My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wyoming, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Frances and the Flu




The flu has hit the hardest in Massachusetts this past week. Other areas in the United States are being affected too. Because of this, I am reminded of my grandaunt who died of it in 1918. Yesterday, while working on a piece about her grandfather, I came across my post of two years ago and I'd like to share it with my new readers.

Cynthia Shenette of Heritage Zen wrote a 3-part post about the 1918 flu and at the end of the last part, I commented, "and just today I discovered a family member died of the flu." It is this person, Frances Poole, I decided to do a Sentimental Sunday post about. For many years, I always knew the year my grandaunt died, but I didn't have the date, location or cause of death. Cynthia has incorporated a lot of the flu history into her multi-post, so I won't repeat it here.

Imagine my surprise when at long last, I located death information for Frances, just a week ago.

From the Chicago Daily Tribune. Oct 11, 1918 - Miss Frances Poole, Red Cross, from Evanston was buried yesterday in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C. Miss Poole daughter of Mrs Charles Clarence Poole, 1123 Maple Avenue, Evanston died Tuesday at Camp Ontario, Oswego, NY of pneumonia following Influenza.

From the Chicago Daily Tribune. Oct. 27, 1918, Pg. 15 was the following Death Notice:
"Poole - Memorial services will be held for Frances Poole, army nurse, daughter of Mrs. C. Clarence Poole, sister of Lieut. Charles H. Poole, A. E. F.; and Dorothy Poole, at St. Luke's Episcopal church, Hinman and Lee Sts., Evanston, Ill., at 4:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27th."

Suddenly, this 32 year old became alive, instead of just a name with death date of 1918. I found out she was a nurse. What a brave young woman to travel from the Chicago area to New York state to help the sick. She came from a rather wealthy family, was single and probably had all the wants and needs of her day. Her father, a patent attorney had died four years earlier. She still had 3 siblings, although the paper only named two. She was among the first to die in New York of the influenza.  Frances Poole died October 8, 1918. All those deaths, and my Frances was the one most important to me. I am saddened by how it happened, but I am so proud of her, a young angel trying to help the sick, trying to make a difference. I wish I knew more about her, but what I know, I won't ever forget.

From two official records  records about the The Great Pandemic of 1918-1919 in the United States: "First Official Report of Influenza: The Public Health Service did not require states to report influenza before September 27th. New York first reported the presence of influenza on September 27th, but the disease was undoubtedly present in the state before that date.

On October 11th, the PHS said that 'Epidemics have been reported from Maybrook town (Orange County), Montgomery (Orange County), North Tonawanda, and Oswego. School and theaters had not been closed.' By October 18th, state officials admitted that influenza was prevalent throughout the state.

Although state authorities were too overwhelmed by the pandemic to keep accurate records, they did attempt to record deaths. By late October, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Schenectady and Syracuse reported elevated death rates. During the week of November 1st, the PHS reported a total of 12,357 deaths in New York City. For the previous six weeks a total of 30,736 deaths were reported. The actual number of influenza-related deaths during this period was probably much higher."

"In October of 1918, Congress approved a $1 million budget for the U. S. Public Health Service to recruit 1000 medical doctors and over 700 registered nurses. Nurses were scarce, as their proximity to and interaction with the disease increased the risk of death." Frances may have been one of the nurses who answered this call."

"The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years."
Frances and her parents buried at
Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Originally posted on SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2011.

5 comments:

Brenda Leyndyke said...

Hi, Barbara,
I hope you will accept the Blog of the Year Award, you deserve it. You can read more about it here: http://journeytothepastblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/blogging-rewards.html

Gini said...

I lost my paternal great grandparents along with several of their children, to the 1918-19 flu also. Each time I get sick or a family member gets sick, I think of them at that time in history . . . we are so blessed to have the medicine's of today to help us get well.

I have been sick since the day after Christmas, getting better but my thoughts turned to my great grandparents many times over! Hope you and yours are doing well, Barbara.

Celia Lewis said...

Fascinating story of a difficult time with the influenza epidemic. I have no one in my families apparently succumbed to the flu - although both my grandparents on my father's side lost a son in WW1. Take care - thanks for posting about this interesting relative of yours.

Barbara Poole said...

Brenda, I think you know me and awards, let me think on this...I'll write you personally.

Gini and Celia, seems we all have sad stories, and so many of our family members died in that era. I'm glad you read this post, I thought it was a good reminder of what the flu can do and how it affects people even today. Gini, my friend, I hope you are totally well by 1/14/13. Thanks everybody for the comments.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Barbara - Thank you for posting this again. Frances was such an admirable young woman. It's sad to think she died so young. Your post is a lovely memorial to her life and her mission.