The Life From The Roots blog topics have changed several times since I began this blog. In 2009, with my first posts, I wrote only about the family history I had been working on for 20 years. Many ancestors lived in New England so it was easy to visit gravesites and towns where they lived. I shared many photo. Years later, I was into visiting gardens, historical homes, churches, libraries that had genealogical collections, historical societies, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history. I enjoy posting autographs and photos of famous people I met or saw.

My New England roots are in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire). Other areas include New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

Please check out the labels on the right side for topics. Below the labels and pageviews is a listing of my top nine posts, according to Google. Four of them pertain to Lowell, MA, three are memorials, one about a surname and one about a discovery I made. These posts change often because they are based on what people are reading.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Nurse Frances and the Flu

For many years, I always knew the year my grandaunt, Frances Poole (born  27 Oct 1886) died, but I didn't have the date, location or cause of death. Imagine my surprise when at long last, I began researching her life and trying to find out why she died so young.

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 and left her a house and the lands at 1015 Forest Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. She was the oldest of four children, although the paper only named two. Her maternal grandfather was William Frederick Poole, the head librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, who died two years before her birth. She was among the first to die in New York of the influenza.  Frances Poole died October 8, 1918. Of 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 woman 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.

All my sources came from newspapers and printed articles. I haven't located her death record yet.

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."

From the Ontario Post, October 26, 1918, page 2 is the obituary of two nurses, Ida Ferguson and my Frances who was listed as Frances Pool, Poole. What is interesting is, I just learned that her mother, Anna Poole was with her daughter when she died. Anna traveled from Evanston, Illinois to Camp Ontario, Oswego, NY. Thanks to Mary Kay Stone from the Oswego County Historical Society.

I believe the photo below shows one of the first groups of nurses who arrived at Oswego, New York to attend the sick soldiers. I have a feeling that my relative is in this photo, as she died 8  October 1918.
Nurses at Fort Ontario, Oswego, NY, c. 1918.
 Permission was granted to use photo by the Oswego County Historical Society. (8/2019)

From: Bell Telephone News 

 - Volume 8 - Page 52
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Frances Poole
"One star has turned to gold on the service flag of the Chicago traffic department. It is the star of a girl who has given her life in the service of others.
"Miss Frances Poole came to the telephone company on August 14, 1916, as a nurse in the welfare department. She made many friends among the girls in her visits to the sick and later, through her position as nurse at Margaret Mackin Hall where she lived for a year and a half, had an opportunity to become a close and intimate friend of hundreds of girls who were there at different times. It was while she was at Margaret Mackin Hall that she decided to offer her services to the Red Cross. She was not able physically to stand the test for overseas service; but was placed on the list for work in this country. While awaiting her call she filled the place of Miss Julia Goodman, who left the Oakland district for overseas Red Cross service. She made many friends among the girls in the South Side offices, and it was with regret that her resignation was accepted when the call came for service at Camp Ontario, Oswego, N. Y.
During the terrible epidemic which was very severe in Camp Ontario, Miss Poole did not spare herself and, though she had a severe cold and was urged not to go on duty, she saw the extreme need of the boys, and, like a brave soldier, fought the fight until she fell— a victim of pneumonia. Her mother reached her two hours before her death, bringing by her presence the greatest joy to her daughter that she could have had at the last.
Mrs. Poole has the sympathy of hosts of friends. She has given much for her country; two sons are in the service— Lieut. Charles H. Poole with the coast artillery 'Over There,' and Lieut. Clarence T. Poole with the Quartermaster Corps in Washington.
Miss Poole had an unusually sunny disposition and a friendly spirit which made her dear even to those who knew her only for a short time. She was "one of the girls," a good comrade giving not only advice which she, through her nurse's training could give so well, but giving herself. "Sunshiny Frances" was her mother's name for her and we can imagine that our golden star is more golden because it shines with the glory of a lovely character. Such stars are not lost but shine on with a steady radiance inspiring us all to give our best.
Miss Poole was buried at Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D. C, where her father was buried some time ago."

