Mills County, Iowa

A day in the Malvern Leader, 1918

Malvern Leader
October 24, 1918

The Influenza Situation

The situation, as we go to press, regarding the Influenza is about as follows: Very few new cases have developed the past few days. As far as we could learn all the serious cases were coming along nicely yesterday and seemed to be convalescing. It looks very much as though the epidemic had run its course and that in a few days all would be able to be around again. The ban on public meetings is still in force but will probably be removed in a few days and things will then go on as usual. The school board, yesterday afternoon had not decided when to open school again, but it will probably be soon.

Rebecca A. Whalen

Just after we had gone to press last week, Wednesday afternoon, October 17, came the sad news of the passing of Miss Rebecca Whalen or Reba as she was known to most of us. Her death had been anticipated for a couple of days and we can truthfully say that seldom has a death more deeply affected a whole community than did the passing of this young lady. She was taken ill the preceding week with Influenza which soon developed pneumonia and in its severest form and from which she never seemed to rally.

Miss Whalen was one of Mills County’s best teachers and in that work as well as in her church and Sunday School work she left the imprint of her character upon all with whom he came in contact. It can be truly said that she lived more and to a better purpose, in her brief life than do most of us who fill our allotted span. Her influence will be felt through the generations. (Complete obituary in Malvern Leader, October 24, 1918, page 1)

Mrs. Charles H. Bateman

A very sad death was the passing of Mrs. Charles H. Bateman, Friday night, October 19, at about eleven o’clock after a brief illness of complications following Influenza. The entire Bateman family, father mother and three children were stricken and the mother was unable to stand the ravages of the disease complicated as it was with pneumonia and diabetes. Brief funeral services were held from the late home Monday afternoon at two o’clock conducted by Rev. M. A. Gable of the Methodist church. The remains were taken to Randolph near her old home for internment. Our deepest sympathy is extended the stricken husband and children. (Complete obituary in Malvern Leader, October 24, 1918, page 1)

Miss Mamie Ruth came in from Fremont, Nebraska, last week to remain while the schools of that city are closed in quarantine because of the influenza there.

Miss Catherine Mulholland, who is attending school at La Salle, Mass. Has been very ill with Spanish Influenza. She has about recovered now, but was ill about ten days with it.

Earle Sandiland was over from Hastings Thursday and called to subscribe for the Leader for his brother Clarence, while here. Clarence Saniland and his wife were both quite sick with the Influenza at that time.

Mrs. Baton Tennant and Miss Nelly Boyer came down from Des Moines last Thursday to assist in caring for their mother and sister, Mrs. H. E. Boyer and daughter Anita who were suffering from Influenza but are now rapidly recovering.

Mrs. Fred Stone of Peaceville was in Saturday ordering the Leader sent to her mother, Mrs. Dorrington in Los Angeles, Calif. Mrs. Stone said that their whole family had been down with the “Flu” the week before excepting herself but all were able to be around again.

J. E. Randerson is recovering nicely from his recent attack of pneumonia and we hope to see him out again soon.

C. H. Allen who had the Influenza last week developed a case of Pneumonia Saturday night from which he is reported to be recovering now.

Lyman Foster developed a pretty bad case of pneumonia following his attack of influenza last week but at latest report he is improving nicely and hope to be up soon.

Albert Bellwood was able to be out again and down town yesterday. He has been confines to his home for about three weeks with Influenza and pneumonia and is still pretty shaky.

Hon. C.W. Black and daughter Marian returned Saturday from their visit at Brownville and other points near Mr. Black’s boyhood home. Mr.. Black says they cut their visit short on account of so much sickness although they had expected to stop at different places en-route.

Because of the ban on public gatherings, T.J. McGarry will not be allowed to hold his Duroc sale at Glenwood on Saturday, Oct. 26, as previously announced. Watch for later announcements.

Mrs. June Fickel received a telegram last Friday morning announcing the serious illness of her husband who is in training at Kelley Field San Antonio. She left at once that morning for that place. Later in the day another telegram came saying that he was worse so his mother Mrs. J. B. Fickel left that night for there. He had been taken with Influenza which developed into pneumonia. A telegram from there yesterday stated that they thought he had passed the crisis but that he was still in a very critical condition. His many friends here hope for his complete recover.

