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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

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Prince George City Council Meeting Minutes

In 1918, the City of Prince George was governed by Mayor Harry G. Perry and a City Council that consisted of Aldermen George H. Adams, Theodore M. Watson, Barney Keegan, Robert T. Kerr, W.G.D. Harper, Thomas Porter, and John R. Campbell. The municipality of Prince George consisted of a population of about 1600 people at that time [Source: PG Citizen, 25 Feb. 1919]. The decisions this Mayor and Council made during the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic affected not only the citizens of Prince George proper, but also all of the surrounding communities that relied on Prince George for services.

These digitized Council Minutes were provided by the City of Prince George; for additional minutes outside of the 1918 influenza epidemic period, please contact the City of Prince George.

Municipal Health Preparedness before the 1918 Spanish Influenza in Prince George

REGULAR MEETING.... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 6th day of June, 1918 at the hour of 8:30 o'clock P. M. Present His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Watson, Keegan, Campbell, Porter and Harper. 
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A communication from Miss Maundrell with reference to the opening of temporary quarters for hospital purposes was laid on the table.
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RE HOSPITAL... A meeting of the Citizens of Prince George, as called by his Worship the Mayor, for the purpose of consider the advisability of organizing a Hospital Board for the government and control of the hospital as comtemplated [sic] by the Provincial Government and the municipality, was held in the City Hall on the 11th day of June, 1918 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock P. M....

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...His Worship Mayor Perry outlined the work already carried out in connection with the securing of a hospital grant from the Government and also explained the amount which would be provided by the Provincial Government for patients treated in the institution. He drew attention to the advisability of starting a campaign for subscriptions, and that those subscribing would become members of the "Hospital Society" with power to vote on the election of two members on the Board. According to the policy adopted in other cities, it is customary, where the Government grants have been made to hospitals that the Government appoint two members, the Municipal Council appoint two members, and the subscribers, as members of the hospital society, elect two members. These six, with the Mayor of the Municipality as ex officio member of the committee, shall constitute the board of commissioners for the supervision and governing of the hospital affairs.
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He called the attention of the meeting to the fact that the Government through the Hon. Dr. McLean had been very liberal in making a grant of $5.000.00 [equivalent of CAD$80,825 in 2020], and in the making of this grant had called the attention of His Worship to the great necessity of practising the strictest economy in all expenditures in connection with the construction of the hospital. He, as Mayor of the City wished to state that as far as the City was concerned the strictest economy would be
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practised in the carrying out of the construction of this building. He wished to see the building completed without any further debt on the head of the Board and without applying to the Provincial Government for the supplying of any further money for construction purposes. These matters would be in the hands of the Board as constituted and he trusted that the citizens would all take a lively interest in the affairs of the Board in an effort to make it a success.
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It was advisable to organize under "The Benevolent Societies Act" and he suggested that a committee be appointed to authorize the organization of a Hospital Society. He was prepared to answer any questions that might be asked and would like to hear the views of the citizens present.

Plans of the hospital buildings in other cities and the proposed plans as drafted by Henry Wilson at the request of His Worship were laid on the table for the inspection of the citizens.

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After some discussion, it was resolved on a motion of Alderman Barney, Keegan and F.D. Taylor that a committee consisting of His Worship the Mayor, Mr. P. E. Wilson, and Mr. W. L. Hornsby be authorized by this meeting of the citizens of Prince George to take all necessary steps for the organization of a society under the "Benevolent Societies Act." His Worship suggested that a Committee be struck for to solicit funds from the citizens of the City and district, and that this Committee meet again within a week and report as to their progress. The following Gentlemen were named with W. L. Hornsby as Chairman.
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Ward Three Ward Two Ward One
Mr. Feren P. E. Wilson W. L. Hornsby
Mr. Hutchinson Alderman Porter W. J. Allan
Alderman Harper Fred Taylor Dick Corless
John Masson    

 

