People of Allen County, Indiana

Diseases of Allen County, Indiana

TUESDAY TIDBIT: In 1913, 36,710 deaths were reported to the Indiana State Board of Health. Of these, 7,475 were children under the age of 5, most of whose deaths were said to be preventable - from diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, whooping cough, and diptheria/croup. Source: Thirty-fourth annual report of the Indiana State Board of Health for the fiscal and board year ending September 30, 1915 (Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Printing Co., 1917). From April 29, 2014 on Indiana Genealogical Society on Facebook.

  1. In 1799, John McAllister, Sr., who arrived in America from Glasgow, Scotland in 1775 just before the Revolutionary War decided to import spectacles and established the first optical shop in America in Philadelphia. Read more in Vision -- something we take for granted. What did our ancestors do? by Diane L. Richard published September 18, 2014 on National Genealogical Society blog and Eyeglasses Through the Ages on Antique
  2. Washing hands with soap for 20 seconds and not touching our face was the recommended way to prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. Many articles appeared onlilne such as How To Wash Your Hands, Historically by Sarah Eilers published April 7, 2020 on NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  3. Researching Epidemics in Chronicling America Newspapers by Arlene Balkansky published April 16, 2020 on The Library of This guest post is by Tom Ewing, professor of history at Virginia Tech. He discusses his research on epidemics as covered in late 19th and early 20th century newspapers that are digitized in the Chronicling America online collection. Serial and Government Publications Division digital conversion specialist Robin Butterhof coordinated this post.


Today, we know that washing our hands is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. ...  Ignaz Semmelweis didn’t discover this fact until 1847. And even after he did realize it, the battle to convince the rest of the medical community wasn’t easy. Copied from Women were dying from childbirth at hospitals. This 19th-century doctor figured out why. by Simone Scully published February 6, 2017 on


Cholera and Other Deaths, Jul.-Sep. 1849, Fort Wayne, Indiana are on the ACGSI web site.

The Catholic Bishop Joseph Dwenger survived cholera in 1849 while his parents didn't in Mercer County, Ohio from Pages 39 in The Diocese of Fort Wayne (1907) ebook.

Uncovering the Cholera Pit of the 1849 Indiana Epidemic by Tim Bean published July 26, 2020 on 

Cholera epidemics swept through Indiana and much of the rest of the U.S. in 1832, 1833, 1834, 1849, and 1854. The morning after delegate James Van Benthuysen’s death, the convention assembled, and Mr. Richey rose and made the announcement. The committee formed to make arrangements recommended “that the members will testify their respect for the memory of the deceased by wearing the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. (Report of Debates, 1:491-93; Public Health in Indiana, Indiana Historical Society Publications, Vol. 7, No. 6 [1923], 276-77, 284, 290)" from page 7 of 1851 Indiana Constitution history. Cholera most commonly struck during spring, summer, and fall. ... the treatment, at least before the American Civil War, was almost as bad as the illness. Doctors routinely prescribed calomel for cholera victims. Calomel contained mercury, and numerous people died from mercury poisoning or suffered other ill effects from this drug. Cholera epidemics continued in the United States until the early 1900s. As sanitation improved within the United States, including chlorination of water, the illness weakened. Copied from Cholera Epidemics, Ohio History Central, May 31, 2013,

The Fink Cemetery in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana has a sign saying During the Cholera epidemics of 1849 and 1854, people died so quickly that coffins could not be provided. The dead were collected on wagons and buried at night in mass graves on the south and east side of the cemetery. See Find A Grave and Cholera Mass Graves of Fink Cemetery An unknown number of cholera victims are buried in two nondescript graves. on

Coronavirus - COVID-19

Many of the source links used for this data have already disapeared within days or weeks after posting so will need to be removed or updated when time permits.

2020, January 21 - first USA case of coronavirus reported in Washington State from Timeline of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic in November 2019 – January 2020 on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Interactive graph is on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the CDC. The first known case emerged November 17, 2019 in China from the Timeline of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

2020, February 29 - first United States death from COVID-19 was a man in his 50s in Washington State. CDC, Washington State Report First COVID-19 Death.

