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Influenza throughout North Carolina

A Record of the War Activities in Orange County, North Carolina, 1917-1919

A Record of the War Activities in Orange County, North Carolina, 1917-1919

"A Record of the War Activities in Orange County, North Carolina, 1917-1919," by Annie Sutton Cameron, is a manuscript history of local efforts during World War I in Orange County, North Carolina, and related correspondence and lists of soldiers and members of local committees. Cameron's history covers the Council of Defense and the Home Guard, war bond and overseas relief campaigns, patriotic observances, the influenza epidemic of 1918, and other matters.

A chapter pertaining to the influenza pandemic covers the months October 1918 to February 1919. The chapter begins: "Early in October 1918 Dr. D. H. Hill, State Chairman of the Council of National Defense, sent letters to all County Chairmen warning them of the spread of Spanish Influenza which was threatening the whole country. In this letter he made suggestions as to what steps should be taken etc." In response to this letter, the chairmen created a County Board of Health. On 7 October 1918, this board "ordered the closing of all churches, schools, theatres etc. and forbade all meetings of every kind, in order to prevent, if possible, a spread of the disease which had already broken out in the Community."

Cameron describes various relief efforts throughout Orange County. Although the County Board of Health organized these efforts, most of the workers were members of the Red Cross. The chapter ends with a list of people who helped during this time period, and a list of people who died: six in Hillsborough, nine in Chapel Hill, eleven in Carrboro, four in Cedar Grove Township, and three in Little River Township.

Letter from William Cain to Bessie Brownrigg Cain Henderson

Letter of 23 October 1918

Influenza in Chapel Hill and Salisbury, North Carolina, October 1918

In this letter from October 1918, University of North Carolina professor William Cain asks his sister, Bessie Brownrigg Cain Henderson, how relatives in Salisbury, North Carolina "are all getting on as to the Influenza." He agrees with Henderson that their mother had flu, "although it is strange that not one caught it from her." He gives updates about the health of family and students, and warns that pharmacology professor William MacNider and anatomy professor Charles Staples Mangum caught the flu, even though they wore masks and "took every precaution." Cain mentions that University of North Carolina President Edward Kidder Graham "is down now -- one lung affected." Graham died on 26 October 1918. MacNider and Mangum both recovered. Cain later warns not to travel "on any ordinary account." 

Letter from Joseph Lucius Reed to Bethany Barbara Sales Reed

Letter of 26 November 1918

More influenza in North Carolina than in France, November 1918

In this letter from November 1918, Joseph Lucius Reed, a member of Company D, 120th Infantry, 30th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, tells his mother, Bethany Barbara Sales Reed, that "it sounds strange to hear of so many having influenza in the U. States when so few of us have it. So far only 2 in my company have had it." Reed's company was lucky, as influenza was just as rampant in France as it was in the United States.


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