Idaho History Dec 12, 2021

Idaho 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic

Part 84

Idaho Newspaper Clippings March 2-5, 1920

Idaho photos courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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March 2

The Idaho Republican. March 02, 1920, Page 1


Mrs. Ball Dies At Idaho Falls

Word has been received of the death of Mrs. E. B. Ball of Idaho Falls, after suffering three weeks from influenza. Mrs. Ball was thirty-four years of age at the time of her death and is survived by her husband and seven children. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Hatch of this city.
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A Good Insurance Company

Idaho has a life insurance company of its own that believes in protecting people on their policies and practices what it advocates. The Idaho State Life Insurance company, of Boise, represented in Bingham county by William Anthony of Blackfoot, has just demonstrated the value of its insurance policies by something that happened in the Kimball neighborhood recently. Just one year ago, March 3, 1919, John P. Jorgensen, a poor man living at Kimball, places his order for $1000 of life insurance, agreeing to pay $23 premium on the fifteenth of the following November, for which he gave his note.

Mr. Jorgensen had a family of seven, it was not a very good season, and he was unable to pay the note. On the first day of February, 1920 Mr. Jorgensen died of influenza, leaving the note unpaid. Mr. Anthony, the local agent, reported the death and notwithstanding the fact that nothing had been paid on the policy, the company very prompty [sic] issued a check to Mrs. Jorgensen for $1000 and paid the claim in the usual way, accepting from her the delayed payment of the premium after the death of the insured.

The company organized some ten or twelve years ago at Boise, and Edward S. Chadwick, general manager, stated that they were glad to pay this claim and thus place a sum of money where it would do a good service.

source: The Idaho Republican. (Blackfoot, Idaho), 02 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Idaho Republican. March 02, 1920, Page 5

Local News

Mrs. Cecil Lint has recovered from her recent illness and has returned to her school at Kimball.

Earl Frandsen of Basalt died Friday night after suffering for some time with the influenza.

Mrs. Mabel Felt of Wapello is reported very ill with the pneumonia.

Mrs. LeRoy Jones has taken the position of fifth grade teacher at the Central school made vacant by the death of Mrs. Garvin.

Mrs. Hazel Von Lostiwicka returned to her school in Groveland, after an absence of a week.

(ibid, page 5)
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The Idaho Republican. March 02, 1920, Page 7


The nine year old son of L. P. Walker died at his home in Basalt Monday morning after a few days illness.

Mrs. Duff Quinn, who has been seriously ill with pneumonia is reported out of danger.

Miss Jessie Firth came home Saturday from her school in Blackfoot and was unable to return due to illness.

Chaplain Knowl, who was to have given a lecture at the Lutheran church Sunday morning failed to keep his appointment on account of being ill with the influenza.

Jack the three year old son of Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Farmer became very ill Sunday evening while visiting in Blackfoot, but is improved at this writing.

(ibid, page 7)
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The Caldwell Tribune. March 02, 1920, Page 5


Midway News

Charles Metcalf is suffering from an attack of the influenza.

Mrs. Charles Gulley of Columbus, Indiana who was called here three months ago by the illness and subsequent death of her brother, H. D. Burnett, left for her home last week.

Midway friends of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Marek of Bowmont, former residents of Midway will be sorry to hear of the death of their three year old son, which occurred Tuesday from diphtheria.
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Card Of Thanks

We desire to thank our many neighbors for their kindly sympathy and assistance during the illness and the death of our beloved husband and father, also for the many beautiful floral offerings.

Mrs. Susan B. Crogan and family

source: The Caldwell Tribune. (Caldwell, Idaho), 02 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Caldwell Tribune. March 02, 1920, Page 7

Canyon News

Mrs. G. H. Myers is sick with the influenza. She is getting along well and is now in a state of convalescence.

Mrs. Frank Ihli has been suffering with an affection of the lachymal duct. She is under the care of her mother, Mrs. D. B. Myers.

Florence Sumers has been suffering for weeks with a severe case of blood poisoning. This was caused by neglecting a trifling accident.
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Maple Grove

Mr. and Mrs. Corn have been having the influenza.

(ibid, page 7)
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The Caldwell Tribune. March 02, 1920, Page 8

Items of Interest From Surrounding Territory


There are some cases of influenza in this district. Three cases have been reported from Garrity. There are several cases near Claytonia. Grandma Reynolds was taken to the hospital thinking she had the influenza but we are glad to state she soon came home again.

Mr. R. Dale was seen on the streets of Caldwell last Friday afternoon.

Some of the farmers in this neighborhood are wishing for spring to begin. Some are burning weeds and some have made an attempt to plow.

Ten Davis News

Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Small returned Monday evening from Portland where they attended the funeral of Mrs. Small’s brother. They would have stayed for a short visit but all their relatives were quarantined with influenza.

Miss Ruth Miler who has been ill with pneumonia is able to be up and around now.

Maple Grove

Mrs. Edith Starr is recovering from an attack of the mumps.

Clenton Northroup is able to again enter school after a long absence due to pneumonia followed by the influenza.

Mrs. E. R. Jones has been very poorly the past week.

(ibid, page 8)
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The Caldwell Tribune. March 02, 1920, Page 10

Local And Personal

Mr. E. Barnes’ baby who has been ill from auto-intoxication is convalescing.

E. C. Kickok is out after an extended confinement with the influenza.

Clark Travis died of pneumonia and other complications Sunday night at 11 o’clock at the home of his father-in-law, Mark Newman, at Lake View. Mr. Travis recently returned from Oregon. No arrangement have been made as yet for funeral services.

Mrs. John Caldwell went to Boise this morning to spend the week with her sister-in-law, who is very ill.

(ibid, page 10)
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Bonners Ferry Herald. March 02, 1920, Page 4


Local Pick-ups

Miss Ruth Buchanan returned home last Tuesday from Spokane where she had been called by the illness of her sister. While in Spokane Miss Buchanan contracted an attack of influenza.

Miss Esther Johnson, teacher of the primary grade of Independent School District No. 4, has been ill with Spanish influenza for several days and in her absence Miss Mildred Reid is in charge of the pupils.