2020, March 6 - Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in a Marion County resident with recent travel to Boston from Indiana's Novel Coronavirus Response.

2020, March 16 - ISDH reported the first death of a 60 year-old person in Marion County, Indiana due to COVID-19. Also reported on Facebook. News story: ‘Anything good I could say about this would be a lie.’ by Eli Saslow published March 28, 2020 on MSN News.

2020, March 19 - Allen County Confirms Two COVID-19 Cases March 19, 2020 announcement on the Allen County, Indiana goverment web page. Local schools are closed.

2020, March 22 - Allen County Announces First COVID-19 Death March 23, 2020 announcement on the Allen County Department of Health website.

2020, March 23 - Governor Orders Hoosiers to Stay Home in Fight Against COVID-19 Governor Eric J. Holcomb delivered a statewide address today to order that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. The order is in effect from March 25 to April 7.

2020, December 14 - USA passes 300,000 covid deaths as the first vaccine is delivered and injected into medical personnel from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Six frontline healthcare workers were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Parkview Health today. They were the first known COVID-19 vaccinations to be administered in Indiana and are among the first in the United States. Parkview received its first shipment of the vaccine at 7 a.m. today; the first vaccinations were administered beginning at 12:09 p.m. at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. The first recipients were co-workers from Parkview Regional Medical Center: Reed Steffen, patient care technician, progressive care unit; Marsha Franklin, respiratory therapist; Terrence Gant, environmental services technician; Jessica Taylor, registered nurse, medical intensive care unit; Michael Todt, pharmacist, medical intensive care unit; Hariom Joshi, MD, medical intensive care unit. The vaccinator for all six was Maryam Noureldin, ambulatory pharmacist. copied from Parkview Health administers first COVID-19 vaccines to frontline healthcare workers

2021, February 24 - Parkview Health annouced they administered the 50,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to William Haupert of Fort Wayne at The Parkview Mirro Center, marking a significant milestone in the effort to vaccinate the community on their Facebook page. Parkview has hosted its COVID-19 vaccine clinic since Dec. 14, when six frontline healthcare workers were the first in the state to receive the vaccine.

2021, March 1 - Indiana announces one million Hoosiers have received their first COVID19 vaccination shot.

2021, March 25 - Indiana announced on Twitter that one million Hoosiers are fully vaccinated.

2021, May 5 - Indiana announced on Twitter that two million Hoosiers are fully vaccinated.

2021, September 20 - US COVID-19 Total Deaths passed the 675,000 deaths reported for the 1918 Flu Pandemic from various news reports such as

2021, October 18 - Indiana COVID-19 Confirmed Cases exceeded 1 million on the state's coronavirus dashboard.

2021, October 25 - Indiana COVID-19 Total Deaths passed 16,000 from

2021, October 26 - Allen County COVID-19 Total Deaths passed 800 from
2021, November 1 - the global COVID-19 Total Deaths passed 5 million from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2021, November 3 - US COVID-19 Total Deaths passed 750,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.


Diphtheria used to be known as the "scourge of childhood." The bacterial disease was particularly hard on young children and often spread quickly through schools. The infection works in a horrifying way, simultaneously poisoning the victim and slowly suffocating him or her as the bacteria grow into a thick film in the throat. For most of history, there was little doctors could do to help someone with diphtheria. Copied from and read more information in How horses helped cure diphtheria published August 15, 2013 on Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

December 6, 1894 Fort Wayne News article about the health and sanitation departments complaining about diptheria and scarlet fever in the city with people mis-stating causes of death ignoring quarantine rules trying to stop the spead of these fatal diseases from the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

April 29, 1899 Fort Wayne News newspaper carried this item The diptheria card was removed from the east Main street residence of Mr. and Mrs. Byron Hattersley and a report from the Indiana State Department of Health listing numbers of deaths, marriages, and births. Prevailing acute diseases were influenza, pneumonia, bronchitis, croup, measles and tonsillitis. Both from the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

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Indiana had a flu epidemic at the end of 1889 and the beginning of 1890. From Ninth annual report of the State Board of Health of Indiana, for the fiscal year ending October 31, 1890 (Indianapolis: William B. Burford, 1891) a Tuesday Tidbit May 20, 2014 on Indiana Genenealogical Society on Facebook.

