100 Years Ago: October 1918
The Haddams – Flu Takes H.Johnson at Camp Upton, E. Secor Dies in France
Selected from the pages of The Evening Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
Boston, Oct. 1, 1918: Flu Still Spreading. The epidemic of Spanish influenza is spreading, according to reports today. Sixty-cities and towns outside Boston reported 6,140 new cases for the 24 hours ended today at noon. The Red Cross has made and distributed 15,450 gauze masks, for the use of doctors and nurses.
Wesleyan University, Oct. 1, 1918: Today 275 Wesleyan men were changed from civilian students to soldiers. Wesleyan is among 500 American colleges throughout this country transforming 250,000 college men from civilian into military life. All are considered now as potential officers in the making.
Higganum, Oct. 2, 1918: Charles B. Carlson is harvesting his corn and has employed some of the school children to help husk after school hours.
Warren Shailer has a German helmet sent to him by his uncle Harold Webb, who is in France. It is quite a curiosity and well worth seeing.
Moodus, Oct. 3, 1918: Do not let the fruit season go by without saving all the fruit pits you have and continue to save prune , olive and nutshells. These nutshells and pits are used in the manufacture of gasmasks and it is of vital importance to every loyal American to help provide this protection against gas attacks.
Portland, Oct. 5, 1918: Another span in the mighty “bridge of ships across the Atlantic” was laid this afternoon when the 3,500 ton wooden steamship, Battahatchee, slid down the greased way at the yard of the Gildersleeve Construction Company and into the waters of the Connecticut. The towboats Onrust and Comet took the ship down river, through two bridges, to the dock at I.E. Palmer’s, where the two 90 foot masts t will be stepped. The Battahachee is the biggest vessel ever built in the Connecticut.
Higganum, Oct. 7, 1918: The funeral service of Hilmar Johnson was held yesterday. The Home Guards attended as a body the military burial in the Higganum cemetery. [Johnson died of pneumonia at Camp Upton.]
Old Saybrook, Oct. 8, 1918: Edward W. Hazen, of Haddam was nominated by the delegates of the republican party of the 4th senatorial district in the convention at Old Saybrook, as candidate for state senator in the coming election. Mr. Hazen has declared himself in favor of the ratification of the prohibition amendment. Now it is expected that the democrats will lead forth with their strongest man to run in this overwhelmingly republican district, on the “wet” platform.
Middletown, Oct. 9, 1918: The prevailing epidemic that is sweeping the eastern section of the country is still rampant hereabouts and measures are being taken to stop the spread of the disease. Local doctors and nurses are being worked to the limit. Many of the manufacturing plants are crippled by the number of employees out. It is thought that the closing of public places has prevented the spread of the malady. The number of new cases is not in proportion to other places and it hoped within a short time to have the disease under control.
Hartford, Oct. 9, 1918: At the present time there are more than 30,000 cases of Spanish influenza in Connecticut with many hundreds of additional cases reported every day.
Middletown, Oct. 9, 1918: The train carrying captured German war material, which the American allied veterans brought home from the war, arrived today. The captured relics brought the war home to the beholders. Hundreds of school children from the city and area towns were among the intensely interested spectators. The most conspicuous trophy on one of the platform cars was a 130 millimeters field piece captured at Chateau-Thiery by the Yanks.
Middletown, Oct. 10, 1918: No liquor can be sold within half a mile radius of Wesleyan as a result of the enforcement of an order issued by the war department placing a half mile zone around Wesleyan, now a student training camp, within which no intoxicating liquors may be sold or dispensed. A 30 day grace period hits most of Main Street including the Chafee and Arrigoni hotels. Bars at South Farms and Portland will loom up like oases in deserts. The regulation also issued an order against houses of prostitution.
East Haddam, Oct. 11, 1918: The whooping cough has had quite a run in this village the past month but is on the decrease.
The crack of the 20 bore is frequently heard at present time, the open season having begun Monday.
Haddam, Oct. 15, 1918: The service at the Congregational church, Sunday, was one of much interest. Returning soldier, Corporal Street brought home to the audience the scenes over in the war zone and gave thrilling accounts of the bravery of the boys “over there,” as only one can who has been “over the top.” There will be no for the next two Sundays.
The library will be closed until further notice.
Higganum, Oct. 17, 1918: News has been received that Vernon Rich, one of our Higganum boys, who is across, has been wounded.
Middletown, Oct. 19, 1918: Holy Trinity house has been placed at the disposal of the health department and ready to receive patients suffering from pneumonia. This Red Cross hospital will treat patients when Middlesex hospital cannot accommodate more patients.
Haddam Neck, Oct. 24, 1918: News has been received of the death from wounds in France of Edward Secor.
East Haddam, Oct. 30, 1918: B.A. Lawton made a trip to Coecles Harbor with a party of friends on Sunday in his cruiser Red Pepper, to try scalloping, and met with good results.
Moodus, Oct. 31, 1918: Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Brooks have received a letter from their son, Charles, who is in France. The young man dictated a letter, telling his parents that he was in a hospital, but recovering.
New cases of threatened influenza are developing every day.
100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.