Tom Nicholson returned last Tuesday evening from Hot Springs, Oreg., where had had spend a couple of weeks taking treatment for rheumatism. He says that the baths helped him a great deal. On his way home he stopped off in Spokane and purchased a carload of Canadian beef cattle which were shipped here Thursday.

source: Bonners Ferry Herald. (Bonners Ferry, Idaho), 02 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Bonners Ferry Herald. March 02, 1920, Page 5

Local Pick-ups

E. E. Saunders, of the Hawks Drug Store, is an influenza victim and has been confined to his bed since Saturday.

J. J. Eitelbuss was able to be up and around yesterday after a severe attack of the influenza. He was taken sick here on his way home to his ranch near Perkins Lake, after a visit in Sandpoint. Mrs. Eitelbuss was here to nurse her husband.

Mrs. Frank B. White left last Tuesday for Portland, Oreg., in response to a telegram telling of the serious illness of her sister.

The Delphian society was entertained yesterday afternoon at the home of Mrs. E. L. Palmer. The regular program was dispensed with on account of the illness of many members and the afternoon was spent in sewing and social conversation.

Olaf Dahl plans to leave Monday for his home in Sweden and yesterday his friends circulated a paper to raise funds to help pay the expenses of the trip. Dahl has been crippled for several years.

The War Department has just telegraphed The Adjutant General of Idaho authority to purchase horses locally through Idaho for the Regiment of Cavalry now being organized in this state. Colonel Patch is now getting in touch with horse dealers and horse owners to secure desirable mounts of the Cavalry type.

(ibid, page 5)
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Bonners Ferry Herald. March 02, 1920, Page 8

Copeland News Notes

Miss June Cook is quite ill with influenza. She is missed at the Copeland school and we all hope for her speedy recovery.

Mrs. and Mrs. Lamson and family are all sick this week with the Spanish influenza.

(ibid, page 7)
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Josephine Hospital, Weiser, Idaho ca. 1908 (1)


Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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March 4

The Filer Record., March 04, 1920, Page 9


Maroa Notes

Grace Malone and Grace De Moss are out of school with the “flu.”

Mrs. McAtee is on the sick list.

The future as well as the present looks bright at Maroa. The electric line is completed and part of the fixtures are placed.
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Elmwood Items

Miss Esther Chapman was absent from school Wednesday on account of illness.

Miss Clenca Daud, teacher of the higher grades was unable to teach Thursday and Friday on account of illness.

source: The Filer Record. (Filer, Idaho), 04 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Idaho County Free Press. March 04, 1920, Page 1


School Trustees Of County To Assemble

Annual meeting of school trustees of Idaho county will be held in the courthouse in Grangeville on March 19, opening at 10:30 a.m., Miss Margaret Sweet, county superintendent of school, announces. A meeting of trustees also will be held in Kooskia on March 12. …

During the last two weeks Miss Margaret Sweet has visited fourteen schools in the Clearwater section. She reports that, despite many cases of influenza in that country, most of the schools have resumed work. There was little snow but much ice along the mountain roads. Sheets of ice are still stacked to the height of five to ten feet along the margins of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater.
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Can’t Sell Rum in Idaho, Even on U. S. Permit

Druggists in Idaho are not permitted to sell whiskey or other intoxicating liquors for medicinal purposes, under the federal permit system, according to a ruling issued by Roy L. Black, attorney general at Boise

Despite the prohibition amendment to the U. S. constitution, the government allows pharmacists to dispense liquors on a prescriptions from physicians, in states where the state laws to suppress the liquor traffic are not more drastic than federal regulations.

The question involving right of physicians to prescribe intoxicants in Idaho, and druggists to fill the prescriptions, was placed before the attorney general, who replied positively:

“They cannot do so under the Idaho law.”

Therefore, old-time imbibers in Idaho, who thought they could again quench their thirst from the cup that cheers, have suffered a decided setback.

Louis Williams, internal revenue collector for Idaho, has asserted that the state law governs, and that, in Idaho, the bone dry law, which is more severe in its terms than the federal law, abrogates that provision of the federal act relating to dispensing liquors on a physician’s prescription, for the state prohibits such action, and can prosecute offenders.

Governing provisions of the state law are cited as Sections 2604 and 2649, Chapter 125, complied statutes 1919 edition.

source: Idaho County Free Press. (Grangeville, Idaho), 04 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Idaho County Free Press. March 04, 1920, Page 2


(Special Correspondence)

Mrs. Emma Holden left Saturday for the Wyatt ranch, where she will care for her sister, who is suffering a relapse from influenza.

Anna Lauretts Maharin, infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Mahurin, died Friday night at 9, at the family home in Whitebird, as a result of bronchial pneumonia.

Anna Lauretta was 5 months, 14 days of age. She was born Sept. 13, 1919 in Whitebird.

Surviving her are her parents, two brothers, Russell and Louis, and a sister, Maude.

Funeral services were held in the church Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock, in charge of the pastor, the Rev. Mr. Gamble. Burial was in the Whitebird cemetery.

(ibid, page 2)
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Idaho County Free Press. March 04, 1920, Page 3


(Too late for last week)

Mrs. Marion Weber is recovering from a severe attack of influenza.

J. E. Withrow is still confined to his home with influenza.

(ibid, page 3)
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Idaho County Free Press. March 04, 1920, Page 6


Cecil Church has returned home from Corning, Cal., where he spent the winter for benefit of his health. His condition is much improved, though he was taken ill with influenza immediately he arrived in Grangeville.

J. Frank Sims has gone to Hot Lake, Ore., in hope of benefiting his health.
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19200304ICFP2Why Colds Are Dangerous

It is the serious diseases that colds lead to that makes them dangerous. They prepare the system for the reception and development of the germs of influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, whooping cough and measles. You are much more likely to contract these diseases when you have a cold. For that reason you should get rid of very cold as quickly as possible. Chamberlain’s Cough Remedy will help you. It is widely known as a cure for bad colds.


(ibid, page 6)
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The Nezperce Herald., March 04, 1920, Page 1


Local News

Easter comes on April 4. Get your glad rags.

Chas. J. Larson, the Reubens merchant is visiting his son, Albert, and family in this vicinity this week. The senior Mr. Larson has just recovered from a siege of the flu and is taking a little vacation to recuperate his strength.

Miss Stella Boothe, the Red Cross nurse who recently conducted classes in home nursing in Nezperce, Craigmont and Winchester, and has since been directing the Red Cross work against the influenza epidemic at Lewiston, was last week appointed to take up the training of home nursing classes at Kamiah, Kooskia, Stites and Peck.

Dr. and Mrs. J. L. Kelly were visitors in the city from Winchester Tuesday.