REGULAR MEETING... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 20th day of June, 1918, at the hour of 8:00 o'clock. Present, His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Watson, Keegan, Harper, Campbell and Porter. 
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A communication was read from Miss. Maundrell, with reference to the temporary hospital quarters. Miss Maundrell stated that she would be able to accommodate four patients after July first, and suggested that the City pay the sum of $50.00 per month for such accommodation, and that the City could purchase back from her any hospital equipment that she might find it necessary to purchase in the meantime. It was resolved on a motion of Aldermen Keegan and Campbell that the Mayor be instructed to enter into an agreement with Miss Maundrell on a basis of $50.00 per month for temporary hospital accommodations.
REGULAR MEETING... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 18th day of July, 1918, at the hour of 8:00 o'clock P. M. Present Acting Mayor Watson in the Chair, Aldermen Campbell, Kerr, Porter and Harper. 
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The City Clerk read communications as forwarded Chas. E. Miller with reference to a hospital location. It was resolved on a motion of Aldermen Porter and Campbell that we wire His Worship Mayor Perry to take up the matter of securing the three lots held by the Provincial Government in block 230 for hospital purposes and to find out what proposition they would make to the City to turn these over. The Acting Mayor called the poll of the vote and it was carried on the following division. For, Porter, Campbell and Watson, Against Harper and Kerr.
HEALTH COMMITTEE... A meeting of the Health Committee was held in the City Hall on the 30th day of July, 1918. Present Alderman Keegan in the Chair, His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Campbell. 
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His Worship reported in connection with the trouble at the temporary Hospital when Nurse Maundrell objected to the receiving of a Hindu without a special attendant to take charge of the patient. Alderman Campbell asked if this was the only reason for not admitting the patient. It was resolved on a motion of His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Campbell that in view of the action of Nurse Maundrell that we recommend to the Council that the arrangements now in existence between Nurse Maundrell and the City be cancelled, and that thirty days notice be given to Miss Maundrell to that effect.

On a motion of His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Campbell the committee recommended to the Council that we pay the sum of $50.00 and free light and water for the establishment of a temporary hospital.

REGULAR MEETING...The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the first day of August, 1918 at the hour of 8 o'clock P. M. Present His Worship the Mayor in the Chair [Harry G. Perry], Aldermen Watson, Keegan, Campbell, Porter and Harper. The minute of the regular meeting of July 18th and the special meeting of July 25th was adopted on a motion of Aldermen Porter and Harper.

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The recommendation of the Health Committee was adopted on a motion of Aldermen Keegan and Porter, with the understanding that the hospital be conducted in such a manner as to meet with the approval of this Council and that the Hospital admit patients as requested by this Board....

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...The appointment of members from the Municipal Council to the Hospital Board was then taken up and it was resolved on a motion of Aldermen Porter and Watson that His Worship Mayor Perry be appointed as one member from this Board to represent the City on the Hospital Board. The following members were placed in nomination for second member to represent the Council on the Hospital Board, Aldermen Campbell, Keegan, Harper, Porter and Watson. City Solicitor Wilson was appointed scrutineer with the result that Alderman Harper was declared elected.

The following resolution was introduced by Alderman Watson and seconded by Alderman Porter. "THAT the City Clerk be instructed to wire the Minister of Lands at Victoria and ascertain if it is in the intention of the Government to exchange lots in Block 230 as requested by Mr. Miller".

REGULAR MEETING... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 15th day of August, 1918 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock p.m. Present His Worship Mayor Perry in the Chair, Aldermen Harper, Porter, Keegan and Watson.
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Alderman Keegan reported verbally in connection with the fencing of the cemetery and on a motion of Aldermen Harper and Porter the chairman of the Health Committee was given power to carry out the necessary work.
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A communication was read from the Great War Veterans in connection with the appointment of an architect in the construction of the City Hospital and the same was referred to the Hospital Board.

His Worship read several telegrams in connection with the Hospital Site and the replies thereto by the Hospital Board.

