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

Clickable screenshot images below are for the Indiana COVID-19 Data Report page: and Allen County Department of Health COVID-19 Pandemic page

Indiana COVID-19 dataAllen County data

CDC Deaths by Juridiction

April 13, 2020 John Hopkins University added new report pages for the United States and specific counties such as Allen County, Indiana. Click screenshot image below to go to their pages.

  1. Indiana has a 2019 Novel Cornovirus (COVID-19) webpage: with numbers, charts and graphs. They are posting screenshots of the graph similar to ours above to their Twitter page: and Facebook.
  2. The Allen County Department of Health has a COVID-19 Pandemic page. April 7, 2020 added additional graph and distribution information:
  3. City of Fort Wayne:
  4. CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  5. Indiana Senate Democrats have a COVID-19 page:
  6. Indiana Senate Republicans have a COVID-19 Resources page:
  7. John Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resourch Center has an interactive map and data for all affected countries. April 13, 2020 they added an Allen County, Indiana COVID-19 STATUS Report page.
  8. Financial Times has several countries on one graph:
  9. Worldometer for the United States has graphs and more on the virus.
  10. has Quick Facts of data for every county in the world including the USA.
  11. PBS Map: Watch the real-time spread of coronavirus in the U.S.
  12. projects deaths through August 4, 2020:
  13. WANE-TV NewsChannel 15 posts a daily graph of Allen County cases on their WANE-15 Facebook page from their Daily Indiana Health Department Coronavirus Update page.
  14. COVID-19 Case Counts by Zip Code at tableau

Facebook Watch shows all the videos with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb as the keyword, other keywords will narrow the search such as COVID-19.

2020, January 21 - first 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, March 25 - the world number of confirmed cases go over 500,000 from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

2020, March 26 - 19 cases reported one week after the first 2 cases from March 26, 2020 announcement by the Allen County Department of Health Facebook post.

2020, March 27 - the USA passed Italy and China as the country with the highest number of confirmed cases with over 100,000 to 101,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,500 deaths from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and others sources listed above.

2020, March 27 - Indiana confirmed cases rose to over 1,000 to 1,232, with 31 deaths and 8,407 tested, from the Indiana COVID-19 Data as of March 27th, 11:59PM on the Indiana 2019 Novel Cornovirus (COVID-19) webpage: Indiana had 126 confrimed cases and 3 deaths one week earlier on March 21, 2020 from the WANE-TV NewsChannel 15 Daily Indiana Health Department Coronavirus Update page.

2020, March 29 - 2,600 deaths reported on John Hopkins graph one month since the first USA death on February 29.

2020, March 30 - Indiana confirmed cases rise above 2,000 to 2,159 with 49 deaths reported on March 31, 2020. This is nearly double the 1,232 three days ago on March 27. State reports Allen County cases are 30, with 1 death, posted on Facebook by Allen County Info, although county for March 31, 2020 says 36 cases and 2 deaths.

2020, March 31 - US is nearing 6,000 deaths with confirmed cases doubled to over 200,000 in 3 days to 213,400 on the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 1 - the world confirmed cases go over one million from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. "The data shows 66.7% of confirmed Allen County cases have required hospitalization. Slightly more patients – 56.7% – are male than female. Sixty-nine percent are older than 60, and 10% are older than 80. ... Of those hospitalized, 16.7% had to be intubated and 13.3% went into a condition known as acute respiratory distress system, or ARDS. ... Patients need more than a ventilator to survive, Cameron said. They also need an intensive care nurse, respiratory therapist, one of more specialists and everything from antibiotics to experimental medications and sometimes machines to deliver them. Patients also often need a feeding tube and intravenous fluids. And patients are going to be (in intensive care) for more than a week. They're very sick, he said. ... The county statistics show about a third of cases are in people between 20 and 59 – 7% in those between 20 and 29, 10% in those 30 to 49, and 17% in those between 50 and 59. ... You can make 50,000 more ventilators, but you can't make 50,000 more (intensive care) nurses (overnight), she said." Copied from County gives data on virus Not only elderly are affected; death toll up to 2, cases hit 36 by Rosa Salter Rodriguez published April 1, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Indiana reported 78 death and over 3,000 confirmed cases while Allen County reported 2 deaths with 46 positive cases.

