Lehi Timeline of the Flu Epidemic of 1918

May 14, 2020

After extensive research of newspaper articles, cemetery records, Family Search, Ancestry and Lehi resident Andrew Fjeld’s daily journals, it appears between Oct. 3, 1918, and Jan. 15, 1919, Lehi lost at least 37 people to influenza, although not all found in research were living in Lehi at the time.

The following is a timeline of the Flu Epidemic in Lehi from Oct. 3, 1918, to January 1919 with a few updates after that. This timeline was compiled after extensive research of newspaper articles, cemetery records, Family Search, Ancestry and Lehi resident Andrew Fjeld’s daily journals.

It appears between Oct. 3, 1918, and Jan. 15, 1919, Lehi lost at least 37 people to influenza, although not all found in research were living in Lehi at the time.

If you have any information to add to this timeline, please let us know at lehihistory@gmail.com or 801-318-2788.

Timeline of the Flu Epidemic of 1918-1920 in Lehi

Oct. 3—Salt Lake City begins reporting cases.

Oct. 10—Utah State Health Board bans all public gatherings.

Oct. 11—“… the state board of health advised that people should remain at home as much as possible. Patients should be attended by as few persons as possible, preferably by one who should wear a gauze mask provided by the state board of health. Dr. Beatty advocated arrest of every person who failed to over his mouth when sneezing in public.”

Oct. 12—The Salt Lake Herald-Republican reported that Lehi, population 3,000, is among the cities whose “disease has assumed epidemic form … having an average of 25 cases.” It also advised that, “people should remain at home as much as possible. Patients should be attended by as few persons as possible., preferably by one who should wear a gauze mask provided by the state board of health. Dr. Beatty [state health commissioner] advocated the arrest of every person who failed to cover his mouth when sneezing in public.”

Oct. 12—Andrew Fjeld’s daughter comes home not feeling well.

Oct. 14—Eight-month-old Lucile Allred, daughter of D. Ray and Susie Allred, died.

Oct. 15—65 Utah towns report outbreaks.

Oct. 18—Kenneth Evans Goates dies in Ogden.

Oct. 19—Jane Smith Hitesman, 35, dies.*

Oct. 20—Elaine Goates dies in Ogden.

Oct. 20—William John Jackson, 2 months, dies.*

Oct. 21—Charles Hyrum Goates dies in Ogden.

Oct. 22—The Ogden Daily Standard reported, “Since the beginning of the epidemic there have been some 2289 cases reported to the local authorities but not all of these are cases of Spanish influenza, says Mr. Short [of the Ogden city board of health]. Local doctors have reported all cases of colds, bad colds, grippe as well as influenza and this number includes a great number of people who are recovered and going about their daily duty in good health.”

Like other areas in Utah, in October of 1918, Lehi enacted an ordinance, bottom document, prohibiting non-Utah County residents from entering the corporate limits of Lehi in hopes of slowing the flu epidemic. Top, found among the 1918 City Recorder items stored at The Lehi Historical Society and Archives, this note was likely meant for the newspaper. It read, “The City Council highly recommend that people take the Influenza vaccine. Those wishing free vaccination can obtain it on Monday, Wed. and Friday from 2 to 4 PM at Lehi Hospital.” There was no “vaccine” as we know them today so it would be interesting to know to what treatment this referred.

Oct. 24—Elaine Goates dies in Ogden.

Oct. 24—Lehi native Earl Markwick Ashton, 24, dies at Fort Lewis in Washington.

Oct. 25—Wendell Turner, 19, dies.

Oct. 26—Anna Maria Lind Pierson, 39, dies.

Oct. 29—George Lyman Schow, 39, dies in Delta.

Oct. 29—Otto Thomas Varney, 26, dies in West Jordan.

Oct. 30—Bartel Arthur Turner, 53, dies.

Oct. 31—Mable Grace Wells, 35, dies.

End of October—SLC reports 1500 cases and 117 deaths.

End of October—Ogden reports 2,628 cases of the flue and 73 deaths.

Nov. 1—Florence Sandback Goates, 23, daughter-in-law to George Goates dies.

Nov. 1—Ebbie Christensen, 26, dies in San Francisco in the military.*

Nov. 2—Fred Brems, 43, dies in Park City in the military.*

Nov. 3—Ruby Elizabeth Bone, 13, dies.

Nov. 4—Joseph Earl Wanlass, 20, died in Monroe.

Nov. 5—Abel John Ekins, 21, dies of pneumonia in Camp Kearney, San Diego, Calif.

Nov. 7—George Ray Bone, 27, dies.

Nov. 9—Kenneth Anton Schow, 24, dies in Salt Lake.