The big social gathering and program planned to have been held some time back by the local Camp of the Woodmen of the World, is set for next Wednesday night, March 10; when it is hoped all Woodmen and Circle members and their families will attend and take part in and enjoy the festivities.

Harry Herrick went off duty March 1 as rural mail carrier on Nezperce route No. 3, and that job is now open to applicants. It pays about $150 per month.

source: The Nezperce Herald. (Nezperce, Idaho), 04 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Nezperce Herald., March 04, 1920, Page 7

Local and Personal News Notes

Of the 48 cases of influenza during the recent epidemic on Central Ridge all are either recovering or are on the road to recovery.

Supt. C. J. Skinner of the public schools was off duty this week as the result of a wrenched back, sustained while at the gym practice with the high school boys last Friday night.

(ibid, page 7)
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Carethers Hospital, Moscow, Idaho


Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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March 5

The Rathdrum Tribune., March 05, 1920, Page 1


Flu Ban Is Lifted
Schools Re-open; Church, Show, Lodges Resume

The flu ban in Rathdrum was lifted last Saturday afternoon, when Chairman C. F. Borell of the village board, upon advice of Dr. F. Wenz, local health officer, rescinded the closing regulations established under authority of ordinance No. 63 two weeks before.

School re-opened promptly Monday morning with Superintendent Swenson and all the teachers at their posts, excepting Miss Layton, who had not sufficiently recovered.

The church remained closed last Sunday but regular services and Sunday school and young people’s meetings will be resumed March 7.

Lodges have resumed meetings, and the Star theatre is open again. All other public and social activities are also back on a “pre-flu” basis.

All but two or three homes in Rathdrum are again free from quarantine, and so far there have been no deaths here during this epidemic.
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Questions For School Boards


2. Should the per capita school tax levy be increased for next year/

3. What, if any thing, can be done to relieve the shortage in the supply of teachers? Should the standard of qualification be lowered, or wages increased, or should opportunities for qualifying be made more convenient?

5. Should county superintendents have more authority with reference to granting permits to teach in emergencies until the next teachers’ examination?

9. What about teachers’ salaries during vacations, and closing for contagious and infectious diseases?
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From Over The County

Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake teachers who gave their services as nurses during the influenza epidemic were Misses Payne, Ankbus [?], Lortz and Nicholson.

The town marshal has begun collecting dog taxes.


The school at Rose Lake had to be closed because of the influenza epidemic.

Harrison post No. 51, American Legion, holds regular meeting first and third Thursdays of each month.

Coeur d’Alene

Edith Berryman, age 13, died last Sunday of influenza-pneumonia, after an illness of three weeks.

William Evans died recently of pneumonia. He was a brother of E. Evans who moved to this vicinity from near Rathdrum last year.

Mrs. Harriet Olson, age 42, died Tuesday of pneumonia following influenza.

J. V. Buck was reelected superintendent of the Coeur d’Alene public schools after a fight against him led by E. R. Whitia who sought to induce the board to employ a new man.
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County Tax On Dogs
Canines Also Hit By Village License

Field deputies have begun assessing dogs of Kootenai county by order of the county commissioners, acting under authority of Section 1913 of the Idaho Complied Statutes of 1919, which provides a “county dog tax” of $2 and $4.

This section is in chapter 77, which seeks to protect sheep and goats. The owners or harborer of a dog is made liable for damages if the dog worries or kills sheep or goats, and any owner of sheep or goats catching dogs worrying or killing his stock may kill such dogs without incurring any penalty for so doing. Furthermore, the statute provides that any person is guilty of a misdemeanor who permits his dogs to run at large in town or country after notice has been served on such owner that complaint has been filed against his dog.

The attention of dog owners in Rathdrum was attracted to this law last week when the field deputy assessor began listing canines along with other property. As the village trustees are collecting a license on dogs, under an ordinance enacted some years ago, some persons are of the opinion that is constitutes a double assessment. However, there appears to [be] nothing in the law prohibiting the collecting of a village license on dogs.
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Idaho State News Items

The war department has issued a statement showing that of 105,337 Idaho men who registered under the draft law 1484 shirked their duty and are now carried as deserters or draft dodgers. Of this number 786 deserters have been apprehended and their cases disposed of, while 698 are still at large, and their cases still pending.
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World News In Brief

The U. S. quartermaster department has sold to soviet Russia by bid 150,000 pairs of army shoes at $1.25 to $2 per pair.

source: The Rathdrum Tribune. (Rathdrum, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Rathdrum Tribune., March 05, 1920, Page 2

[Editorial Page]

That pneumonia follows influenza even as late as five weeks after with, in many cases, fatal results, proves the wisdom of taking more than ordinary care of the health for some times after recovery seems complete.
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Twin Lakes Lad Died In Spokane

Henry Young, 16 years, died in Spokane Saturday evening of pneumonia following an attack of influenza five weeks before.

The body was brought to Rathdrum his former home, and buried from O. W. Stone’s chapel Tuesday forenoon Rev. G. E. James officiated.

Deceased is a son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Young, who came to Idaho many years ago and has resided on a farm on upper Twin lakes. Last fall the family took apartments at the Willard hotel in Spokane that Henry might attend the Lewis and Clarke high school, in which school he was a sophomore. Besides his parents he is survived by two brothers, Marvel and Reland at Twin Lakes and two sisters Mrs. Ross Miller of Los Angeles and Mrs. Idena Bacon of Seattle.
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Died Near Garwood

Mrs. Lester O. Zornes, age 25 years, died of influenza last Monday, March 1, at the farm near Garwood, about six miles east of Rathdrum. The funeral was held from O. W. Stone’s chapel Wednesday afternoon, Rev. G. E. James officiating. A large number of neighbors, including the members of the farmers’ union, were in attendance.

Lilly Pearl Barry was born in Atlas, Ill., Feb. 26, 1895. She united with the Congregational church at the age of 11, and was married to Lester O. Zornes Feb. 11, 1914. She leaves to mourn her loss a husband and three children; also, father and mother, three sisters and three brothers.
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The School Column
From The School

School Notes

Mr. C. L. Harlan of Lewiston spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in the elementary school administering tests and measurements. His work represents a new innovation in education. Certain standards have been evolved by giving tests to several thousand pupils and then striking a medium for each grade.

