer, pointed out in the Spokesman-Review for October 10, 1918, that the methods used to fight pestilence in medieval times, such as public bonfires, the burning of mixtures of spices or of salt or vinegar sprinkled on flames were useless. Eye witness accounts tell of the practice in some areas around Spokane of burning sulfur on a kitchen range to protect those entering the home of a flu sufferer. Physicians in the community recommended living in the open, avoiding crowds, ingesting large quantities of water and avoiding fatigue as the best available preventive measures. One City Health Officer stated that the use of aspirin and phenacetin for analgesia was dangerous but that some of the digitalis group would be helpful in sustaining the heart during the illness. Gauze masks were recommended for use by the healthy to prevent exposure to the infection but the protection they afforded was questionable.
Today, we know that Influenza is caused by two types of viruses, that it primarily involves the nose, throat, and bronchial tree, and that it can extend into the lungs in the form of pneumonia, at which time a bacterial infection may be superimposed. What first presents as a simple illness with fever and chills and malaise can progress rapidly to a state in which the patient has shortness of breath, heart failure, and circulatory collapse leading to death. During the flu epidemic of 1918, the infectious agent was particularly virulent, placing the patient in desperate straits. This was particularly true in Europe where malnutrition was prevalent.
By October 8, Dr. Anderson declared that Spokane was in the throes of the influenza epidemic, and ordered that as of midnight, all schools, theaters, places of amusement, dance halls, churches, and Sunday Schools would be closed and that conventions and other public meetings were prohibited. Schools were closed the next day and students who showed up were sent home. I remember that day very well. To us boys, it was an unexpected vacation that allowed us to play war all day long. We had converted one of our friend’s backyard into a battlefield with trenches, dug-outs and other trappings of the battlefield. Clods of dirt made very good hand grenades and we got pretty good at lobbing them at each other.
Department stores were forbidden to have special sales as these would draw crowds. Rules regarding ventilation, sanitation, and spitting were strictly enforced. Jury trials were stopped and the Spokane Stock Exchange was closed.
The ban on public meetings brought some unforeseen results. The rule included funerals and weddings. One man’s funeral was scheduled for October 11. His wife hired a brass band to play at the service but was told that attendance would have to be limited. By arrangement with the City Health Officer, the services were held in the Gonzaga Chapel with only six mourners and six pallbearers present. The brass band and a large gathering of friends stayed outside in the open air.
A minister asked the City Health Department to determine if a wedding with 30 guests would be considered a public gathering. He was told that it was, and therefore, the wedding could not be held. The bride solved the problem by reducing the guest list and got married anyhow.
A clairvoyant was arrested for holding a séance for spirit-rapping. She claimed that it was not a public meeting but rather a gathering of friends. Her plea was of no avail and she was jailed. The proprietor of the Pastime Pool Room was arrested for continuing to hold card games. Then there was the case of the owner of a soft drink establishment who was arrested for having too large a crowd in his place. He weighed 350 pounds. When the police officers tried to put him into the patrol wagon, they discovered the door was too narrow for him to pass through, so to add to his indignity, he had to walk behind the paddy wagon to the station.
Bowling alleys were closed on October 11. As a result, toy and game departments of stores were flourishing as people looked for entertainment at home. Some theater managers made use of the closure of their establishments to redecorate the interiors. Two theater musicians, now without jobs, used the time to get married.
On October 14, Spokane experienced 59 new cases and three deaths. The City Council discussed the need for a public hospital for flu cases. A rapid solution consisted of using a downtown hotel for this purpose.
The municipal hospital for influenza patients opened at noon on October 17. It replaced the Lion Hotel at 1121/2 South Lincoln. Miss Ethel Butts of the Deaconess Hospital nursing staff was the hospital manager. The hotel furnished heat, linens, and maintenance.
The First Church of Christ Scientist asked the Health Department for permission to resume church services in the belief that their meetings would be effective in preventing the epidemic. Dr. Anderson replied that he could not waive the rules against indoor assemblies for one group only.
On October 30, the Red Cross summoned the women of Spokane to a sewing bee at the Old National Bank Building to sew flu masks for the Army Training Corps at Moscow, Idaho. The masks were made of six plies of surgical gauze, six by eight inches in size, gathered slightly at the narrow end with strings attached at each corner to tie around the head and neck.
By morning of October 22, the epidemic appeared to be lessening, but by the following day, there were 209 new cases and a total death toll of 35. Among these was a young woman who had given birth to a baby girl five days earlier. Her husband followed her in death the next day.
The sense of fear and helplessness bred by the situation led to feelings of anger and frustration. As part of the war effort, restaurants were required to conserve fats, and were limited to serving one pat of butter, weighing no more than half an ounce, to each customer. One jeweler in Spokane believed that the pat of butter he received was less than the allowed amount. When he could not get his grievance satisfied by his waiter, he announced that the next time he came for lunch, he was bringing his jeweler’s balance with him and his pat of butter better be a full half ounce.
Drug stores reported sales of large amounts of gargles, germicides, and inhalers. The clerks at the Exchange National Bank started wearing flu masks on the job. The bank president was already wearing his.