Nov. 10—Tracy Johnson dies. 1

Nov. 11—Florence Gertrude Powell, 27, dies in Salt Lake City.*

This Oct. 13, 1918, Salt Lake Herald Republican article explains the importance of a mask and how it is worn. Courtesy of Utah Digital Newspapers

Nov. 12The Salt Lake Tribune reports 23 deaths in Lehi. “The disease, however, is on the wane, and apex of 200 cases has been reduced to about thirty at present.”

Nov. 15—Virginia Schow, 8 months, dies. Daughter of Kenneth Schow.

Nov. 15—Hazel Kinder Holmes, 27, dies.

Nov. 19—… Pres. Joseph F. Smith [president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] died today.

Nov. 20—Mary Ann Powell, 25, sister of Florence Gertrude Powell, dies in Salt Lake City.*

Nov. 22—William Wallace Asher, 18, dies in Douglas, Ariz., serving in the military.

Nov. 29—Myrtle Royle, 19, dies in Knightville.

Nov. 30—Wilford Carl Whiting, 25, dies.

Dec. 2—Ada May Briggs Asher, mother of William Wallace Asher, 45, dies in Lehi.

Dec. 3—J.T. Powell, 25, dies.

Dec. 9—Reta Evans Dorton, 24, dies.**

Dec. 10—Lillie Rindlisbach Sorenson, 26, dies.**

Dec. 11—Lois Virginia Worlton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ruben Worlton, dies.**

Dec. 14—Ira Wellman Brown, 18, dies in Salt Lake City.*

Dec. 20—”… The quarantine regulations are still in force as there are no public gatherings of any kind at present,” —Andrew Fjeld.

Dec. 20—According to the Historical Quarterly, many communities began opening up their theaters, churches and pool rooms.

Sunday, Dec. 22—”The First Presidency [of the LDS Church] issued a proclamation designating today as a special fast day to importune the Lord to banish the “flue.” I have been fasting all day and working at the factory as usual. I am glad of the chance to join in a general fast for so worthy an object. …” —Andrew Fjeld.

Jan. 3, 1919—Margarett Christina Brems, 13, dies.

Jan. 3—An article, “Lehi Postpones School Opening,” in the Salt Lake Telegram reports, “The reopening of the public schools, which was scheduled for next Monday, has been indefinitely postponed by order of the school board. The development of twenty new cases of influenza resulted in the order of the board. The theatres and dance halls, which reopened last week, have been closed again, the order also affecting church gatherings.”

Jan. 7—”At the factory all day. … went down to Freeman Royle’s where we met Harry Stewart, A.G. Schow, Herbert Taylor and Brother Royle and held a prayer meeting for the benefit of Irene Wanlass, Winnie Evans, Vervene Evans and Zeltha Zimmerman all of whom are sick with the flue.” –Andrew Fjeld.

Jan. 9—Irene Elaine Wanlass died.

Jan. 11—Zeltha May Zimmerman, 19, died.

Jan. 13—“Worked until noon and came up and attended Irene Wanlass’ funeral which left the undertaking parlors at 1 o’clock. Jas Anderson presided, Freeman Royle, B.J. Vance of Alpine and A.B. Anderson were the speakers. I spoke a few words and dedicated the grave. Went back to work again.” –Andrew Fjeld.

Jan. 12—Mary Ellen Thomas, 77, dies.

Jan. 15—Vervene June Evans, 24, died. Zeltha and Vervene were first cousins.

January 2019—Bans on public gatherings are lifted.

May 16—William Karren, 48, dies.

Oct. 13, 1919—Alfred Hugh Powell, 78, dies.*

American Fork Citizen article, Feb. 14, 1920.

Feb. 14, 1920—The American Fork Citizen reports the deaths of three young husbands and fathers: Henry Lewis Jr., John Frank and Edgar Clark. “Reports from Lehi this week says there are many more cases of influenza than at any time during the last epidemic and there has been a number of deaths.”

Feb. 20, 1920The Salt Lake Herald-Republican reports 63 cases of influenza in Lehi with few deaths. “There were a few less cases than last year with only a small percentage of the number of fatalities that occurred in 1918-1919.”

There were 44,900 cases of influenza reported in Utah in 1918 and 2,282 deaths, according to the Spring 1995 Utah State Historical Quarterly.

If you would like to share your ancestor’s story or make sure your ancestor is listed among those who died during the epidemic in Lehi, please contact The Lehi Historical Society and Archives at lehihistory@gmail.com or 801-318-2788.

*=Just know person died in time period. Not for sure about influenza.

**=Died outside of Lehi but were buried in Lehi.

Lehi Timeline of the Flu Epidemic of 1918-1920

Many families lost more than one member

Granddaughter shares recipe of plaster used to influenza in 1918

Andrew Fjeld’s daily journal entries during the epidemic

Newspaper articles give bird’s eye view of epidemic in Lehi and around the state

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