Intelligence tests, similar to those given in the army, are first given, then standardized tests in individual subjects. The first will tell what a pupil is able to do, the others will indicate whether or not he is up to grade. The medium as shown for an entire grade in a subject, when compared with the standard for that grade, and when the intelligence average is normal, – gives a good idea of the work being done there. If a grade is shown up as being weak in Reading but above standard in Arithmetic, more time may be spend on the one and less on the other. If an individual pupil is shown to have the ability, in one particular subject, of a pupil in the grade above but proves to be below grade in another subject, the teacher may then permit such a pupil to devote more time to the latter at the expense of the former subject.

It is obvious that, as a usual thing, the possibilities of a pupil are not given much attention. We deal with pupils in groups, not recognizing that they have different kinds of talent. This is a situation that is, of course, hard to remedy because a teacher’s time is limited. However, while these tests may not be infallible, they help the teacher to diagnose her room and bring forcibly to her attention the individual needs of her pupils.

Capt. Harlan, during the war, was a member of the Psychological Board whose duty it was to sift the recruits by means of “army tests.” Before his enlistment he was connected with the Department of Psychology of the University of Minnesota.

The giving, scoring and tabulation of this work is a big task. Mr. Harlan had time to give only three tests. We intend to give others before long. But we are grateful to the local Board of Education for making it financially possible for us to make a beginning along this line. Rathdrum is the third school in Idaho to request Mr. Harlan’s services.
— —


(ibid, page 2)
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The Rathdrum Tribune., March 05, 1920, Page 3

Personal Mention

Ernest Reiniger is in his store again, having had but a light attack of the influenza.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meider were here Tuesday from Blanchard to attend the funeral of Henry Young.

Miss Gladys House returned to Spokane after several days’ stay caring for influenza patients at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. House near town.
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Local Paragraphs

Another home, that of H. C. Jensen, was quarantined with influenza Wednesday. Several members of the family are ill. These are the only new cases reported in town this week.

The town dog tags arrived last Friday and [?] to date nineteen individuals have paid license on their canines.

A two-inch snow fall Thursday morning broke the winter drouth and settled the dust on the roads. According to the Spokane weather bureau February, 1920, was the dryest [sic] February since 1881.

(ibid, page 3)
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Cottonwood Chronicle. March 05, 1920, Page 2


School Notes
By Wm. A. Lustie

Monthly summary of High School for February.

Total enrollment for the month 46.
Total enrollment to date 54.
Total enrollment for same month last year 42.
Average daily attendance 40.
Per cent of attendance 90.
Total number days absent 52.
Number of visitors 4.

This is not an average report since there were only 10 school days in February. …
— —

Word was received from Mrs. Geo. Whitson of Melrose that they were all recovering nicely from the effects of the influenza, which is welcoming news to their many friends here.
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Give Your Number

In writing to the War Department for any information, or the War Risk Insurance department, ex-service men are requested to always give their Insurance Certificate Number. No doubt thousands of times where this has been omitted your name as been connected with the wrong person, yet perhaps with the same name.

In the files of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance the name Willie Smith, appears 3212 times, John Johnston, 2138 times, Wm. Johntson [sic] 2032 times. There are 51900 Smiths, 48000 Browns, 47000 Williams, 28050 Jones, 22000 Andersons, 18500 Walkers and 2500 Millers. 52 John J. O’Briens, 14 of whom made allotments to wives named Mary. The Rodriguez family from Porto Rico sent 894 men having only 7 first names, Domingo, Francisco, Jose, Juan, Romon, Tomas, and Antonio, all serial numbers in the 600,000’s.

Some of the odd names found are, Mih Gosh, Asad Experience Wilson, Velvet Couch, Will Swindle, Owen Money, Great Britton Turner, Dinner Bell Page, Fine German, Lloyd George Parliment, Willie Darling, E. Pluribus Brown, Slaughter Bugg, Wash Day Clouds, Green Berry Bush, Little Kiffie Karr, Brasse Mule, and Isaac Did-not Butcher. The longest one found is Harry Adolph Thomas Richard Eugene Bullock. …

source: Cottonwood Chronicle. (Cottonwood, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Cottonwood Chronicle. March 05, 1920, Page 8

Cottonwood And Vicinity
Personal Mention and Local Happenings of the Week in This Vicinity

The Mat Seubert family, who have all been down with influenza are now able to be out again.

Dr. W. F. Orr is again able to be out after having been confined to his home with a severe cold. He departed Monday morning for a business trip to Spokane.

Dick Cooper, the mail carrier between Cottonwood and Keuterville was again able to resume his duties Monday after a siege with influenza for almost two weeks. While somewhat late in announcing the fact, during his absence on the mail route he also became the father of a big boy, who arrived at the Cooper home on Lincoln’s birthday.

Miss Lulu Adams, trained nurse, is home from Cottonwood, where she was called several weeks ago to nurse influenza cases. Miss Adams remained at Cottonwood throughout the epidemic and assisted in caring for a large number of the afflicted people. She was stricken about two weeks ago and is now recovering from the disease. — Lewiston Tribune

Tom Parker who has been afflicted with influenza for the past week was again able to resume his duties at the First National Bank Wednesday.

(ibid, page 8)
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Montpelier Examiner. March 05, 1920, Page 4


19200305ME2Warning To Public

Parents are hereby warned to keep their children from all public gatherings. There is a great deal of whooping cough prevalent in the city and some outside districts, and children must be protected from becoming exposed to the disease. Failure to comply with this request will mean prosecution to the guilty ones.

Signed, Dr. H. H. King, County Health Officer
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Paris Notes

A severe epidemic of whooping cough is being felt here. None of the cases have been serious, but several have been reported.

Miss Eva Wallentine is teaching school for a week in Georgetown, taking the place of the regular teacher, Mr. Walter Clark.

source: Montpelier Examiner. (Montpelier, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Montpelier Examiner. March 05, 1920, Page 9

Local News

Arthur Eborn of Lanark is reported seriously ill with an attack of pneumonia.

Mrs. Lysander Berry of Cedar Fort, Utah, arrived in Montpelier yesterday and will attend the funeral services of Mrs. John T. Passey at Paris tomorrow.

Mrs. George Clifton of Magrath, Canada, reached Montpelier today, and will go to Paris tomorrow to attend the funeral services of Mrs. John T. Passey.

William Crossley and John Brewer, prominent residents of St. Charles were in Montpelier on Monday on Business matters. The gentlemen brought in loads of potatoes for the local market. They report everything as getting along nicely in their community.