2020, April 3 - Indiana deaths increase to 102 with 3,437 postivie cases from Facebook post by the Indiana State Department of Health. Allen County reported 57 cases and 2 deaths from Allen County Info on Facebook. The world passed one million confirmed cases. Low Allen County numbers may be result of only testing people admitted to the hospital? Low testing may explain why county cases fewer by Niki Kelly publshed April 4, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Why don’t we see the number of people recovering from the coronavirus? by Taylor Williams published April 2, 2020 by WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.

2020, April 6 - US reports over 10,000 deaths at 10,389 2:45 PM on the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 6 - Indiana had over 5,000 postive cases when 5,507 postive cases were posted on April 7 on

2020, April 7 - the Allen County Department of Health added additional graph and distribution information:

2020, April 7 - Indiana deaths doubled to over 200 in 4 days since April 3 from State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box pointed out in the daily briefing that Indiana deaths rose to 173 on April 6 less than one month since the first death on March 16. She compared this number to the 5 year-average of 150-160 deaths per 12-month period from the seasonal flu emphasizing the infectious speed and fatality of COVID-19 compared to the seasonal flu. This was discussed around the 1.5 minute mark in the April 7, 2020 Indiana state COVID-199 briefing video on Facebook.

2020, April 8 - the US confirmed cases doubled in a week to over 400,000 to 419,975 and over 1.5 million cases for the world from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 8 - Indiana total positive cases over 6,000 to 6,351 with 245 deaths from 32,133 tested from

2020, April 9 - Allen County cases went over 100 to 112 with 9 deaths from posted on Facebook by Allen County Info. Parkview Health released tracking graphs showing a significant drop in respiratory illnesses after social distancing was implemented on their blog The reason it probably isn’t influenza.

2020, April 9 - World confirmed cases are over 1.6 million since one million on April 1 with deaths over 101,000 and US cases are around 486,000 with 18,000 deaths from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Indiana deaths rose to 300, almost triple the 102 deaths six days ago on April 3, with 6,907 positive cases and 35,040 tested from This in less than one month, 24 days, since the first death on March 16 and nearly double the 5 year-average of 150-160 deaths per 12-month period from the seasonal flu mentioned by State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box around the 1.5 minute mark in the April 7, 2020 Indiana state COVID-199 briefing video on Facebook.

2020, April 11 - Allen County had 12 deaths, since 1st Allen County death March 22, and 142 cases from US confirmed cases over 500,000 to 506,188 from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 12 - US deaths rose over 20,000 to 21,686 by 2:46:27 PM from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 14 - US confirmed cases rose to over 600,000 to 601,472, and deaths rose to over 25,000 to 25,800, from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 16 - world confirmed cases rose to over two million to 2,076,015 from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, April 16 - Indiana had over 500 deaths at 519 one month since the first Indiana death on March 16 and over 10,000 positive cases to 10,154 from and April 17, 2020 post on Facebook.

2020, April 17 - Allen County deaths rise above 20 to 21 from and posted, then removed, on Facebook.

2020, April 19 - Allen County announced 314 confirmed cases one month after the 1st two confirmed Allen County cases March 19.

2020, April 21 - Allen County deaths rose above 30 to 31 and posted, then removed, on Facebook.

2020, April 22 - Allen County announced 32 deaths in one month since the 1st Allen County death March 22, while confirmed cases rose to 350.

2020, April 22 - Dr. Kristina Box announced that the first case of COVID-19 in Indiana was probably in mid-February a couple weeks before the announced first confirmed case on March 6, 2020. This is discussed around the 20 minute mark of the April 22, 2020 video. Around the 31-minute mark she discusses how they determine the cause of death for the tracking numbers. She also repeated that the normal 5-year-average flu deaths during the 7-month flu season is around 154 versus over 661 deaths in a little over one month from COVID-19.

2020, April 23 - Indiana deaths rose to 706 with 13,039 confirmed cases from April 23, 2020 Events pageand April 23, 2020 Facebook post.

2020, April 24 - Allen County annouced 416 confirmed cases and the US deaths rose to over 50,000.

2020, April 25 - Indiana total positive cases rose to 15,012 with 813 total deaths from 81,708 tested from

2020, April 27 - Allen County confirms 900 deaths

2020, April 28 - the US passes one million confirmed cases, April 29, 2020 CDC Facebook post, and the world three million cases.

2020, April 29 - US deaths rose to over 60,000 two months since the first USA death on February 29.

