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The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Prince George: Learning Resource

A primary source analysis teaching resource about the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic in the Prince George area

Area Population in 1918

The 1918 population for the Prince George area can be estimated via a number of primary sources, such as electoral records, censuses, and telephone directories. Some of these sources are linked below and in the following tabs.

The population of the area was measured in the 1921 Census of Canada. The "Fort George" region had a population of 7,050, including the City of Prince George which had a population of 2,053 (p. 313). The boundaries of the Fort George Electoral District in 1918 roughly mirror those of the boundaries of today's Regional District of Fraser-Fort GeorgeThe number of registered voters in 1916 in the Fort George Electoral District was 2,485 (Electoral History of British Columbia, 1871-1986, p. 473). Importantly, in 1916, women, racial/ethnic groups (Chinese, Japanese, "Hindu" and "Indian"), people in specific professions, and people who could not read were not given the right to vote in British Columbia and would not be included in this count of registered voters.

Prince George municipality area

Town Population Estimate Source
Prince George 1600 PG Citizen - Feb. 25, 1919 
Fort George 300 BC Directory for 1918
South Fort George 200 BC Directory for 1918
Total 2,100

Upper Fraser Communities and McBride area

Miworth Unknown  
Salmon Valley Unknown  
Willow River 100 BC Directory for 1918
Giscome / Giscome Portage 18 homesteads BC Directory for 1918
Aleza Lake 6 homesteads BC Directory for 1918
Hutton / Hutton Mills 175 BC Directory for 1918
Penny 50-85 BC Directory for 1918
Loos 85 BC Directory for 1918
McBride 200 BC Directory for 1918
Lucerne / Lucerne Station 200 BC Directory for 1918
Total ~1000

Dr. Lazier's Record of Confinements

Page from Dr. Lazier's Record of ConfinementsDr. D. B. Lazier Record of Confinements from Sept. 1901

Dr. David Brownlee Lazier was a regional doctor in central BC. He was born in Ontario in 1870 and eventually moved to BC and built a small, three-bed hospital – known as Lazier’s Hospital – in South Fort George in the early 1910s and but later moved his practice to Burns Lake and then to Francois Lake around 1921. Dr. Lazier died in 1931.

This journal by Dr. Lazier consists of his obstetric notes on pregnancies, childbirths, infant deaths, and maternal deaths during his practice from 1901 through 1918 and 1922 through 1930.

This journal provides primary source evidence for 4 maternal and infant deaths that occurred during the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak in the Prince George area. Transcriptions of the journal's information relating those deaths is provided in the list of Epidemic Deaths in Prince George.

BC Government Death Registrations

BC Archives holds the province of British Columbia's historical vital records, including death registrations.

Deaths that were registered in British Columbia, including those from the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic, can be searched here:

BC Provincial Police Records

BC Archives holds the BC Provincial Police daily log reports.

The BC Provincial Police were on the forefront of the response to the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak in the Prince George area. The local BCPP inspector and constables recorded their daily activities during the epidemic in logs.

The original South Fort George daily log reports can only be accessed in-person at BC Archives (GR-0445.48.16-18). However, excerpted transcriptions from the records that are relevant to the 1918 influenza epidemic in the Prince George area are available in the spreadsheet linked below.

Records of BC Provincial Police Inspector T.W.S. Parsons

BC Archives holds the Thomas William Parsons fonds (PR-0403).

T.W.S. Parsons was the BC Provincial Police Inspector in Fort George during the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak.

His records include a scrapbook regarding T.W.S. Parsons' life and work in Fort George (MS-1134.7.2). Unfortunately this scrapbook is not yet digitized and must be viewed in person at BC Archives.

Huble Homestead Records

The Huble family was affected by the 1918 Spanish Influenza.

Albert J. Huble recorded bouts of flu sickness at the homestead in The Huble Diaries (pages 181, 190). These diaries have been transcribed and published: "The Huble diaries : a pioneer homesteader's daily record, 1909-1919" by Albert James Huble (1872-1947) and by edited by J. Kent Sedgwick. (UNBC Library FC3849.P7 H82 1992)

The Huble Homestead Historic Site has created a virtual exhibit about the 1918 Influenza. This exhibit includes summarized information from Huble oral histories: "Just after the end of the First World War, Annie Huble fell ill while she was alone at the Huble family’s Giscome Portage homestead with her six young children.  In the bitter cold of winter, Annie was too sick to fetch the firewood or milk the cows. The dire situation took a turn for the better when Pete Pierroy, a First Nations man who had performed work for the Huble family in the past, stopped by to check in on them. Finding them in a sorry state, he stayed with the family, ensuring that the house was heated and that they had enough to eat until Annie was on the mend....Huble family oral history records do not specify the date of Annie Huble’s illness, though we know it was between December 1918 and February 1919; during these months Al Huble spent a good deal of time away from the homestead and his wife’s sickness is not recorded in his daily diary. He does record the “children all sick with flu”  on March 9th and 10th, 1919."