Did Grandpa Dingman Die of the Spanish Flu

by , under Andover, Ashtabula County, Television, Wikipedia

Today I watched a documentary presentation on the C-Span 3 network entitled “Influenza Pandemic and World War I..” The presenter was Nancy Bristow, professor of history, University of Puget Sound. The presentation was originally broadcast live on Nov. 1, 2019, from the National WWI Museum & Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

Prof. Bristow made the point in her presentation that the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic began in 1918 but recurred through 1920. She discussed how it started Camp Funston, an Army base in Kansas and quickly spread to many other Army bases and into the general population. What she related sounded eerily like what we are experiencing with Covid19 in March of 2020.

Do learn more about the 1918 pandemic, I turned to Wikipedia, which provided the following: “The Influenza pandemic of 1918 was a serious pandemic of influenza. It lasted for three years, from January 1918 to December 1920. About 500 million people were infected across the world. The pandemic spread to remote Pacific Islands and the Arctic. It killed 50 million to 100 million people— three to five percent of the world’s population at the time. This means it was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.”

Grandpa Wallace Betts Dingman died on 01 Apr 1920. As I pointed out in an earlier blog posting ( http://www.collectingancestors.com/2017/12/21/more-on-grandpa-wallace-dingman/ ), the cause of his death is a mystery. His death certificate was filled out by a doctor who reported “I have no knowledge as to cause of Death. He was treated by a Christin Cientist [sic]. “

An obituary I have from the Andover Citizen states that he was ill for several days and then attended an auction Shortly after that his condition worsened resulting in his death.

Having learned the extent of the 1918 Flu pandemic, I now suspect that Grandpa might have been a victim of that disease.

One final note: The 1918 pandemic was commonly referred to as the Spanish Flu.At the time, the U.S. government Wikipedia points out that: “To maintain morale, wartime censors reduced reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States; but papers could report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII. This situation created the false impression of Spain being especially hard-hit.  It also resulted in the nickname Spanish flu.

  1. Kiiskinen Matrti

    Wally, Spanish flue has been fatal also to Huskonen family, so grandmother´s brother Karl Gabriel died to that disease at 1919. Walfrid and the genealigist from Duluth County made some investigation about it:

    Here is the link to the Immigration History Research Center at the University of MN in the Twin Cities. They hold the Finnish newspaper, Industrialisti, which was published in Duluth in 1918-1919. https://www.lib.umn.edu/ihrca/periodicals/finnish. The Minnesota Historical Society, http://www.mnhs.org/, and/or the Wisconsin Historical Society, https://wisconsinhistory.org/, may also have copies which you could request through Inter-Library Loan.

    There is probate file in St. Louis County for Karl G. Huuskonen, Case file #00-12538-00, Administration, Opened: 01-23-1919. He must have also owned land in St. Louis County for it have been probated here. I looked in the Grantor and Grantee Books, 1917-1921, at all surnames beginning with “Hu” but was not able to find any land records connected with Karl or his wife. Sometimes there are records pertaining to an owner’s death connected with the sale of land.

    I looked through the microfilm at the deaths that were registered on January 7-9, 1919 in Duluth but did not find a record that could have been for Karl Gabriel Huskonen/Huuskonen. As soon as I can I will go in the basement and look at the original death registers to search for a death record.

    I finally did find a death notice in the Duluth News Tribune (8 January 1919, page 6) for Karl G. Huuskonen:

    Karl G. Huuskonen, morely living at 5402 East Superior street died yesterday morning at St. Mary’s hospital where he had been under care of physicians for three weeks. Mr. Huuskonen was 38 years old and is survived by his widow, Louise Huuskonen. A Leraan of Superior will have charge of the funeral services, but no definite arrangements have yet been made.”

    A copy of this is in Duluth Public Library, http://duluthlibrary.org/. There was news from Two Harbors in the Duluth News Tribune on 7 December 1914, page 3, which listed Karl G. Huuskonen, Crystal Bay as a petit juror. Two Harbors and Crystal Bay are in Lake County.


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