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A glimpse at the peak month of the 1918 Spanish Influenza

Levering Hospital, which opened in 1903, was instrumental in the treatment of influenza patients in 1918. Photo: Steve Chou collection.


What did the Spanish Influenza look like in Marion County, Mo., during its peak month of October 1918? Newspapers provide some answers.

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 2, 1918: The Sousa band was touring the country in the interest of the Fourth Liberty Loan. It was scheduled to perform in both Hannibal and Palmyra during early October, and there was speculation on whether the events would be canceled, due to the Spanish Influenza outbreak.

Marion County Herald, Oct. 16, 1918: Local physicians say that the Spanish Influenza is actually “old time la grippe” with a different name. It is reported there are 800 cases of influenza in Hannibal.

Marion County Herald, Oct. 16, 1918: Letter home: Sgt. Bernard W. Freidank, Camp Funston, Kansas, wrote to his parents, and his letter was published in the Oct. 16, 1918 edition of the Marion County Herald: “The camp is still quarantined and nobody can come in or go out, so we are still here. The influenza is still here, altho it is now being checked. Several of the Marion county boys have taken it, but I have not had it so far and am feeling fine today.”

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 16, 1918: In Palmyra and Hannibal, the schools, churches, theatres, etc., have been closed, and a large percentage of the country schools have been discontinued. The malady resembles very much the now common la grippe or grip. Twenty-eight years ago this disease was brought to America from Russia and was then known as Russian influenza. It swept the country and has been in evidence more or less ever since then. The present epidemic is not considered particularly dangerous of itself, but the danger comes from pneumonia, which frequently follows.

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 16, 1918: Circuit clerk Scott received notice from Judge Ragland this week that neither the grand nor petit juries would be called during the coming term of court unless special notice was given. The decision was due to the prevalence of Spanish Influenza in the county.

(Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 23, 1918)

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 23, 1918: Thirty six more Marion County men were entrained here Monday at noon, the squad going to Camp Bowie, Ft. Worth, Texas. Early that morning the Hannibal Board of Health filed a protest with the local board, asking that the time of departure be postponed on account of the prevalence of Spanish influenza, to no avail.

The churches, schools and other places of public meeting are closed and will remain closed until further orders from the board of health.

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 23, 1918: Businesses in Hannibal, with the exception of picture shows, pool halls, ext., were running as usual.

Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 23, 1918: Early closing. In order to conserve fuel, used both for heating and for lighting and at the request of the fuel administration, and the Council of Defense, all of the grocery merchants in Palmyra will close their stores promptly at seven o’clock in the evening, every day except Saturday. Positively no goods of any kind will be sold from their stores on Sundays.


Deaths October 1918 Influenza/pneumonia, Marion County Mo. Information gathered from the Missouri Death Certificate database.

Ella Isac Adams, 19, Palmyra, single. Domestic servant.

Madeline Lena Adrin, 1521 Valley, Hannibal, 36.

Jessie Merret Ardrey, 22, Oakwood, U.S. Army, married.

Helen V. Baker, Hannibal, 4, daughter of William R. and Bealah Baker.

Walter W. Banta, 27, Hannibal, laborer shoe factory.

Laura L. Batton, Palmyra, 1 year.

Ora Claud Beal, 27, moulder, stove foundry, 809 Georgia, married.

James Burnett Blakey, tailor, 319 Center St., married, 31. (Dr. McMechen)

Havard Charles Bown, machinist CB&Q, 17, single, Cave Hollow, Ralls County. (Dr. Banks)

John W. Burch, 19, Stove foundry, 901 Park Ave.

Iva Johnson Burk, Walnut Street, 28, married.

Worth W. Bush, 33, surveyor, city of Hannibal.

Josephine Campagna, 28, married, married.

Martha Constable, 65, married, 1000 Ely.

James Richard Cummings, 20, Warren Township, single.

Esther Lena Deaver, 17, of 1528 Park Ave, single.

Susie Doolin, Willow Street, 27, housewife, married.

Charley Dudley, 33, single, laborer.

Neoma Ellijan, 26, single, domestic, 2216 Chestnut.

Winnie Hays Farmer, 46, married. (Dr. Chowning)

Fortunate Girone, 40, laborer at cement plant, married.

Talbot J. Green, 36, of 1324 Valley, married.

William Gunn, 1 year old, 1208 Ledford, son of John and Julia Phillips Gunn.

Desina Halliborton, 20, laborer, male, single, Oakwood.

Ella A. Hard, 65, married, 206 N. Sixth.

Bert Harris, 31, laborer, cement plant, 1216 North St.

Ada May Hartman, 15, Paris Road.

James E. Hatten, 423 S. Sixth, shoe worker, 34.

William J. Hatton, 79, farmer, married.

Bert Howard, 34, widowed, 420 Munger, laborer. (Dr. Queen)

Corena Howard, 17, 420 Munger. (Dr. Queen)

Theodore H. Howard, 14, 519 N. Eighth, Grant and Mary Johnson Howard.