Miss Nora Beckstrom spent Sunday in the city with her father. She had been at the hospital in Pocatello for a week taking treatment for ear trouble. She returned to Hazelton Monday to renew her duties as teacher in the public schools. She was accompanied by Oren Campbell, principal of the high school at Paul.
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Card Of Thanks

We desire to express our heartfelt thanks to our many friends for the kindness they have shown in our sad bereavement, especially Bishops Perkins and Crockett, members of the Masonic Lodge, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, the B. of L. F. & E. and the Auxiliary and the Neighbors of Woodcraft for the beautiful floral offerings. Also the friends who furnished their cars.

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. E. Richards
W. E. Richards

(ibid, page 9)
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American Falls Press. March 05, 1920, Page 1


19200305AFP2Influenza Decreases

A noticeable decrease in influenza cases has been noted the past week according to local physicians who have been watching most of the cases. A few cases have developed but most of them are very mild and border on severe colds rather than influenza. Smallpox cases developed in the Stanger and Morgan families and other cases are expected as a result. Mr. Stanger became ill at Rupert and was brought home in a condition that rapidly developed into smallpox.

source: American Falls Press. (American Falls, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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American Falls Press. March 05, 1920, Page 5

Local Briefs

Mrs. Henderson, who has been nursing influenza cases at Landing the past few weeks, returned home Wednesday. She reports the flu situation in that section improving.

Mrs. J. A. Ford has been ill the past week.

Mrs. Saling was confined to her home Wednesday with a cold.

Governor Davis and Adjutant General L. V. Patch were in American Falls Friday.

(ibid, page 5)
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The Idaho Republican. March 05, 1920, Page 3



Ezra Kunz and family are all suffering from the flu. Miss Eva Williams has been assisting them until last Wednesday when Mrs. Louisa Kunz of Berne, Bare Lake county came to the aid of her son and family.

France Hawks has had a very sick baby for some days past.

Nate Goodwin is improving from his recent severe attack of influenza-pneumonia.

Hans Christensen, who was recovering from the flu, has taken a back-set and is again very sick.

Ave Goodwin and family are suffering from the flu.

Miss Isabelle Maughan is recovering from an attack of the flu.

Mrs. Dora Anderson is suffering from an attack of gall stones.

Mrs. William Bingham of Rockford died at her home on the night of February 27. She leaves a husband and five children to mourn her sudden taking away. The sympathy of the whole community will go out to the bereaved ones in their sad hour.

source: The Idaho Republican. (Blackfoot, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
— — — —

The Idaho Republican. March 05, 1920, Page 7

Local News

Mrs. W. A. McVivar is reported ill.

Miss Jessie Firth is ill at her home in Firth.

Marie Burgraff is able to be back at Seeger’s after a short illness.

C. W. Spalding has been ill at his home on East Judicial street for some time.

Misses Henley and Schroeder have resumed their school duties after several weeks’ absence on account of illness.

Rev. Gillilan was out Wednesday for the first time after a stay in the house for nearly a week, necessitated by a severe cold.
— —


Mrs. J. S. Gardner and small son are on the sick list this week.

Clifford Plant has been substituting for Mrs. Gardner, who is ill.

Mr. and Mrs. U. W. Taylor visited Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Conkle of Blackfoot Tuesday evening. Mr. Conkle is very ill.

(ibid, page 7)
— — — —

The Idaho Republican. March 05, 1920, Page 10


The Riverview school has been closed this week, due to the illness of the teacher Bert Winchell.

Mr. Scarborough has returned to his duties as freight agent at the O. S. L. depot after an extended absence due to serious illness.

William Jolley is unable to be at his duties in the Jolley garage due to the influenza.

(ibid, page 10)
— — — — — — — — — —

Shoshone Journal. March 05, 1920, Page 1


High School Notes

Many of the teachers and pupils who have been ill with the flu are back at school again.

If the influenza ban is lifted the basket ball girls will be at the Twin Falls tournament March 5.

Miss Brooks is still under the doctor’s care but it is hoped she will be with us next week.
— —

Dietrich Precinct Notes

Carol Borden has been suffering with the flu for a week past but is now recovering.

Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Kislini, of Seattle, formerly of this place, have lost their little three months old baby, the only child of the family.
— —

Dietrich School Notes

The Morrow, McClure, Barrachoa and Gallentine children have recovered from the flu and are back in school again.

source: Shoshone Journal. (Shoshone, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
— — — —

Shoshone Journal. March 05, 1920, Page 5

Local Items
I can not say what the truth may be, I tell the tale as ’twas told to me.

Emil Lacey was confined to his room last week with a mild case of influenza.

Mr. and Mrs. Clinger have had a visit from the flu but are recovering.

Bud Yaden has been unable to attend to his duties this week on account of a severe attack of tonsillitis.

The two months old infant of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Cantrill, who resides about two and one-half miles south-east of Dietrich, was buried in the Shoshone cemetery last Wednesday afternoon.

Six and a half feet of snow is reported at Galena Summit, and still snowing.

(ibid, page 5)
— — — —

Shoshone Journal. March 05, 1920, Page 8

Darrah Community Items

Bad colds and coughs have interfered greatly with school attendance the past three weeks.

Mrs. J. H. Scott has been confined to her bed with the flu.

Mrs. Jim Holmes and Mr. Ritter are both reported to be ill with the flu.

(ibid, page 8)
— — — — — — — — — —

The Caldwell Tribune. March 05, 1920, Page 3


Local And Personal

Mr. and Mrs. Omer Starr of Meridian motored here Sunday to spend the day with Mr. and Mrs. John Reed of Logan street. Mr. Starr was taken suddenly ill in the evening, a doctor was called, who pronounced it the influenza. Mrs. Starr is a niece of Mrs. Reed. They are doing everything they can to make their patient comfortable.

Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Carson’s children are still ill from relapse of influenza.

Mr. Hagans who was sent for last week on account of the serious illness of his daughter, returned to his ranch near Weiser, Wednesday.

C. H. Dowman, superintendent of the Caldwell schools, returned Monday evening from Toledo where he attended a meeting of National educations association. According to Mr. Dowman there were about 8000 educators in attendance at the meetings. Facilities for handling the enormous crowd were taxed to the utmost.

Harry Balcom went to Spokane last week where he was called by the death of his mother.

Mr. Robert H. Weed, deputy horticulture inspector of Parma, Idaho, visited the south part of the city Monday looking after scale on shrubbery and fruit trees and ordered citizens to spray.