1918 Influenza Pandemic
aka Spanish Flu that started in Kansas, the USA

1918 Mayors Influenza Ordinance
The Fort Wayne Sentinel,
Monday, December 16, 1918, page 14

Indiana Historical Bureau photoSeptember 26, 1918 - the Indianapolis News reported the first case of Spanish Influenza at military training detachments in and around Indianapolis. The city would be infected with over 6,000 cases of the flu that swept the globe during World War I. With a makeshift hospital, outfitted with 300 beds, Fort Benjamin Harrison cared for over 3,000 patients. Indianapolis leaders presented a united front in halting the flu's spread, shop and theater owners complied despite personal loss, and men and women volunteered their services at risk to their own lives. From this first report until the end of November, Indiana lost 3,266 Hoosiers to the illness.  Copied from a September 26, 2018 post with an image of an Indiana State Board of Health influenza poster by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. The origianal source is titled: Influenza: How to avoid it from the Indiana State Library Digital Collection Broadsides Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.

Graph 1918-1920 flu deaths

ACGSI image above. See list of names from Spanish Influenza Deaths, 1918-1920, Allen County, Indiana on gleaned from city and county death records on microfiche at the Allen County Public Library.

The Great Influenza Outbreak of 1918 published April 6, 2015 by DOCUMENTARY TUBE on YouTube.
It was an unusual pandemic in the United States involving the H1N1 virus which infected 500 million globally resulting in the loss of 50 to 100 million.

