One Hundred Years Gone By

Flu headline Sept 14 1918


The dark and rainy morning has put me in a reflective mood.  Given the historic damage done by Hurricane Florence and the uncertainty following the gas disaster in Andover and Lawrence, my mind turns to other monumental disasters.  One hundred years ago the Flu Pandemic reached into Gloucester and the surrounding areas.  Each day in late September and through mid October, the newspaper reported on the growing number of flu deaths.  While I do not know the final numbers, the highest number I saw reported was 180 people within about month as of October 14 1918. It must have been very frightening for all but it seems the city handled the pandemic admirably.

This is an example from the Gloucester Daily Times Sept 17 1918 of the precautions taken.  The microfilm quality isn’t great, but it gets the idea across.

Mayor proclamation Flu GDT Sept 17 1918

As we see from Florence and in Andover/Lawrence, disasters tend to bring out the best in people and I imagine this did the same at the time.  Disasters past and present remind us to be kind, take good care and stay vigilant.


4 thoughts on “One Hundred Years Gone By

  1. My mother, who grew up in in East Gloucester and lived there most of her life, would have been 14 in 1918, She often spoke of the flu epidemic and believed that she was nearly indestructible because she had survived it.


  2. Very bad flu indeed 25 – 50 Million estimated deaths world-wide according to CDC and case studies. I remember the Hong Kong flu 1968-early 1970’s very high fever down for the count 3-4 days took a while to get over it. It resulted in an estimated one million to four million deaths, “Your ending paragraph says it all about disasters past and present remind us to be kind, take good care and stay vigilant.”

    Dave & Kim


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