Miss Del Carey, formerly engaged in the corset department of the Cougal-Southwick department store of Seattle, arrived in Caldwell Tuesday evening to take charge of the corset department at Oakes Brothers. Miss Carey is a thoroughly experienced corsetiere and an expert fitter.

source: The Caldwell Tribune. (Caldwell, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
— — — —

The Caldwell Tribune. March 05, 1920, Page 8

College Notes

Miss Lois Jackson returned to school Monday after an illness of several days.

Miss Mary Thompson is ill with the mumps.

Students who have been aware of the great calamity which struck Miss Rudy on her return trip from the debate at Gooding will be relieved to know that she recovered her lost hat.

(ibid, page 8)
— — — —

The Caldwell Tribune. March 05, 1920, Page 9

Marble Front Items

Miss Alice Mason returned to school Monday after having been confined at home for about two weeks with the mumps.

Wilder Items

Miss Elizabeth Russell took up her duties on Monday as assistant post mistress of Wilder.

(ibid, page 9)
— — — —

The Caldwell Tribune. March 05, 1920, Page 10

Items of Interest From Surrounding Territory

Sunny Slope

Our correspondence has been silent quite long enough. There has been such a siege of sickness through the community for the last six weeks that every one has been very much occupied. And while ye correspondent would like to give the names of the ailing ones he hesitates to do so, for fear some one will not be mentioned and might be offended. It is safe to say that we have all been sick.

Mr. N. C. Croghan passed away at his home last Thursday morning after an illness of several weeks duration. Mr. Croghan leaves a wife and four children to mourn his loss. The family moved here but recently and the sympathy of the community is extended to them.

Mrs. G. E. Gammon entertained the ladies aid last Wednesday afternoon. Last months meeting was postponed on account the influenza epidemic.


Mrs. H. A. Bushley, who was quite ill last week is improving.

Harvey Hunt has been confined to his home for several days on account of illness.

George Camp is on the sick list.

The agricultural class, under their instructor, W. E. Goodell are testing samples of milk from different dairy herds, at the high school laboratory.

A. J. Rockwood’s car was stolen from street in Parma, near where he was working. It was reported to Chief O. G. Boyd at once and a search started but no car could be located. Next morning when John Burgher came to work he found the car right where it was taken from, so he took it to the garage. Raymond Dickerson confessed to the theft and was arrested and taken before Judge Walter Kerrick where he plead guilty and was fined $15 and costs. Raymond Dickerson had taken the car to Meridian to a dance. The car was not damaged in any way and there was more gasoline in the tank than when taken.

Midway News

T. F. Fry is confined to his bed with a serious case of heart trouble.

(ibid, page 10)
— — — — — — — — — —

The Meridian Times., March 05, 1920, Page 6


Inland Northwest

19200305MT2Every inhabitant of a Piute Indian village in Inyo county, Cal., near Dyer, Nev., has been stricken with influenza, according to a report brought to Tonopah by a rural mail carrier. He said there had been more than 100 deaths and none had received medical attention.

An anti-vaccination league has been formed at Marshfield, Ore., with more than 100 members, for the purpose of preventing the vaccination of school children.

The school trustees of Boseman, Mont., have decided on a rise of salary for teachers, to go into effect at the beginning of the next term in September.

Smuggling liquor from Canada by airplane into Oregon is said to be the latest scheme to evade the law.

source: The Meridian Times. (Meridian, Idaho), 05 March 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
— — — —

The Meridian Times., March 05, 1920, Page 8

Meridian News Notes

A local doctor presented the telephone force four boxes of delicious candy one day this week, “In appreciation of splendid work during the flu.”

Floyd Adams, who was taken to a Boise hospital several days ago, in a critical condition, with lung trouble, is better at this writing, and the doctors think the boy has a chance to recover. Floyd has lots of friends who wish for his speedy return to health.

Lois Ellis is ill with a slight attack of scarlet fever.

Mrs. C. P. Wickland, daughter of Mrs. Budd Davis, is seriously ill in a Boise hospital.

Mrs. Charles Mace died at her home near Meridian yesterday. The deceased is survived by her husband and two children.

The funeral service of James M. Grooms was held Saturday afternoon from the Christian church, and a large crowd was present. Rev. C. E. Mell spoke of the worthy life of the deceased and of his many good qualities.
— —

Death Of Little Daughter Of Leo Marsters

Gladys Marsters, the 13-year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Marsters, residing on a ranch north of Meridian, died at a Boise hospital Wednesday night at 10 o’clock from a complication of diseases following influenza.

(ibid, page 8)

Further Reading

Vaccine Hesitancy in the 1920s

As Progressive Era reforms increased the power of government, organized opposition to vaccination campaigns took on a new life.

By Matthew Wills July 28, 2021 JSTOR Daily

1920vaccinehesitancy-avia Wikimedia Commons

Since their introduction in early nineteenth-century America, vaccines have given rise to anti-vaccine movements. Opposition has come from various ideological quarters, driven by what scholar James Colgrove calls the “linked claims” of perceived health dangers and threats to personal liberty. Concentrating on the 1920s, Colgrove describes a movement that sounds familiar one century later.

As Colgrove writes: “Antivaccinationism was a response to two broad and interrelated trends… first, the proliferation of biological products for preventing and treating illness; and second, reform efforts that expanded the reach of the state into previously private spheres.”

Dubious manufacturers and ineptly run vaccination campaigns gave the first vaccinations a poor reputation. Safety took a big leap forward in 1902, with the US Public Health Service’s authority to license and inspect vaccine manufacturers. In 1905, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of compulsory vaccinations.

Vaccination originally meant using cowpox to fight smallpox. By the 1910s, however, there were vaccines for cholera, plague, and typhoid. The new century looked promising, with hopes for combating tuberculosis, pneumonia, and even cancer through vaccination.

But scientific achievement “provoked an anti-modernist backlash against the paternalistic and potentially coercive uses to which scientific advances might be put,” Colgrove writes. Opposition arose to state and civil institutions that had “expanded their purview over matters once reserved to the individual, the family, or the church.” Earlier Americans may have spent their lives without visiting a doctor, but life insurance and worker’s compensation required medical examinations. Health professionals took an increasingly large role in people’s lives. Requiring that children be vaccinated for school attendance was another bone of contention.