Andrew Vaughn Hutchinson, drug merchant, 38, single, 1801 Hope.

Merle L. Krigbaum, 2, Ezra and Lee Peterson Krigbaum, 319 Mark Twain Ave.

Mary Lambertz, 48, widow. (Dr J.J. Farrell)

Elizabeth Lehenbauer, widow, 76, South River Township.

Herbert Wilson Lowe, 26, CB&Q brakeman, single.

William Maddox, 4, Joseph W. and Della Brown Maddox, 1819 Gordon.

Gustafe Muhuke, 37, dredge work.

Harold Martin, 8, James W. and Ada B. Butler Martin, school boy.

Mary Catherine Maxvill, colored, 8 months, Louis and Gertrude Sutton Maxville.

John Roy McIntyre, 40, traveling salesman, married, 40, died Levering.

Dulce L. McMurphy, female, married, 29, husband John.

Helen McMurphy, 38, married, 1500 Park Ave., husband Frank.

Catherine McPike, Hope Street, 27, domestic, married.

George Phillip Miller, 518 Olive, 43, prop. Drug store, married.

Russell C. Miller, 27, domestic, single, 2020 Spruce. (Dr. Mech)

Pearl B.E. Moore, 30, of 1011 Lalley, married.

Vera F. Moore, 24, married.

Herbert Mosier, 8, of 217 North St., son of John and Josephine Mosier, student.

Conway Murray, 62, widow, 422 Mark Twain Ave.

Silas Osborne, 50, laborer, Ilasco, married.

Charles Ellis Parrish, 35, married, 450 S. Seventh, grocery merchant.

Sylvesta Maud Patterson, 34, female, married.

Joseph Petulo, 37, cement plant worker.

Frank Rapasideio, 42, laborer at Cement Plant, married.

William Rathburn, 48, farm laborer, single.

Emmet Rennolds, 18, express driver, single.

Susie Riley, 26, 408 N. Main, married.

Dortha Venice Rogers, 6, Singleton Ave.

Mary Jane Rogers, 76, married.

Hallie Barker Roth, 26, married.

Emma E. Saunders, 32, school teacher, single, 2109 Gordon. (Dr. Banks)

Della Schnitzer, 37, widow. (Dr. J.J. Farrell)

Paza Scktcr, 28, female, married, Ilasco.

Virgil C. Shearman, 31, billing clerk for CB&Q, married, 31.

Ben F. Smith, 45, of 1241 Lyon St., laborer lime kiln, married.

Joseph Smith, 19, shoe worker, son of W.A. and Lizzie Hatten Smith.

Marvel L. Smith, 18, 703 S. Hayden, son of Horace and Alice Budd Smith.

Agnes Stewart, 60, single, housekeeper.

Harry Stoke, 24, laborer.

Edith Nave Stringer, 5, Palmyra, daughter of John Stringer.

Willie Hays Stringer, 15, son of J.E. and Lillie Jennings Stringer.

George H. Thompson, 41, laborer, 801 Hazel, married.

Angie M. Turner, 75, widowed, 404 S. Seventh.

Charles Paul VanEvercooren, 26, grocery keeper, 2205 ½ Market, son of August and Ella Lilly VanEvercooren.

William Solomon Vannice, 32, single, farmer, son of Milton and Eva Vannice.

Nathaniel L. Vannoy, 40, married, laborer Burlington Shops.

Retha O. Waddell, 10, daughter of James R. and Bell Jackson Waddell, 1002 Union.

Alfonzo B. Walterman, 23, blacksmith Burlington shops, married to Mable Walterman.

Nathan E. Watson, 25, Railroad foreman, single, father Madison Watson, Center.

Margaret L. Webster, 1, daughter of Elza and Margaret Schmidt Webster, 1805 Lincoln.

Florence M. Wehrli, 27, married to Fred M. Wehrli.

George E. Whitaker, 1, of 806 Walnut, son Elmer and Myrtle Gamble Whitaker.

James L. Williams, 26, foreman cement plant, 822 Webb, married, wife Bessie.

Ida May Wright, 30, married, wife of Charles G., 919 Lyon St.

J. Woodrow Yager, 4, 2209 Market, F.D. and Goldie Simpson Yager (Oct. 18).

Ray Duffield Yager, 6, 2209 Market, Frank D. and Goldie Simpson Yager (Oct. 21).

Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Her collective works can be found at

Dr. O.C. Queen practiced medicine in Hannibal for some 35 years, living and working out of his home, which was located at 1325 Lyon St., Hannibal, Mo. He died in November 1927.

Dr. Thomas Chowning (1852-1925) was a native of Monroe County, Mo., moving to Hannibal during the last decade of the 19th Century. Photo published in the May 15, 1966, edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph.

Dr. J.J. Farrell attended Hannibal public and parochial schools during his youth. He returned to his hometown to establish a medical practice. Photo: Mirror of Hannibal, published in 1905.

Dr. Harry Blaine McMechen (1885-1951) was an esteemed 1911 graduate of MeHarry Medical College. Photo posted on by TaniaAnnA

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