April meeting of the LCG&HS to feature Bill Donath on the Spanish Influenza Epidemic in Logan County

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[April 13, 2019] 

The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society public meeting will be Monday evening, April 15, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the LCG&HS Center, 114 N. Chicago Street, Lincoln.

The Program will be presented by Bill Donath, Society Researcher. The topic of the program is the effect of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1920. He will touch on topics such as Motherís with new born children; The Doctors who served the county communities; Families with multiple Deaths; Deaths of Caregivers; WW I flu Deaths and others as time permits. 

The following is an excerpt from the Spring 2019 Society Quarterly: Roots & Braches. 

The Spanish Influenza Epidemic In Logan County, Illinois 

The Spanish Influenza Epidemic, of October, 1918-April, 1920, was deadly for the general population, accounting for several hundred deaths, in Logan County, during that period. But for particular portions of the population the death rate was much higher. The portion of the population in which the disease was most deadly was that of mothers with newly born babies. Of the twenty-one cases of mothers with newborn babies where the mother either had influenza-pneumonia during the birthing process or contracted influenza-pneumonia shortly after the birth, fourteen mothers died. The example I use here is that of Mrs. William K. Maxwell, mother of the famous author, William K. Maxwell, Jr., native of Lincoln. I remember watching an interview with William Maxwell, who was a young boy at the time of his motherís death, and how he told, in an emotional account, of the impact his motherís death had on him and how his life changed forever. Presented here is a series of articles, from the Lincoln Courier-Herald and the Lincoln Semi-Weekly Star, that present an account of the few days it took for Mrs. Maxwell to become ill, deliver her third child and succumb to the deadly disease.

"Mr. and Mrs. William Maxwell XE "Maxwell, William K. M/M" , who have been visiting in Bloomington, are reported to have contracted influenza and are both ill there." Dec. 28, 1918

"Word was received this morning regarding the condition of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Maxwell XE "Maxwell, William K. M/M"  who are ill with influenza in Bloomington. Mrs. Maxwell was reported as not being quite so well. Mr. Maxwell is greatly improved. Mrs. Hugh Hunter XE "Hunter, Hugh Mrs."  and Mrs. Wm. Bates XE "Bates, Will Mrs."  went to Bloomington today to spend the day with Mrs. Maxwell." Dec. 29, 1918 

Baby Born While Mother Ill With Pneumonia

"A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Maxwell XE "Maxwell, William K. M/M"  of Lincoln XE "Lincoln"  at the hospital in Bloomington yesterday morning at 5 o'clock. Both Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell are ill in the hospital, Mrs. Maxwell, XE "Maxwell, Mrs."  with double pneumonia, and Mr. Maxwell, with a severe case of influenza. Mr. Maxwell XE "Maxwell, Mr."  was reported as slightly better this morning. Mrs. Maxwell is in a serious condition, and her many friends here are anxious regarding her welfare." Jan. 1, 1919.

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ďA son was born to Mr. and Mrs. William Maxwell XE "Maxwell, William M/M"  on the January 1st at the hospital in Bloomington, and on Thursday morning Mrs. Maxwell and the baby were reported as doing fairly well. Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell have both been ill in Bloomington with influenza and grave concern is had for Mrs. Maxwell, This is their third child.Ē  

Mrs. W. K. Maxwell Dies in Bloomington

"The entire community was shocked this morning to learn of the death in Bloomington of Mrs. W. K. Maxwell XE "Maxwell, William K. Mrs."  at Brokaw hospital, where she has been seriously ill for the past week with influenza which developed into double pneumonia. An infant son was born on New Year's Day, since which time, Mrs. Maxwell XE "Maxwell"  gradually become worse. Death occurred this morning. Mr. Maxwell XE "Maxwell"  is still in the same hospital with influenza. The baby is doing nicely.

"Mrs. Maxwell XE "Maxwell, Mrs."  has always lived in Lincoln XE "Lincoln"  and was prominent socially and has hosts of friends who are deeply shocked at the news of her death.

"Eva Blossom Blinn XE "Blinn, Eva Blossom"  was born in Lincoln XE "Lincoln" , the oldest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. E. D. Blinn XE "Blinn, E. D. M/M" , Sept. 2, 1881. During her early life she was educated by a private tutor and later attended the seminary at Monticello, Godfrey, Ill.

"On the second of June, 1903, she was married to William K. Maxwell, XE "Maxwell, William K."  who has been a prominent insurance man in the city and Illinois for a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell were the parents of three children, Edward Creighton XE "Maxwell, Edward Creighton" , 15: William K., XE "Maxwell, William K."  Jr., 10; and the infant son born on New Year's day.

"Mrs. Maxwell was a member of the Christian church. She is survived by her husband, three children, one brother, E. D. Blinn XE "Blinn, E. D." , Jr., and a sister Mrs. Will Bates XE "Bates, Will Mrs." , all of Lincoln XE "Lincoln" : also by a foster sister, Mrs. William Young XE "Young, William Mrs."  of Bloomington.

"The remains will be brought to Lincoln XE "Lincoln"  tonight for burial. Funeral arrangements have not been made yet." Jan. 3, 1919.

[Diane Osborn and Bill Donath]

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