  1. Ground Zero in one of the world’s deadliest influenza pandemics started quietly, inconspicuously. It was winter, 100 years ago. And it was here, in Kansas. The virus began on the windswept Kansas prairie, where dirt-poor farm families struggled to do daily chores — slopping pigs, feeding cattle, horses, and chickens, living in primitive, cramped, uninsulated quarters. It’s not known whether it started in the pigs or chickens or birds flying overhead. But it spread to young farmers who, drafted for World War I, reported for duty at Fort Riley. Copied from How a killer flu spread from western Kansas to the world by Beccy Tanner published February 19, 2018 in The Witchita Eagle on
  2. Spanish Influenza hit Indiana in September of 1918. While the virus was killing soldiers and civilians affected by WWI around the world, most Hoosiers assumed they were safe that fall. Unfortunately, the mysterious flu was already on their doorstep. On this episode of Talking Hoosier History we examine the havoc caused by the dread malady and the brave nurses and regular Hoosiers who battled the epidemic. Copied from Episode 7 Spanish Influenza: The Dread Malady Hits Indiana 24 minute audio published by Talking Hooseir History on posted September 1, 2017 on Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.
  3. An October 1, 1918 newspaper says Fireman William Rudolph Hilgeman U.S. Navy was Fort Wayne's first victim of the Spanish Influenza while at the Great Lakes naval training station. He was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery with full military honors. From a September 30, 2014 post on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
  4. The Deadly Virus The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 at the The National Archives and Records Administration.
  5. The Flu Pandemic of 1918 a page of primary sources at the The National Archives.
  6. 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus) and History of 1918 Flu Pandemic at the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    1. 1918 Pandemic Influenza: Three Waves The 1918 influenza pandemic occurred in three waves and was the most severe pandemic in history. by the More people died during the 1918 pandemic than the total number of military and civilian deaths that resulted from World War I. There were 3 different waves of illness during the pandemic, starting in March 1918 and subsiding by summer of 1919. The pandemic peaked in the U.S. during the second wave, in the fall of 1918. This highly fatal second wave was responsible for most of the U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic. A third wave of illness occurred during the winter and spring of 1919, adding to the pandemic death toll. The third wave of the pandemic subsided during the summer of 1919.
    2. The 1918 Flu Pandemic: Why It Matters 100 Years Later posted on May 14, 2018 by Blog Administrator on 100 years ago, an influenza (flu) pandemic swept the globe, infecting an estimated one-third of the world’s population and killing at least 50 million people. The pandemic’s death tollAmerican soldiers returning home on the Agamemnon, Hoboken, New Jersey was greater than the total number of military and civilian deaths from World War I, which was happening simultaneously. At the time, scientists had not yet discovered flu viruses, but we know today that the 1918 pandemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus. The pandemic is commonly believed to have occurred in three waves. Unusual flu-like activity was first identified in U.S. military personnel during the spring of 1918. Flu spread rapidly in military barracks where men shared close quarters. The second wave occurred during the fall of 1918 and was the most severe. A third wave of illness occurred during the winter and spring of 1919.
  7. 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  8. July 11, 2017 Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook stated the flu descended upon Indianapolis in the fall of 1918. The city would be infected with over 6,000 cases, with the makeshift hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison caring for over 3,000 patients in a 300 bed facility.  ... Learn how Indy had one of the lowest epidemic death rates in the nation due to this mobilization in War, Plague, and Courage: Spanish Influenza at Fort Benjamin Harrison & Indianapolis on their blog.
  9. The Deadly Virus The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 at The National Archives includes links to documents.
  10. A 1998 Journal Gazette article by reporter Nancy Vendrely outlined the effect of the local pandemic. It may have been this January 19, 2018 discussion of a 1990s newspaper article recalling the 1918 Flu Epidemic was on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived and Closed group with over 20,000 members on Facebook.
  11. Fighting off deadly flu 1918 survivors share lessons for enduring pandemic today by Michael Schroeder February 5, 2006 in The Journal Gazette newspaper is available online to Allen County Public Library card holders.
  12. THH Episode 7: Spanish Influenza: The Dead Malady Hits Indiana by Lindsey Beckley posted on September 1, 2017 on the The Indiana History Blog by Indiana Historical Bureau.
  13. How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America The toll of history’s worst epidemic surpasses all the military deaths in World War I and World War II combined. And it may have begun in the United States by John M. Barry published November 2017 in Smithsonian Magazine.
  14. August 10, 2018 Amy Johnson Crow Tweeted about news censorship of influenza deaths including obituaries during the WWI.
  15. 1918 flu deaths
  16. October 27, 2018 the DAR posted a Trivia question on Facebook: Why was it called the Spanish Flu? with the answer: During World War 1, many countries including the United States and Great Britain enacted laws preventing anyone from publishing news that would harm morale. This meant many people did not know about the flu pandemic or how to prevent it until it was too late. However, Spain was neutral during the war and had no such censorship, so many people first heard about the flu from Spanish news sources. They called it the Spanish Flu even though the disease originated in Kansas.
  17. World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. - Read the rest at The Deadly Virus The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 - NARA National Archives and Record Administration.
  18. October 26, 1918 - state health officials believed that the worst of the 1918 influenza epidemic was over. There were an estimated 350,000 cases resulting in over 10,000 deaths. All public gatherings were banned during the month. For information, documents, and photos about the influenza epidemic on a national and international level, see The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 on or 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Indiana on Copied October 26, 2013 from Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.