The Supreme Sacrifice

Our community was shocked and saddened by the sad news which was received Tuesday, Oct. 8, from F. S. Butler, second lieutenant of the regiment, announcing the death of Roscoe Tucker, he having died of pneumonia following a brief attack of Spanish influenza. The body was shipped to the bereaved relatives on Friday, October 12, accompanied by an escort, Sergeant McNeal. Roscoe was the youngest child of James and Permilia Tucker, born in Holt County, June 23, 1889, died at Camp Dodge, Iowa, at the age of 29 years 3 months and 15 days. He was admitted into the limited military service August 30, 1918.

Military News

Draft Call Postponed

The draft call for 36 men from Mills County within 5 days of October 21 has been indefinitely postponed on account of the prevalence of Influenza.

Dr. Christy Receives Commission

Dr. Edgar Christy received notice Friday that he had been commissioned a Captain in the U. S. Medical corps, and was to report within fifteen days at Camp Pike for duty. Dr. Christy has just over a siege of the Spanish Flu. (Hastings)

From Byron Thomas
Minneapolis, Minn.
Oct. 19, 1918

To: W. P. Wortman

Dear Sir: This is the first opportunity I have had to write since we were moved. We have made quite a change since I wrote last being moved from Great Lakes, Illinois, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were sent up here to take a four month course in the University of Minnesota, but on account of the terrible spread of the influenza, have not been able to start yet.

We are getting some real experience in the city hospital here helping the nurses care for the great number coming in all at once. Sixty men of of the one-hundred that came up are working day and night and it’s a good thing that the nurses have this extra help. I have been nurse, embalmer, doctor and almost everything along that line the last two weeks. I layed out four men during one night, so you don’t lack for something to do.

We stay at the Radisson hotel which is one of the best in the city. I find it very interesting here and sure some fine country. As yet we haven’t had any liberty, but I think in about a week or so we will get out.

I’m sure sorry to hear that the flu has struck Malvern as I know that it is bad having been right in it now for 7 or 8 weeks. So far, I have succeeded in getting gout with just a light touch of it, but you never can tell when it will strike hard. Well here’s hoping everything comes out fine. Give my regards to everyone and I remain, Very respectfully, Byron J. Thomas, Hospital Corps, Hotel Radisson, Minneapolis, MN.

From Lt. Malcolm Campbell
163rd Depot Brigade Infirmary No. 1
Camp Dodge, Iowa
October 15, 1918

Dear Mr. Wortman,

I have intended many times to write you since I last wrote, but it seems as though time is the scarcest thing one has in the army. My intentions at least have been good, so that ought to help some. When I look back over my time spent in the army it really seems years, as so much of interest happens in such a short time. There is really something new to learn and see every day. But it takes Uncle Sam to do the biggest possible things in the shortest possible time. It certainly is wonderful to see what has been accomplished in year and a half. It is absolutely marvelous. If anyone had told us at the beginning of the war that the U. S. Could do the things she has done by this time, we would have all laughed at such assertions, and considered them impossibilities.

I presume Malvern has been affected by the “Flu” quite extensively. If she isn’t she sure is a rare town. It certainly is a terrible pandemic. I was not fortunate enough to escape as have been down with for nearly two weeks, but am gradually getting better. The worst part about it is that it leaves one so weak for a considerable period, after seemingly being over it. The thing the people who contract it must do, is to go to the bed stay there until they are entirely over it, as getting out too soon renders one more susceptible to complications such as pneumonia, and they succumb more readily to the latter, as their resistance is lowered so much by the Influenza poison. If everybody take the proper care of themselves while suffering with it, they will be doing not only a service to themselves, but to that country, in that the disease will be stamped out that much sooner, as they will not be exposing others to it.

