Did you get the flu this year? All the flu-news brought to mind the flu epidemic of 1918, one hundred years later. This global pandemic killed 50 MILLION people, largely healthy young adults from age 20-50. You could feel fine in the morning and be dead by midnight. So I wasn’t surprised to find a family connection to this crisis as a result of my recent Gloucester research. Sadly, this is a particularly tragic story.
William Bentley is a first cousin of mine, William being the grandson of Captain John Bentley.
You will note he married Blanche Wagner. As children, Blanche and her sister Margaret survived a horrific fire that killed two of their siblings. Tragically, you also notice that Margaret also died in the flu epidemic just one day after William died, leaving behind four young children including a 2 month old baby.
Very tragic story all the way around. Flu related news was all over the papers in this time period, in Gloucester and around the world. Sometimes we don’t consider that our families participated in the history of our country or world, but this is one small thread in the tapestry of world history.