  19. 1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  20. First digital resource explores 1918 flu epidemic - "The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia," created by the Center for the History of Medicine in partnership with the U-M (University of Michigan) Library's MPublishing, documents 50 diverse communities in the United States during fall 1918 and winter 1919—a period when the effects of influenza caused the deaths of an estimated 650,000 Americans (and 50 million people worldwide). See their website Influenza Encyclopedia.
  21. THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC OF 1918 AND YOUR ANCESTORS by D. Joshua Taylor on JSTOR Daily blog.
  22. See Timeline: Influenza Across America in 1918 on
  23. Modern map of Google Flu Trends
  24. Did the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic Originate in China? by Christopher Langford published in Population and Development Review Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 2005), pp. 473-505 (33 pages) on
  25. Indiana officials, on recommendations from federal health officials, announced on Oct. 6, 1918, a statewide health crisis. In a telegram to all of Indiana’s county health officers, the State Board of Health ordered local officials to close all schools, churches and public amusement facilities until further notice. ... The flu subsided dramatically in northeast Indiana and other parts of the state in the early part of the new year. That was due in part to the strict public ban that was enforced in most communities. Copied from Flu pandemic hit area hard 100 years ago by Terry Housholder published November 18, 2018 on KPC
  26. Local officials all but shut the Fort Wayne down between October 1917 and New Year’s Eve of 1918 ... Fort Wayne was almost like a police state because of government regulations, ... They told you where you could shop, when you could shop, when you could go to work. according to local historian Maureen Gaff when she talked to The News-Sentinel about the pandemic in 1999 in the article KEVIN LEININGER: Hopefully history won’t repeat itself with COVID-19 — but it could published March 5, 2020 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  27. A survey by the local Influenza Commission estimated 5,000 people had the illness in Allen County. It was never determined exactly how many people died here during the pandemic. But during the last half of December, there were 47 flu-related deaths in Allen County. ... Todd Maxwell Pelfrey, executive director of The History Center, said ... that this region has survived many frightening epidemics over the centuries.The well-known Spanish Flu Pandemic and other calamitous outbreaks including smallpox in the 1730s and 1750s, cholera in the 1840s and 1850s, and diphtheria in the 1930s steeled our people and fortified a particular brand of communal ruggedness in our community, Pelfrey wrote. Copied from Furthermore ...Lessons of the last pandemic published March 21, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  28. The flu struck Fort Benjamin Harrison in September of 1918 and by October 6, U.S. public health service officials mandated a statewide quarantine for Indiana and most other states. Read more in Coping with Quarantine in a Pre-Digital Era by Nicole Poletika posted March 31, 2020 on the Indiana History Blog.
  29. Page 1 December 5, 1918 Journal Gazette newspaper editorial: “The prevalence of the influenza epidemic in Fort Wayne calls for every reasonable precaution, but the worst thing that could happen would be a feeling of panic because of the great number of gauze masks seen upon the street. Happily we are assured that the disease here does not seem to be so virulent as it has been in other places and was generally in the early stages of its grim progress across the country. The extraordinary precaution taken some time ago no doubt in large part accounts for the fact that it was so long held off from this community. It is but natural that men [sic] should be impatient under restraint. “We Americans are great for 'our rights.' And among those rights is the perfect right to endanger the lives of other people if that be necessary to the collecting of the coin of the realm. There was much criticism of the board of health when the closing order was issued some time ago. The Journal-Gazette did not join in this criticism then but took the position that if the men responsible for the protection of the lives of the people here thought that extreme measure necessary there should be no complaint. We do not now share in the criticism at the closing of the schools. If there is any one place where the epidemic finds a fertile field it is in the school rooms. “Meanwhile, let us go about our daily tasks, getting as much humor out of our masks as we can, taking much more than ordinary care about getting a cold, keeping calm, and co-operating with the health board as we should. In Indianapolis conditions are getting much better because of the measures taken there – measures very similar to those we have now taken here. The indications are that throughout the winter we shall have sporadic outbreaks of the disease in different communities but this will merely remind us of the experience of some years ago when the grippe swept through the country. Just now a cheerful disposition, calm nerves, and a wholesome sense of humor will help us through the trials of the next week or ten days.” Copied from Prescient words from a century in the past by Professor Steve Carr at Purdue University Fort Wayne published April 11, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  30. Businesses, churches and schools ordered to close. People advised to wear protective masks, clean thoroughly and maintain a safe distance between each other. Residents of Fort Wayne have never had to endure so much to defeat a deadly enemy they couldn’t see, smell or touch. Right? Nope. History reveals how the city’s strategy to defeat COVID-19 is remarkably similar — with some very notable exceptions — to its response to the influenza of 1918, which ultimately killed 20 million people worldwide, including about 700,000 in the United States and 9,000 in Indiana. They wanted to get out in front of it and closed public places, which is why the rate was lower in Fort Wayne than other cities in Indiana, said Allen County Health Department Administrator Mindy Waldron, who is something of an historian when it comes to the “Spanish Flu.” Although records are incomplete, it is believed about 91 Fort Wayne residents died from all forms of influenza and pneumonia in 1918, a rate of about 114 for every 100,000 people. Copied from KEVIN LEININGER: Think we’ve never been through an ordeal quite like this? Think again published April 11, 2020 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  31. “They closed down the hospitals” says historian Maureen Gaff. “Nobody could go to the hospital because so many nurses and doctors were sick.” and “Four ladies one night got together and played a game of bridge and they played cards till about eleven o'clock at night,” says Gaff. “The next morning three of them were dead. It came on that fast. You didn't even know you had it you just dropped dead.” copied from Covid19’s Ancestor video by Eric Olson, 21Country Featured Reporter published April 21, 2020 on WPTA21 ABC TV station.
  32. Wear a Mask and Save Your Life: the 1918 Flu Pandemic by Jessiekratz published April 15, 2020 in The National Archives Prologue: Pieces of History blog.
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Measles poem

