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March 30, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: The Spanish Flu

The deadly Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 was felt in Buckingham County as it was across the nation.

On January 5, 1919, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published that Dr. Garland “Lightfoot” Morris was the only physician practicing at Buckingham Court House.

“[H]e has been terribly overworked and had had the influenza himself.  In some homes there are not enough well ones to care for and nurse the sick.”

Did your parents or grandparents talk about the Spanish Flu?  If you have a story to share, please comment.

1919_Spanish Flu


Leave a Comment
  1. Linda Hope Doerger / Apr 1 2014 9:49 am

    Joanne, I remember my aunt telling me that her mother (my grandmother) was frequently called to care for the sick in the area. I just called my aunt, and she doesn’t specifically know about the Spanish Flu epidemic since she was born in 1927. But, she said that her mother was a teacher, and the people in the area often thought the teacher could do everything. They would come to the door for help with sick family members or to have letters read to them if they couldn’t read. She would call my grandfather in from the fields to dictate a reply if the matter concerned county or government matters that he was more familiar with than her.

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 1 2014 9:52 am

      Linda, thanks for these tidbits. Just this morning, I was reflecting on my Buckingham ancestor who was a schoolteacher in the 19th century. It was a highly respected position and, I’m sure you are correct, there was a notion that the school master knew everything!

  2. Nancy Davies Mickles / Mar 30 2014 2:45 pm

    My mother and father lived in Buckingham County all of their lives. They were children at the time of the Spanish Flu. My father had it, but my mother did not. She helped care for the others in the home that did have it. It was not unusual at that time for several generations to live in the home. It was that way with both of my parents. Whenever there was a mention of an expected flu epidemic, they would remember the years of the Spanish Flu. It made quite an impression on them even as children.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 30 2014 2:48 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. In many ways, this epidemic shaped individuals, families, and history. I wonder how many in Buckingham County died. It was easier to isolate people than in cities; however, even the doctor got sick, potentially spreading it from house to house.

  3. onestitchatatime / Mar 30 2014 8:58 am

    Not exactly on point but … My grandmother had Parkinson’s Disease and way back when a doctor told me the only people who got it were those who had had the Spanish Flu. Unfortunately, he was very wrong.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 30 2014 9:04 am

      Very interesting. My father had Parkinson’s Disease and did not have the Spanish Flu. My mother had the flu and did not develop Parkinson’s. In 1918-1919, she lived in a small town in southern Iowa. They were all sick except their grandmother — who nursed them all. She was of solid Virginia stock, though not Buckingham County.

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