2020, April 30 - Indiana total deaths rose to 1,007, with 107 probable but not confirmed by testing deaths. The US reported over 63,000 deaths at the end of April from over one million confirmed cases.

2020, May 1 - Allen County announces 50th death. State records 1,000th virus death Also reports youngest fatality by Niki Kelly published May 1, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Now 100 days from January 21, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the USA.

2020, May 5 - US deaths rise above 70,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, May 7 - US deaths rose above 75,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, May 11 - US deaths rose above 80,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, May 14 - Indiana deaths rose to 1,508 from and Indiana State Department of Health post on Facebook.. 186,000 in state infected: Study 2.8% of Hoosiers as of May 1 by Niki Kelly published May 14, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. The article stated: " A statewide study on the prevalence of COVID-19 found that 186,000 Hoosiers were actively or previously infected as of May 1 – compared with the 17,000 known positive cases at that time. The data suggests that only about 1 of every 11 true infections were identified by tests focused on symptomatic or high-risk patients. IUPUI scientists also estimated the infection-fatality rate for the new coronavirus in Indiana to be 0.58%, making it almost six times more deadly than the seasonal flu, which has an infection-fatality rate of 0.1%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." It also said the researchers at IU Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI determined that during the last week in April, 1.7% of participants tested positive for the virus and an additional 1.1% tested positive for antibodies – bringing the estimated population prevalence of the virus in the state to 2.8%. Northeast Indiana was 1.9% prevalence. The research team also found that almost 45% of people who tested positive for active viral infection reported no symptoms.

2020, May 18 - US deaths rose above 90,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, May 19 - Allen County postive cases rose above 1,000 from

2020, May 27 - US deaths rose above 100,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, June 2 - Indiana deaths rose above 2,000 to 2,022 from

2020, June 7 - 400,000 deaths reported worldwide from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, June 8 - the USA has nearly 2 million confirmed cases, 1,951,722, and over 110,771 deaths 100 days since February 29, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 death was in the USA from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, June 14 - Indiana had 39,909 postive cases with 2,240 deaths from 348, 391 tested 100 days since March 6, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced in Indiana.

2020, June 15 - Indiana surpassed 40,4030 positive cases from

2020, June 24 - Indiana reported 2,394 deaths and 43,655 positive cases 100 days since March 16, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 death was announced in Indiana from

2020, June 25 - Allen County reported 102 deaths and 2529 postive cases from

2020, June 27 - Allen County had 2605 postive cases and 107 deaths 100 days since March 19, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced in Allen County, Indiana from

2020, June 30 - Allen County had 2679 postive cases with 109 deaths 100 days since March 22, 2020 when the first confirmed COVID-19 death was reported in Allen County, Indiana from

2020, July 4 - Indiana had 48,008 positive cases and 2,500 total deaths from Recall that the April 22, 2020 Dr. Box said the normal 5-year-average flu deaths during the 7-month flu season is around 154.

2020, July 8 - USA reaches 3 million postive cases and 130,000 deaths from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, July 24 - Allen County recorded the 150th COVID-19 virus death from, and Indiana had the highest over 1,000 with 1,011 new positive cases for the first time from

2020, July 29 - US deaths reported over 150,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, August 9 - USA reaches 5 million active cases of COVID-19 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, August 12, 2020 - the world surpasses 20 million postive cases with 5 million in the USA from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, August 22 - Indiana deaths passed 3,001 from

2020, August 24 - Indiana individuals tested pass one million at 1,002,038 from

2020, August 30 - USA reaches 6 million active cases of COVID-19 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, September 5 - Indiana deaths passed 100,394 postive cases from and Indiana cases top 100,000 milestone published September 8, 2020 in the The Journal Gazette newspaper.

2020, September 21 - USA deaths from COVID-19 passes 200,000 from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2020, September 25 - Allen County recorded the 200th COVID-19 virus death from

2020, October 29 - Indiana passes 4,000 deaths from

2020, November 22 - Indiana's new COVID-19 restrictions take effect as increasing positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths rise to new record levels. Allen County also issued new restrictions November 17, 2020 based on the authority granted in Governor Eric Holcomb's Executive Order 20-48 issued November 13, 2020 granted by I.C. 16-41-9-1.6, I.


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... Closed group 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... Closed group 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... Closed group 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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