The situation here is becoming much better, which has been brought about by our rigid quarantine regulations. The camp is still under quarantine and also the city of De Moines is under semi-quartine regulations. I don’t know just when I’ll be making the trip across the pond, but I hope it will be soon. It might be tomorrow or not for months, as one never knows one day ahead, what his disposition will be. Expect to ask for a “Leave in a few weeks as soon as the “Flu” has subsided here and will spend most of my time in Malvern, I presume. Have only had one day off in the six months I have been here, so feel a little rest will help me out wonderfully. Give my regards to everybody in Malvern and let me hear from you some day.

Very Sincerely
Malcom S. Campbell
1st Lieut. M.C.U.S.A.

Mills County Communities


By proclamation the mayor has ordered the schools closed and also prohibits public gatherings, including churches and lodges. This was by the State Board of Health. Many cases are reported in many families, but none have been very serious. Word was received Thursday that June Fickel was quite sick with pneumonia at Kelly’s Field, San Antonio, Texas. His wife left Friday morning and his mother, Mrs. J. B. Fickel, left the same night to be with him.

Mrs. Flossie Himiller of Malvern is over this week taking care of her brother and family, Ray Christy. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Christy and daughter Mina have the Influenza.

Miss Audrey Caven of Harlington, Nebr., came Friday evening to take care of her brother Ralph who has had the Spanish Flu. Our mail carrier for Route 2 is quite sick with the Flu.

Mrs. Galen Purcell and daughter Maxine are both sick with the Spanish Flue. Gordon has been sick with the Flu also, but is getting better.


Word has been received from Camp Dodge that Willis Vanderpool is improving from his attack of pneumonia.


Mrs. Charles Croft who has been very sick with pneumonia is reported some better at this writing.

Joe Saner is quite sick with the Spanish Flu. Mrs. Saner and children are recovering nicely, but Joe is not so well at this writing.

Joe Laughlin and family who have been having the Flu the past week are getting along nicely. Mrs. Amil Webb who has been very sick in the City hospital at Shenandoah the past few weeks returned home Thursday. Mr. Webb has been suffering with Pneumonia. Both are reported getting along as well as could be expected at this writing.


Maxine Elliott Harney was born in Macedonis, August 16, 1902 and died at the Frank Shook home near Carson, October 16, 1918, age 16 years and 2 months. Pneumonia was the cause of her death which closely followed an attack of the Influenza. Her illness lasted only nine days, during which time everything possible was done for her comfort and relief, but to no avail, the death angel claimed her at 8:20. Funeral services were held at the home there on Friday morning. (full obituary in ML, October 24, 1918, page 6.

Mrs. Jno. Fritcher has been ill at her home here the past several days with an attack of the flu. Her many friends are pleased to know she is well on the road to recovery at this writing. Mrs. Bent Fickle left here last Saturday for Texas where her son June is seriously ill at the camp. June Fickle has an attack of pneumonia.

Pacific Junction

Everything Closed – The city council met Thursday evening and passed an ordinance, according to the State Board of Health, that all public gatherings should be closed. There are only a few cases of the flu here and are unusually light.

The little six months old baby of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Leet passed away at their home Sunday afternoon, after an illness of a few days with pneumonia. They have the sympathy of their friends in their sorrow, this being their only child.

Silver City

Misses Maude Flanagan and Leona Bays came home from Clarinda the fore part of the week for a few days’ vacation, the schools having been closed as a preventative measure controlling the “flu”. There being only a few cases there it was thought best to take this step.


Miss Jennie Laird who is teaching in Malvern, is home this week suffering from a light attack of “Flu”.

Misses Agnes Myers, Lucile Wolfe and Hazel Kesterson, who were attending business college in Council Bluffs are home for a short time as the various schools in council Bluffs are closed until the epidemic of flu is checked.

Miss Romie Lundeen is spending the week at her home near Tabor, as the Council Bluffs schools are closed on account of the flu. Misses Anna Ivory and Ina Weir who teach in Council Bluffs are also spending the week here.


Mr. and Mrs. M. O. Inman went to Fort Snelling last Saturday in response to a telegram stating the serious illness of their son, Clarence with pneumonia, following an attack of Spanish influenza. Latest reports from the patient are that he is now getting along nicely.

Articles transcribed by Lois Shaul

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