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Spanish Influenza of 1918

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In the late summer of 1918 when the Spanish Flu arrived in Philadelphia, PA, my great uncle Rev. Jeremiah Mahon was a parish priest at St. Mary's Church at 252 S. 4th St.

They say the flu started with a cough in the summer of 1918 and by the time it ended 120 days later, it left 22 million people dead worldwide. In Philadelphia after just 28 days there were 12,191 reported deaths and 47,094 reported cases. This flu targeted mostly the young and robust, Jeremiah was just 32 years old.

My Uncle Jeremiah was one of approximately 800 people who died in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 19th, 1918. New York beat that number by 851 deaths in one day.

Jeremiah was one of my family heroes. Not only was he a very respected priest in a very Irish Catholic family, but when the Spanish Influenza came and 67% of Philadelphia's nurses were off ill or scared, he volunteered to help tend to the ill in a local hospital. That's how he caught the flu.

In his epithet there is a part that goes, "His Kindly, genial disposition, his winning smiles and affable ways, won for him a host of friends in every parish where duty called him to labor. Everybody loved him."

Jeremiah would be the first one in my ancestral family who I would conjure up if Family Tree Maker offered a Digital "Conjure up Your Dead Ancestors" software program. He is the person in my family's past I never met but who I most admire. I am sorry that I will never get to meet him face to face. That is, unless someone finds a photo of him and posts it to DeadFred.com.

How many of you reading this lost a relative during this horrible pandemic? If you have a story to share, send it to webmaster@deadfred.com.

Here are some links for more information on the 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/influenza/
http://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/millhillessays/1998/influenza1918.htm

This link will give you a example of the mortality rate in the month of October compared to other months of 1918: http://www.rootsweb.com/~paschuy2/1918.html?o_xid=0038314405&o_lid=0038314405&o_xt=38314405

From Schuylkill Co., PA. Compliments of Schuylkill County Ties

About the Author

Raised in Southern New Jersey, Joe Bott is an avid photograph collector and mastermind behind DeadFred.com. After accumulating thousands of old photos over the past 30 years, Joe decided to transform his hobby into a full-time activity for his retirement. Now DeadFred.com is a popular public resource for people like you to explore the past through pictures.




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