Monday, January 8, 2018

Laura Janet Musgrove: Spanish Flu

Laura Janet Musgrove

Laura Janet Musgrove
When Laura Janet Musgrove - daughter of John 'David" Musgrove and Elizabeth Arissa Collins - married Phillip Eugene Wildes in 1887, his family had a tragic story.

Phillip's father, John, survived the Wildes family massacre, which occurred during the Second Seminole War
Little did Aunt* Janet know, her new family would also befall tragedy as the result of a war.

Stupid War: Ruins Everything

"On April 6, 1917, the U.S. joined its allies--Britain, France, and Russia--to fight in World War I."
Library of Congress

"Camp Funston was a U.S. Army training camp located on Fort Riley, southwest of Manhattan, Kansas. ...(It) was one of sixteen Divisional Cantonment Training Camps established at the outbreak of World War I."
In late January or early February of 1918,Haskell County, Kansas, experienced a violent wave of flu. The local doctor was concerned enough to warn national public health officials.

Camp Funston was three hundred miles from Haskell County.

Camp Funston

"All Army personnel from (Haskell ed) county reported to Funston for training. Friends and family visited them at Funston. "
US National Library of Medicine

At the end of February, the local newspaper wrote about a Haskell boy,  "We predict John will make an ideal soldier." (Santa Fe Monitor February 28th, 1918) No one knew the worst Influenza Epidemic of modern time was traveling with these young men.


Virus on the March

"A first wave of influenza appeared early in the spring of 1918 (at Camp Funston ed) in Kansas and in military camps throughout the US."  Molly Billings: "The Influenza Pandemic of 1918"  

On March 4th, 1918, a food server at Camp Funston reported sick. Within hours, dozens followed. For the next three weeks over 1100 soldiers required hospitalization and thousands more were treated in infirmaries.

The First Wave

"There was virtually no response or acknowledgment to the epidemics in March and April in the military camps."  
Molly Billings: "The Influenza Pandemic of 1918"  
From Camp Funston soldiers moved around military bases and ultimately to France. In March, two camps in Georgia saw their first influenza cases. By the beginning of April, twenty-four of thirty-six main bases in the US were affected.

By April's end the virus broke out in France and followed the trade routes. European media, under wartime censorship, didn't report it. Because Spain stayed neutral throughout the war, on May 22nd, 1918, Madrid's ABC newspaper made the flu story its headline.  It was the first time anyone heard of the epidemic; it became known as the "Spanish Flu'.

"The first wave of influenza was comparatively mild. However, during the summer a more lethal type of disease was recognized, and this form fully emerged in August 1918."
Encyclop√¶dia Britannica 

The Toxic Traveler

A brochure for vacationing viruses, looking to see the world, would undoubtedly include:
1918 US Public health service flyer 
  1. Travel accommodations in tightly packed buses and planes
  2. Overcrowded sleeping quarters in exotic new environments
  3. Many potential carriers in stressful situations
  4. Lots of time with them in wet, muddy trenches
World War I was Paradise for Pathogens.

The Second and Third Wave

"The second wave of influenza pandemic of 1918 represents a period in which the Spanish Flu showed its full deadly potential. ...A U.S. naval intelligence officer...reported to the competent authorities: '...the disease now epidemic throughout Switzerland is what is commonly known as the black plague, ..."

By the time the epidemic subsided, it had taken more lives than the war itself. The U.S. alone experienced so many deaths:

"A considerable spike occurred at the time of the pandemic, specifically the year 1918. Life expectancy in the United States dropped by about 12 years." - Wikipedia
The end of the conflict was near. Our nation was victorious in it's first war on the world stage.

"World War One ended at 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918. Germany signed an armistice...that had been prepared by Britain and France."
BBC Schools

Tragedy Strikes the Wildes Again

David Moore, a descendant of Phillip and Janet (Musgrove) Wildes, on his ancestors deaths:

In Dec 191?, the Wildes family then consisting of the parents and four youngest children, Philip, Katie, Roy and Spencer, moved to Coleraine in Camdem County and joined the two married sons, Pate and Flem and their families, who had moved from Waycross to Coleraine in 1913. 

In 1919 several members of the families were stricken and died during the influenza pandemic. 

Philip, Sr lost his wife (Laura Musgrove ed.) and son, Roy, 14 years old. Philip, Jr lost his wife, Tula, and infant child. Flem lost wife, Clara, an infant daughter and two year old son, Edgar. The deaths all occurred in a months time. 

Philip, Sr, escaped the flu, but was sick with diabetes and suffering from an infection of the foot at the time of his wife's death. The infection resulted in the loss of his foot, and later the amputation of his leg above the knee. 

Grief stricken and in ill health he went back to Waycross and died in the home of his brother, James Leonard Wildes, just two months after the loss of his wife and other members of his family. "

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

*NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.

Terms of relationship - grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.  - are used here generically to include  relatives such as fourth great grandfathers, great grand uncles, second cousins twice removed, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard some rumors about having a haunted base in the active military bases in Georgia. Though I might not be sure. There are other interesting information given in their website.