Antivaccinationists decried the elitism of public and private bureaucracies. They argued that there was “a well-laid plan to medically enslave the nation” and that “state medicine” was socialism. “Barbarous medical child-slaughter” was a not-atypical 1920s description of vaccination.

Such rhetoric came from groups like the Anti-Vaccination League of America, founded by two wealthy businessmen; the Citizens Medical Reference Bureau (“In Defense of Parental Control over Children”); and the American Medical Liberty League. The latter’s spokesperson was Lora C. W. Little, one of the few women leaders of the antivaccinationists.

Meanwhile, Christian Scientists, Swedenborgians, and some homeopathic and most chiropractic practitioners also opposed vaccination. Antivivisectionists weren’t necessarily against vaccination, but they did decry the use of calves in developing the smallpox vaccine.

Publisher Bernarr Macfadden was one of the most influential of the antivaccinationists. His media empire reached some 40 million Americans through magazines like Physical Culture, True Story, and True Detective Mysteries. His New York Evening Graphic, a tabloid specializing in sex and crime stories, was particularly tabloid about vaccination. Macfadden was not above fake news, eventually admitting that the Graphic’s sensational story “Vaccination Killed My Two Sisters” wasn’t, as originally claimed, written by a doctor.

The antivaccination movement of the 1920s faded with the Great Depression and the deaths of its most notable personalities. But antivaccination tendencies never completely disappeared. In the 1980s, controversy over the safety of the pertussis vaccine saw a return of the fears and rhetoric of the Twenties.

source: JSTOR Daily provides context for current events using scholarship found in JSTOR, a digital library of academic journals, books, and other material. We publish articles grounded in peer-reviewed research and provide free access to that research for all of our readers.
— — — —

Seattle always had anti-vaxxers — even during smallpox

In 1920, the city’s commissioner of public health called Seattle “a hot bed for anti-vaccination, Christian Science, and various anti-medical cults.”

by Knute Berger May 21, 2020 Crosscut

School children in Tacoma showing off their new vaccinations, likely for smallpox or diphtheria, in 1922. (Washington State Historical Society)

Anti-vaccine activism has a long history in America. It dates back to Boston Puritan preacher Cotton Mather, who in the early 1700s learned from African slaves about inoculation against smallpox and became an advocate for such preventative measures. In response, other settlers accused the fire-and-brimstone minister of satanic behavior for putting devilish disease into the blood of people who were not sick. Our Founding Fathers believed in the inoculation, too, including the authors of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. George Washington ordered that the Continental Army be inoculated for fear of losing too many troops to the disease.

Historians say as people saw inoculation work against the disease, it generally became more accepted in the first part of the 1800s. It was when the disease receded, partly because of inoculation’s success, that by the late 19th century, skepticism again flared. People wondered if the cure wasn’t worse. Opponents saw vaccination and inoculation — not entirely unhazardous — as tantamount to murder. Many activists claimed to have lost children to the procedures, while others said compulsory vaccinations took away personal liberty and declared themselves vaccine “conscientious objectors.”

Some complained that vaccines were a conspiracy of the medical profession to make money and take power from the people. At the turn of the 20th century, anti-vaccinators complained of the “medical trust,” the “medical ring” and “medical statism,” which amounted to what some today might call “socialized medicine.” Some saw public health as a threat both to individual liberty and against the natural course of events dictated by God. Any mandatory public health orders, some argued, were “tyranny.” Others analogized it to slavery. Many of these arguments are still invoked today.

The pandemic of 1918 fed frustrations, partly because vaccines and serums developed to treat Spanish flu were not yet proven to work. Some pointed out that members of the military, who during World War I were among the most vaccinated and inoculated Americans, were still sick and dying in droves—leading activists to suggest vaccines were worse than useless.

This was all contrary to reality. Vaccinations and inoculations saved lives. In a 1918 syndicated column in The Seattle Times, a doctor from Johns Hopkins University, Leonard Keene Hirschberg, defended the Army’s health record and use of vaccination. He questioned the mentality of the anti-vaccination activists, describing them: “A few benighted, sodden, obstinate individuals with Hun minds [who] still spread propaganda against inoculation to prevent sickness.” Hun, of course, was an epithet to describe the German enemy.

One of the most vocal opponents of vaccines in the Pacific Northwest was a progressive activist from Portland named Lora C. Little. Little gained notoriety in 1913 by leading the fight to overturn a state-sponsored sterilization law in Oregon. Riding the success of that effort, she turned her attention to opposing vaccinations, which she claimed were responsible for the death of her young son. She was an inveterate pamphleteer, speaker and unlicensed practitioner of what we would call alternative medicine. She traveled the region promoting the anti-vax cause.

In the spring of 1918, she fell afoul with her criticisms of the military. She was arrested in Bismarck, North Dakota, under the broad World War I-era Espionage Act for distributing literature “attacking [the] compulsory vaccination system practiced in the Army and intimating that the Army was in league with the ‘medical trust,’” reported the Bismarck Tribune. She was accused of inciting “insubordination, disloyalty and mutiny,” among other things, for urging resistance to compulsory smallpox vaccinations. She was held on a charge of sedition for undermining the war effort. The charges were eventually thrown out, and Little continued her crusade.

At the time of Little’s activism, smallpox was rearing its ugly head, notably on the freewheeling, rules-resistant frontier, where anti-vaccination and anti-medical sentiment abounded. The new form of the disease was less deadly than the version that swept the country in earlier times and wiped out so much of the Indigenous population. (The first recorded outbreak in the Northwest was in 1775, thought to have been brought by fur traders. It ravaged coastal tribes, and many more outbreaks followed.)

But the milder form of the disease could still cause disfigurement and blindness, and spread rapidly in schools among children during the early 20th century. Many parts of the country had instituted compulsory vaccination laws to protect children, but not without resistance from vaccine skeptics. One predictable result was an increase in cases, especially on the West Coast.

The scourge of smallpox intensified alongside the Spanish flu pandemic. In 1917, in California, there were 329 cases of reported smallpox; by 1919, there were over 2,000 cases. In Oregon, there were 122 reported cases of smallpox in 1917, and 2,626 in 1919. In Washington state, over the same time span, smallpox leaped from 390 to 4,369 reported cases, a figure one state health official called “inexcusable.” These numbers come from a 1920 report on smallpox data published by the American Statistical Association, which observed:

“[I]n the face of this great increase in the prevalence of the disease, certain groups in the Pacific Coast communities have this year conducted campaigns for anti-vaccination constitutional amendments in California and in Oregon. Each would take from the constituted health authorities the scant police powers they now possess to control the smallpox menace.”