1913 measles poem in Fort Wayne News newspaper from the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook

In 2000, measles were declared eliminated in the U.S., but dozens of cases are still found on infected people who come here from other countries, from Rise in measles and other infectious diseases has U.S. public health experts on alert by Steven Ross Johnson posted November 30, 2013 on Modern Measles are still a problem in some parts of the world and can be deadly from Without Vaccines, Hundreds of Children in Pakistan Have Died From a Measles Epidemic posted May 31, 2013 on Smart News. Still Not Vaccinated? U.S. Measles Cases in 2013 Spike to Three Times Normal by Phil Plait posted December 6, 2013 on

It’s Official: Rubella Has Been Eradicated From the Americas Health officials confirm that rubella no longer originates in North or South America by Erin Blackemore published April 30, 2015 on

Mosquito-Borne Disease

Mosquito-Borne Disease the 20th edition of Public Health Fast Facts a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and United Way 2-1-1 of Northeast Indiana.


Grandmother's Journal - Strength To Draw From FamilySearch YouTube video

Discovering in an old journal the inspiring story of her grandmother caring for her polio-stricken father gives a woman strength to draw from during a particularly difficult time in her own life and deepens her appreciation for family history.

President Franklin Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, at age thirty-nine from Whatever Happened to Polio? on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

February 23, 1954 Dr. Jonas Salk gave the first polio vaccine during field trials to children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The vaccine was produced by Eli Lily and Company in Indianapolis. From February 23, 2016 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Discovery Public Domain Newsreel uploaded March 26, 2011 by  PublicDomainFootage YouTube.

April 12, 1955 it was announced that Jonas Salk, using March of Dimes donations from millions of people, had developed a vaccine to prevent polio, the most notorious disease of the 20th century until AIDS. Read Sabin and Salk Two Vaccines and Whatever Happened to Polio? on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog Salk, Sabin and the Race Against Polio As polio ravaged patients worldwide, two gifted American researchers developed distinct vaccines against it. Then the question was: Which one to use? by Gilbert King published April 3, 2012 on A Shot to Save the World on the Smithsonian Channel.

Polio nearly gone, but fight remains The world witnessed only 223 polio cases last year, the lowest level in history and an impressive advance from the hundreds of thousands of children afflicted annually as recently as the 1980s. However, the eradication quest is not over, and the next steps look difficult. Read the rest of the Washington Post editorial April 11, 2013.

How Humankind Got Ahead of Infectious Disease With polio on the verge of eradication, a career immunologist explains the medical marvel of vaccination and the pioneers who made it possible. From

Health leaders hopes to eradicate polio by 2018! How The World Backed Polio Into A Corner by David Oshinsky published October 27, 2013 on

Polio could cause minor to total paralysis as shown in The Iron Lung Story by Loretta Chase published March 17, 2014 on Two Nerdy Girls blog.

Survivor of polio speaks at luncheon Area pastor observes fight to end disease by Vivian Sade published October 23, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper discussed Rotary's End Polio Now campaign

Polio discussed March 25, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived and Closed group with over 20,000 members on Facebook

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Scarlet Fever

March 8, 1898 Fort Wayne News reported a new case of scarlet fever in the family of Charles Geiger at 2406 Hanna Street published November 29, 2012and September 22, 1903 Fort Wayne News Police Notes reported a new case at 519 West Fourth Street published September 17, 2014 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook. Discussion about local childhood quarantines January 19, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived and Closed group with over 20,000 members on Facebook.


