The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Historic look at flu epidemic in H and O


April 12, 2018

Chamber meeting

The Harrington Chamber of Commerce met at 6 p.m. on April 4 at The Post & Office with Tim Tipton, Paula Pike, Karen Robertson, Dave Michaelson, Bunny Haugan and Cherie MacClellan present. After the reading of the minutes and treasurer’s report, the Chamber took up unfinished business, predominantly Cruizin’ Harrington, the newsletter and mailer and working with the Huckleberry Press. Discussion was held to assemble the next Chamber mailer using volunteers on April 16.

Chamber purchased new banners for the Cruizin’ Harrington event and they are up. This coincides with the new PDA (Public Development Authority) sign going up on Hwy 28. Funds for the 4x8 sign on the highway came from donations by the Lions Club, Chamber, Conagsco and PDA.

The Chamber is working with Huckleberry Press in what they hope will be a mutually beneficial relationship, promoting Harrington and increasing local interest in advertising in the Huckleberry Press. No specifics regarding commitment was given.

Chamber members were able to preview the using WiFi at The Post & Office while the site is under reconstruction by Karen Robertson and Tim Tipton. The next meeting will be at Wednesday noon, May 2.

Historical item: Flu pandemic of 1918-1919

Donald E. Walter in Lincoln County, A Lasting Legacy wrote that in Odessa during the 1918 influenza epidemic to January of 1919 only five Odessaites had succumbed, although “at the peak of the epidemic, more than 300 Odessa residents were down with the deadly flu.” Across the county schools and public meeting places including churches and fraternal societies were closed and banned from meeting by order of the Lincoln County Commissioners. The death toll figures are difficult to tally with no boundaries set for “Odessaites” as in the case of Heinrich Jacob Arnst, born in December 1917 who died in Lind in October 1918 with burial in the Odessa Cemetery. “The first cases to develop in Odessa were those of the Misses Dorothy Neff, Rosa Lauer and Rose and Ralph Lowe, but it was not long in spreading to all sections of the town, nor has it respected age or sex, for there are many strong men down with the disease as well as women and children. The mill was obliged to shut down, with eight of the force sick and for a while manager Schimke and miller O’Leary were the only men on the job. The flu claimed its first victim in Odessa this morning when Christ Woitt passed away of pneumonia following an attack of the epidemic after an illness of less than three days. Mr. Woitt was employed at the mill and was taken sick with the rest of the force, but his condition was not considered serious until Wednesday after he went uptown in the rain. He was cautioned by the doctor to stay home, but his wife took sick and he again went out for the doctor for her. After that, pneumonia set in and last night his condition worsened, and he died at 2 a.m. He was about 30 years old and leaves a wife and two children.” (Odessa Record) Walter E. Finney, born in 1883, died at his ranch home near Ruff in Dec. 1918. Anna Friedrich, oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Frederick, died at their home six miles southwest of Odessa in November 1918 with burial in Odessa. Emma Greenwalt Heimbigner, born 1894, died in December 1918 at Odessa in Adams County; she had nursed her husband and two children before becoming ill. Roland Jasman, born 1884, died in Oct. 1918, the same week as Cleo Finstead, the 15 year old daughter of O.E. Finstead. Her burial was in the old Catholic Cemetery. John Jeske, 22 year old son of Andreas Jeske, died Oct. 21, 1918. Amelia Kling Marr died in Oct. 1918 in Spokane with her funeral in Odessa. Conrad Schafer, born in 1871, died in Odessa in Nov. 1918 after an 8-day battle. George Schnell, 18 year old son of John, died at their home south of Irby in Nov. 1918. Frank Snyder was born in 1883 and died in Jan. 1919 in Spokane after a brief visit to Odessa, his burial being in Odessa.

Harrington was hit much harder in loss of life and similarly, it is difficult to divide and count the local deaths from locals who died elsewhere. Suffice it to say, the toll was great. The hardest hit family in Harrington was that of the Kloster family with the deaths of Alfred Kloster, age 18; Lillian Cardwell Kloster, age 22; Raymond Kloster, age 20 and Bertha Kloster Miller, age 26 with infant. R.D. Anderson, one time publisher of the Sprague Times and a former Lincoln Co. Treasurer, died at the age of 46 in Oct. 1918. Sgt. Charles Scott died in Detroit, MI, in Oct. 1918 and his body had been shipped home where the Harrington Home Guard was in charge of firing three volleys over the casket which was draped in the folds of the American flag. Robert Cummings suffered for six days ending his career as proprietor of the Harrington Fuel and Transfer Company in Oct. 1918. Mrs. Hertha Brothers, wife of Thomas, was the mother of six children. She struggled for 11 days before succumbing at the age of 41. David Wesley Leeming, Harrington’s baker, was 29 years of age, and suffered with influenza and pneumonia for 18 days before losing the battle. Levi Lafayette Tibbs was reportedly the 15th death in the Harrington community to die from “ the ravages of this disease.” He was one of the faithful employees of Dunning-Erich Harvester Factory. James Tierney was 33 years of age and died in his home in Leadville, Colo. His remains were shipped to Harrington where his mother and other relatives lived. Due to the epidemic, it was not possible to hold a public funeral. The first week of November the school had been converted into a hospital and supplied with medical personnel, Dr. McGuire of Pullman and Mrs. Noteware, an administrator who brought in nurses. Mrs. W.S. Pemberton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M.F. Adams, was 27 years of age and the mother of two, when she died in December, 1918.


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