The Spokesman-Review for October 27 carried a large advertisement by the Davenport Hotel stressing the freshness of the air in the hotel. The public was told that the air was taken from above street level and then passed through “marvelous devices” to warm and humidify it. Two days later, the Kemp and Herbert Department Stores ran a similar advertisement saying that there was a constant change of air on every floor. Flu masks were now being worn by store clerks, messenger boys, and paper boys.
Seven people died in Spokane on October 28. There were 300 new cases and the flu hospital was filled to capacity. On November 3, the State Board of Health ordered that flu masks be worn throughout the state in all public conveyances, corridors, lobbies, and other public buildings. Stores were ordered to keep their doors wide open. The next day, the Superior Court closed for three weeks in response to the epidemic.
At midnight, November 10, 1918, the Armistice agreement was signed, ending World War I. This was an occasion for much celebration. Dr. Anderson said that if there was no marked increase in flu cases after the crowded celebrations, he would feel that the danger was past. At this time, the State Board of Health withdrew the mask regulation and stated that the quarantine might be lifted the following Sunday, after which theaters, schools, and churches could open.
On November 14, one Spokane citizen urged that the officials release confiscated whiskey to the flu sufferers to help their recovery. The Volstead Act prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages had become law on October 28. On November 15, the Judge of the Superior Court ruled that the whiskey could not be released, so the flu victims had to suffer soberly.
Spokane Public schools opened on November 25, but the Superintendent warned that one sneeze and the pupil would be sent home. If any member of a family had the flu, none of the children in that family were permitted to attend school.
On November 30, there was a dramatic rise in the number of flu cases 242 new ones; the next day there were 250. On December 2, several churches held memorial services for the victims and there were 603 new cases with 118 in the municipal hospital. Twenty-nine percent of the students were absent from school that day, and at an emergency meeting, the School Board asked the Health Department to close the schools again. The next day, the schools were closed indefinitely.
By December 5, 300,000 to 350,000 people had died in the United States since September 15. Walla Walla and Yakima reported that their hospitals were full of flu patients. In Spokane, the Health Department re-instituted a modified flu ban. Theaters were required to close and air out between 5 and 7 p.m. and to use only alternate rows of seats. Churches were allowed to have services only if they used alternate row seating and did not allow singing. Street cars could carry only as many passengers as could be seated. All homes with flu patients posted warning placards.
By December 13, the total reported cases in the city stood at 10,024. Western Union Life Insurance Company reported policy sales had doubled since the start of the epidemic and that their losses had increased. The total paid by Spokane County for widows’ pensions was the largest in its history. The disease reached its peak on the week ending December 7, with 2,210 cases and 52 deaths. The next week the number of cases was half that but the number of deaths was 76. By December 19, there were only 32 patients in the flu hospital and two deaths that day. Yakima reported that for the first time in six weeks, a day had passed without a death from the flu. The City Health Department ruled that Christmas church services could be held but would not allow any congregational singing.
On December 22, there were no deaths and only 23 patients in the flu hospital. On December 24, the patient count was down to 16. Dr. Anderson said that restrictions would be lifted after the first of the year and that theaters having modern systems of ventilation would be the first to be allowed to open.
Christmas arrived on this hopeful note. On December 31, the papers announced that schools would reopen on January 2 and that churches and theaters could also reopen. Dance halls had to stay closed. The two Spokane high schools reported only 10 to 15 percent absenteeism, although grade schools showed 30 to 50 percent absent. To recover lost time, school hours were lengthened.
Life was starting to return to normal. On January 13, 1919, the flu hospital closed its doors. It had been open for 89 days and had cared for 617 patients, 68 of whom had died. Miss Ethel Butts was in charge the entire time, and she served without pay.
During the epidemic, the four visiting nurses of the Social Service Bureau were of great help. Many times they found entire families ill with no one to take care of them. The nurses carried a supply of broth with them for those who were unable to prepare their own food. Physicians who had not been called into military service had provided care and reassurance to the multitude of patients whom they had visited day and night at their homes and at the hospital. Morticians worked overtime to remove the dead and maintain burial services.
The incidence of illness gradually tapered off and after the middle of January, news items regarding the epidemic dropped from 12 or more column inches a day to one or two. On January 23, 12 cases were reported, with no deaths. Except for a brief resurgence during the first three months of 1920, the epidemic was over. For the entire period in Spokane, out of a total of 16,985 patients with influenza and its complications, 1,045 had succumbed. Compared to many other cities, Spokane had suffered lightly.
The citizenry reacted well toward the problems produced by the epidemic even though this was a period disrupted by the demands of an all out war in Europe and the adjustments needed for the establishment of peace. The annual report of the City Health Department for 1918 makes special mention of how the people rallied with volunteer efforts to relieve suffering, by transporting and assisting stricken families and aiding doctors and nurses in their labors, particularly at the influenza hospital.
Farmers in the surrounding areas freely donated food supplies such as eggs and milk; stores donated fruit and vegetables to the hospital; the city and county governments furnished money and supplies to the needy. A sense of personal responsibility for helping in an emergency was evident.
Today there is little by which to remember the event. There are few who can recall it. The hotel which housed the flu hospital has been torn down and the site is now a downtown motel. The only remaining physical evidences of the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 are the newspaper reports, the official health records and some tombstones in the cemeteries.
source: The Pacific Northwesterner, Vol. 33, No. 1, 1989.
This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution.
Link to Idaho 1918 Influenza Pandemic (Part 1)
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