On the right is a June 3, 1904 Fort Wayne News newspaper article posted September 6, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

In March 1907, inspectors from the Indiana State Board of Health went to Purdue University to treat an epidemic of smallpox that had allegedly been spread by 2 fortune tellers. Copied from Tuesday Tidbit December 16, 2014 by Indiana Genenealogical Society on Facebook.

In August and September 1893, the city of Muncie had an epidemic of smallpox. The Indiana State Board of Health initiated a quarantine. Copied from Tuesday Tidbit September 15, 2014 on Indiana Genealogical Society on Facebook.

It is believed smallpox originated about 3,000 years ago in Egypt or India, and went on to become one of the most devastating diseases mankind has ever faced, decimating populations for centuries. ... No effective treatment was ever developed for smallpox. In its deadliest form (variola major) it killed as many as 30% of those infected, and between 65-80% of those it did not kill were left with scars, most prominent in their face. One third of all reported blindness in 18th century Europe was due to smallpox. Copied from Smallpox: A Vaccine Triumph Storyby by Leart Shaka  on jref James Randi Educational Foudnation. The small pox vaccine was discovered by Edward Jenner on May 14, 1796.

The last naturally occurring case of indigenous smallpox (Variola minor) was diagnosed in Ali Maow Maalin, a hospital cook in Merca, Somalia, on 26 October 1977, from An anniversary worth celebrating by Phil Plait posted October 26, 2009 on December 9, 1979 World Health Organization declares eradication of smallpox. See photo of smallpox immunization devices on flickr of the The National Museum of American History. The Rise and Fall of Smallpox by Jesse Greenspan published May 7, 2015 on states: On May 8, 1980, the World Health Organization officially pronounced victory in the fight against smallpox, confirming that no known cases of the dreaded killer existed anywhere on the planet. 

The first week in July 2014 the FDA announced they discovered decades old vials containing variola. The variola virus, better known as smallpox, cost some 300 million lives in the 20th century alone. Smallpox was eradicated in 1975, thanks to heroic vaccination and containment efforts by the World Health Organization and other scientific agencies. Copied from Could There Be More Smallpox Samples Still Out There Somewhere? The FDA found mysterious old vials labeled "variola" and determined that they did indeed contain the smallpox virus by Rachel Nuwer published July 9, 2014 on The peace gun by Alexandra Lord published August 27, 2015 by The National Museum of American History.

Our ancestors had some strange ideas about medicine. A Cow’s Head Will Not Erupt from Your Body if You Get a Smallpox Vaccination by Dick Eastman posted January 8, 2015 on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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Teeth are often a vicitim of disease, accidents, poor diet and related health issues. George Washington's had false ivory teeth contrary to stories about his wooden teeth. Read more in False Teeth at George Washington's Mount Vernon.

Adult Oral Health Oral Health for Adults by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 2006—The baby boomer generation will be the first where the majority will maintain their natural teeth over their entire lifetime, having benefited from water fluoridation and fluoride toothpastes. Over the past 10 years, the number of adults missing all their natural teeth has declined from 31 percent to 25 percent for those aged 60 years and older, and from 9 percent to 5 percent for those adults between 40 and 59 years. However, 5 percent means a surprising 1 out of 20 middle-aged adults are missing all their teeth.

Thyphoid Fever

December 23, 1899 Fort Wayne News newspaper has a story about typhoid fever possibly in the wells in the brickyard district to be inspected by the board of health and condemned if fever was found. Was on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook


