Taylor: The 1918 flu pandemic: History repeats itself

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter
Joan Echols Taylor

One hundred years ago, an influenza pandemic swept the globe, infecting an estimated one-third of the world’s population and killing at least 50 million people. This headline was published in the Genealogy Bank Newsletter this month and seems to be a carbon copy of what we are facing in our world today.

The recorded details of this unusual flu-like activity gives a good report of what is happening in our world today. The virus spread quickly and there were at least 50 million killed. Including 675,000 Americans.

The world was at a standstill and there was no prevention and no treatment to treat the pandemic. It was estimated 195,000 Americans died during October alone.

The flu virus spread quickly; there was no prevention and no treatment for the 1918 pandemic. The flu lasted through 1920. It overburdened the healthcare system and lives were lost.

We have made major advancements in flu prevention and treatment since 1918, but realize this: Four pandemics have occurred in the past century — in 1918, 1957, 1968, and 2009.

The prescribed measure of protection today is to prepare yourself with limited public activities, wear protective masks in public, and sanitize by washing with soap and water. Sanitize daily as suggested by the health department and limit your contact with crowds and social events. Much the same as 100 years ago. However, it is up to each of us personally to do our part in protecting others and ourselves by these guidelines today.

According to the media and our officials, this has not been accomplished. Simply said, wear your mask, wash your hands and sanitize, avoid crowds. Whether you are young and restless or just believe it cannot happen to you or your loved ones, we must step up and remember “BE CAREFUL, DON’T KILL GRANDMA.” I am thinking of having a T-shirt made to wear when I go out in public.

On a lighter note, the Somervell Historical Research library is open to the public and our staff is still active. We do wear masks and we ask that you do the same. Our telephone requests have been active and during this time, we have been busy organizing our records, family files, and microfilms.

I am amazed at the stories I have found that I will be sharing with you all. We received photos from a contact that cover some of the early days in the area. A treasure of turn-of-the-century school group photos of Post Oak School and Chalk Mountain School and the Town of Chalk Mountain. A descendant of the Chalk Mountain early settlers has sent several photos.

We will be able to share once they are downloaded and printed. Stop by, visit us in the Somevell County Library (108 Allen Drive in Glen Rose), and tell us your story. If you have photos or stories of your early ancestors who settled in the area, we would like to put them in a family file.