From: Daily Northwestern, Evanston, Illinois, Friday, April 5, 1918, Page 1.
"Star Honors Heroes  --
"At Chapel this morning President Holgate will present to the University a huge service flag in honor of the Northwestern men in National service. Mr. Marsh is in charge of the program, which besides special music will include a speech by Nancy Knight who will tell of Women's War work in Evanston.

The flag was purchased by Elizabeth Ambuhl. Lucy Harrison and Marian Goodsmith helped her sew on the figure 1120, their service taking them back to the good old days of Betsy Ross. 1119 Northwestern men have gone in the service, and Frances Poole is going with the Presbyterian Hospital Unite, makes up the number. The blue star stands for the living and the gold star for the dead.

Four of our soldiers have already given their lives for their country. They are: Captain Robert Tracy Gillmore, Med. '92. Died at Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga., Jan. 20, 1918. Frank L. Seery, Arts-Ex- '18. Killed in airplane collision, Kekky Field, Texas, Jan. 21, 1918. Earl C. Adams, Arts, Ex-'19. Died at Ft. Sill, Okla., Feb. 3, 1918. G. W. Morton, Law. '16. Died at Camp Grand, Rockford, Ill. Feb. 2."

From:The Syllabus (Northwestern University),Volume XXXV, pg. 130.
Students Publishing Company, 1920  (Note: The link is no longer active.)
"To Frances Poole, the only woman among the Northwestern students who victoriously gave their lives in service, the University pays double homage. A resident of Evanston, a graduate of the high school, an active worker in St. Luke's church, and a popular member of the class of 1911, she was known and loved by many friends. She left the University in her junior year, entered a nurses training course and graduated from the Presbyterian hospital in 1915. Choosing the branch of work in which she could be of service to the greatest number, she refused to enter private duty and became welfare nurse at the Chicago Telephone Company's home in Warrenville where the operators go for rest. Later she was assigned by the Company to do home visiting in a district on the south side.

She was peculiarly fitted for the nursing profession because of the wonderfully joyous spirit with which she was endowed. Hers was a contagious cheeriness which carried her triumphantly through the most uninspiring tasks and difficult places. When the call came from the Red Cross for nurses, she enlisted, as all who knew her best expected she would do, and was assigned on August 1, to the General Hospital at Fort Ontario, Oswego, N.Y. As she had been a comfort and inspiration to the telephone girls under £ care, so she brought to bear upon her new tasks not only her technical skill but her courageously joyous spirit. 'What is the use of fighting,' she said, “if one cannot fight with a smile?

The last week in September when the influenza epidemic was at its worst, her patients were on an open porch exposed to a biting wind from off the lake. Except for two hours rest, she worked from four in the morning to seven at night, and often gave assistance to the night nurses after that. Because of weariness and exposure she contracted the influenza but refused to go off duty. Wearing a mask constantly, she remained for a week caring for the boys who needed her. Pneumonia set in and in five days she quietly slipped away. She had wanted to come home with colors flying and so she did."

From: Evanston History Center (Illinois) I found a full page about Frances (partial below).
"After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Frances entered Northwestern University. She left in 1911 in order to enroll in a nurse training program at the Presbyterian Hospital. She graduated from the program in 1915 and elected to become a “welfare nurse” to help those in need. First she worked for the Chicago Telephone Company’s home in Warrenville, IL. Later, she worked for the same company on the South Side of Chicago, making home visits to patients.

Once the United States entered the Great War, her two brothers Clarence and Charles, both entered the service. Frances wanted to do her 'bit' too. She responded to the American Red Cross’ recruiting call. Nurses were desperately needed and Frances decided that she could take her skills as a nurse and apply them in service to her country. She was assigned to the military hospital (General Hospital No. 5) at Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY. The busy hospital staff cared for sick or wounded U.S. troops who had been brought back home from France.

At the time, to work in a hospital was nearly as dangerous as being near the front lines. In 1918, it became even more dangerous upon the outbreak of an international influenza pandemic, brought on by the global movement of people at war."

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.
1015 Forest Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.
 This the house her father left to her in his will. The link for this address will show 26 beautiful photos of the house.