On March 24, 1882, Robert Koch, a German physician, announced the discovery of mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis. At the time, tuberculosis was the cause of one in seven deaths. While the development of the streptomycin antibiotic in 1946 resulted in an effective treatment and cure of tuberculosis, today it is estimated that nearly one-third of the world’s population has been infected with the M. Tuberculosis bacterium. This poster was part of a public health campaign of the Office of War Information during World War II. Copied from Guard Against Tuberculosis the The National Archives Today's Document on tumblr. Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of deadliest infectious diseases of humans, killing 50% of individuals when left untreated. Even today, TB causes 1-2 million deaths every year mainly in developing countries. Multidrug-resistance is a growing threat in the fight against the disease. Copied September 23, 2013 from Mycobacterium Tuberculosis: Our African Follower for Over 70,000 Years on Science Daily. See Basic TB Facts on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site. In the United States the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases has been declining since 1993; however TB is still a life-threatening problem in this country. Read Tuberculosis TB Personal Storiespublished March 12, 2014 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page. If Tuberculosis Spreads ... by Polly J. Price published July 8, 2014 in The New York Times newspaper. See OPEN AIR SCHOOLS IN INDIANA in the early 20th century article on and Timeline: Tuberculosis in America on How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion The deadly disease—and later efforts to control it—influenced trends for decades on discusses how the disease shaped womens fashion, male facial hair and encourage sun tanning.

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Other Information

  1. January 6, 1914 photo Board of Public Health - Dr. H. O. Bruggeman, president, Dr. H. A. Duemling, and Dr. J.H. Gilpin, secretary, in The Journal Gazette newspaper posted February 27, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
  2. 1903 - in March the Indiana legislature passed a quarantine law requiring doctors to report all cases of contagious diseases including yellow fever, smallpox, diphtheria, membranous croup, scarlet fever and spinal meningitis to their local board of health and to quarantine the home. Read more in Friday Fact March 7, 2014 by Indiana Genealogical Society on Facebook.
  3. 1952 Annual Report of the Department of Health Fort Wayne, Indiana on the ACGSI website.
  4. Awful Moments In Quarantine History: Remember Typhoid Mary? looks at a variety of diseases over the centuries by Eleanor Klibanoff published October 30, 2014 on
  5. Epidemics in Indiana history posted for November 15, 2014 hoosier history Live radio show on WICR 88.7 FM.
  6. Epidemics in the United States on
  7. Indiana Medical History Museum - Wishard Scrapbook - a window into the history of medicine in Indiana and an introduction to some of the past prominent figures in the Indianapolis Medical Society.
  8. Medical Terminology alphabetical lists at Genealogy
  9. Two databases “19th and 20th Century Indiana Physician” and “Union Civil War Surgeons” at Indiana University School of Medicine
  10. How Vaccines Have Changed Our World In One Graphic shows how common diseases declined since vaccines were used from PHARMA & HEALTHCARE February 19, 2013.
  11. How Vaccines, a Collective Triumph of Modern Medicine, Conquered the World's Diseases Smithsonian curators present a virtual tour of several objects from the collections that revolutionized public health care by Alexandra Lord and Diane Wendt published September 28, 2015 on
  12. Public Health in Indiana early years of public health science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the March 1998 The Indiana Historian on
  13. Why is Allen County so unhealthy? Choice Obesity, low birth weight, STDs worry commissioner - by Vivian Sade published March 21, 2013 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. ebooks

  1. Home treatment for the disease of domesticated animals ..(1895) - Langtry, Walter. [from old catalog]
  2. Home treatment of the diseases of domesticated animals. A practical work .. - Langtry, Walter - duplicate?


Glessco a German Croup remedy found in many cities. DR J A DRAKE'S LABORATORY FORT WAYNE IND photo was formerly on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook. A photo of a glass bottle is found on the Bottles page from Matt's Collectibles Also listed in Biennial Report for ... By Indiana. Bureau of Statistics from Google Play and Meyer Brothers Druggist, Volume 28 page 6 Bulletin For Buyers.


At The Genealogy Center - copied from their monthly newsletter - Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 147, May 31, 2016:

  1. “Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms” by Helen V. Smith, is based on medical terms found in Australia’s death certificates and information, but the terms translate to the United States quite well.
  2. “A Dictionary of Medical & Related Terms for the Family Historian” by Joan E. Brundy, does an excellent job of describing terms in great detail while including images and further background.
  3. "Genealogical and Historical Terms and Phrases used in Deeds, Occupations, Medical Conditions, and Diseases,” compiled by Lawrence H. Dunbar.  This book does not separate between topics, but lists them all in alphabetical order. 

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