The Washington state Legislature was also pecking away at the power of schools to require smallpox vaccinations for students. “Vaccination of pupils cannot be required if it is objected to by the parents,” reported The Seattle Times in March 1919, about a change in state law. The timing was mindboggling — at that very moment, a smallpox outbreak was occurring in Seattle’s public schools, on the heels of the worst of the Spanish flu outbreak.

At that point, the virus had cropped up in six Seattle schools. Over a period of two weeks in March, smallpox cases were found at Ballard, Broadway and Queen Anne high schools and Lowell, Lafayette and Alki grade schools. The school district’s health officer, Dr. Ira Brown, and the city’s top physician, Dr. Hiram M. Read, gave students of the affected schools three alternatives: come to school with a recent proof of vaccination, let the school vaccinate you or, if the child is unvaccinated, stay home under quarantine for the incubation period of two weeks. “The situation is not alarming,” said Read, “and we have it well in hand, but vaccination is the only way in which it can be controlled and its spread checked.”

For most families, this was a fine set of alternatives, but there was fierce pushback by some. The day after the rules were implemented, The Seattle Times reported that 265 students at Ballard High refused to be vaccinated at school. Ninety were identified as likely long-term holdouts. The district’s Dr. Brown said most students would be vaccinated, but that Ballard was a particular problem “due to the leadership of some of the older boys who opposed vaccination under any circumstances.” Most students, however, were described as cooperative.

Some parents, though, protested and went to the school superintendent and the school board to complain. But the district refused to overrule the directive of the public health board, which had wide support from local physicians. Many parents were concerned about their children missing more schooling on top of what they had missed in late 1918 due to the ban on gatherings to combat the flu outbreak.

Unvaccinated students were quarantined and ordered to stay indoors, while city health inspectors placed quarantine cards on their residences. All told, 400 to 500 students were put under quarantine, but these containment efforts weren’t a panacea; a handful of smallpox cases still popped up in schools. Some of the patients were sent north of the city to the Seattle-run hospital Firland Sanitarium, which had been built for tuberculosis patients.

In one local quarantine case, a mother openly rebelled. In early April, Laura Harley’s son, Frederick, was sent home from Broadway High School after being exposed to smallpox and refusing to be vaccinated. A quarantine sign had been posted at their home, but Harley took it down the same day and was later arrested. She was fined $10 in police court weeks later. By that time, many students were permitted to return to school after their two weeks in isolation, just in time for exams.

Vaccine resistance continued, but Dr. Read was having none of it. He had been a prominent Seattle doctor before leaving town to serve in the U.S. Army as a chief sanitation officer and epidemiologist during WWI. He was a real veteran, telling the Seattle Star: “A red hot fight on the Western Front could not have been worse than the ‘Flu’ epidemic at Camp Dodge, Kansas” that he confronted when stationed there in 1918. On his appointment in early 1919 to his city job, the paper described him as “a quiet, neat, mild-mannered, albeit forceful, man.…” Mayor Edwin Brown, under whom Read served as the city’s health czar, later noted that the doctor was “[h]onest in his conclusions to the point of ruggedness, almost gruffness. You knew, in talking to him, that he was a ‘square shooter.’…”

He vented his frustration about anti-vaccination conscientious objectors in his 1920 annual health report. There were 900 reported cases of smallpox in Seattle that year. He estimated that 95% of those people had not been vaccinated. “The number of unvaccinated persons in this city is large. The city being a hot bed for anti-vaccination, Christian Science, and various anti-medical cults, and it is difficult to enforce vaccination,” he wrote. He recommended more stringent laws requiring vaccination. The following year, Read barred an anti-vaccination pamphlet from being distributed at schools. It read, “Medical Autocracy or Freedom — Which?” Read wondered if it were a “direct incitement to riot.”

Seattle has always been attractive to free thinkers, libertarians, people of conscience, progressives, alternative medicine practitioners, radicals and people across the political spectrum suspicious of authority. The 1920s marked the end of the Progressive Era, and while most progressives supported vaccination, they also instituted laws — the power of recall, initiative and referendum — that strengthened populist opinion over conventional authority, a phenomenon we’re still living with today.

Anti-vaccination activism, then and now, crosses ideological lines. Little, the progressive activist In Portland, for example, was opposed to eugenics laws, animal experimentation, vaccinations and Prohibition, the latter supported by most in the Progressive movement. Besides being an early advocate of natural medicine, she also supported a low-meat, no-sugar diet. She encouraged people to “be your own doctor.”

Writing in Oregon Historical Quarterly, historian Robert D. Johnston, who has studied both the Progressive period and alternative medicine, suggested that “Little’s attacks on the established medical profession perhaps resonated strongly in Oregon, where, because of Progressive Era reforms, average citizens took expanded democratic powers to polling booths. Issues emphasizing home and family may also have been especially appealing during the 1910s, after Oregon women, in the November 1912 election, had gained the right to vote.”

Those same forces were active in Seattle. Washington women had won the right to vote in 1910 and had flexed their Progressive reform muscle in Seattle by playing a key role in recalling a corrupt mayor, Hiram Gill, who encouraged prostitution and gambling. Women wanted a greater say in politics and in deciding how to take care of their children.

At the same time skepticism rose more broadly. Scientific evidence mounted that vaccines and inoculations could have wider life-saving consequences beyond smallpox. Treatments for typhoid, diphtheria and other diseases were coming online or being refined. So, too, the benefits of public health generally. But a significant minority rejected what science had to say, despite the success of a global effort to eradicate smallpox from the world. It ceased being endemic in the United States in the 1940s and was globally eradicated by the 1980s. Still, low vaccination rates have been held responsible for recent outbreaks in the U.S. of preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles. Anti-vaccine resistance is raising its profile in these coronavirus times, too.

What scholars call “denialism” has persisted over the centuries in the face of facts. It often stems from a hodgepodge of thoughts, impulses and ideologies ranging from legitimate skepticism and religious conviction to full-blown ignorance, often mixed with conspiracy, paranoia and other beliefs impenetrable by reason, or as Seattle’s Hiram Read observed, cultlike behavior. A lesson for today is that epidemics generate fear, and fear can be very contagious.

source: ©2021 Cascade Public Media. All Rights Reserved.

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