REGULAR MEETING... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 5th day of September, 1918 at the hour of 8:30 o'clock p.m. Present His Worship the Mayor the Chair, Aldermen Porter, Keegan and Watson.
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His Worship reported in connection with the contracts as submitted to the Hospital Board and stated that three tenders had been received, one for $9,898.00, one for $9,925.00 and another for $9,975.00. The Hospital accepted the tender of Messrs. McInnis and Parker for the sum of $9,898.00 [equivalent of CAD$160,000 in 2020], being the lowest tender.
REGULAR MEETING... The regular meeting of the City Council was held at the City Hall on the 3rd day of October, 1918 at the hour of 8:30 P.M. Present His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Watson, Harper and Porter. 
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On a motion of Aldermen Watson and Harper the arrangement at present existing between Miss Maundrell and the City in connection with the subsidy [$150] granted to the temporary hospital was extended to the 30th day of November.

City of Prince George's Response to the 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic

SPECIAL MEETING... A special meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 15th day of October, 1918 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock p. m. Present His Worship the Mayor [Harry G. Perry] in the Chair, Aldermen Harper, Watson, Porter, Keegan and Gaskill... 
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His Worship read a telegram as received by the Provincial Secretary with reference to the Spanish Influenza and his reply to same. On a motion of Alderman Porter and Watson the question of dealing with the epidemic of Spanish Influenza was left in the hands of His Worship the Mayor and the Board of Health to work in conjunction with the two medical advisors.
REGULAR MEETING...The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 17th day of October, 1918, at the hours of 8:30 p. m. Present His Worship the Mayor [Harry G. Perry] in the Chair, Aldermen Porter, Harper, Gaskill, Keegan and Watson...
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His Worship suggested that a Bylaw be passed to hypothecate the taxes of 1917 and 1918 by a Treasury Note Issue for $20.000.00. This matter was to be dealt with at the next meeting of the Council. He also referred to the danger of the spreading of the Spanish Influenza throughout this district stating that the Council must be prepared to take action in case it was necessary.

SPECIAL MEETING... A special meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 23rd day of October, 1918 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock P.M. Present His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Porter, Gaskill, Watson and Keegan.

By resolution of the Council the City Clerk was instructed to credit Alderman Harper with attendance at this meeting his absence being due to his attendance at the Power Plant operating same during the sickness of Engineer Freeman.

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His Worship stated to the Council that owing to the serious condition of affairs brought about by the spread throughout the District of Spanish Influenza he deemed it necessary to call the council together that they might take whatever steps they thought necessary to combat the epidemic. His Worship read communications from the Provincial Secretary and his replies to same in which he requested assistance from the Department to secure Doctors and Nurses for to assist in this District. It was resolved on a motion of Porter and Keegan that the Council appoint at once, a Medical Health Officer and that he be given power to carry out all necessary arrangements to combat the present epidemic. On a motion of Aldermen Porter and Keegan, Dr. E. J. Lyons was appointed Medical Health Officer for the City of Prince George to work in conjunction with the Health Department of the City. On a motion of Aldermen Watson and Gaskill the Mayor was instructed to endeavor to secure the services of Miss Sutherland, to be engaged as Matron of the Temporary Hospital to be opened by the City at once.

Moved by Alderman Watson seconded by Alderman Porter that the Council request the Municipal School Board for permission to use the Miller [Millar] Addition School for Hospital Purposes during the continuance of the epidemic.

SPECIAL MEETING... A special meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 9th day of November, 1918 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock p. m. Present, His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Harper, Porter, Adams, Gaskill and Keegan....

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It was resolved on a motion of Aldermen Keegan and Adams that the City Treasurer be instructed to issue a check for $2.500.00 payable to the Hospital Board on the presentation of the Architects certificate.

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Under the head of inquiries Alderman Harper inquired as to what steps would be taken to complete the pole line to the hospital. His Worship advised that these poles had already been raised and that provisions was being made for the stringing of wires.

SPECIAL MEETING... A special meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on the 15th day of November, 1918 at the hour of 8:15 o'clock p.m. Present His Worship the Mayor [Harry G. Perry] in the Chair, Aldermen Keegan, Gaskill, Adams, Porter and Harper...

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His Worship read telegrams and communications with reference to the selling of Treasury Notes for the establishment of a Sinking Fund and to cover the extraordinary expenditure created by the Influenza epidemic. It was moved by Alderman Keegan, seconded by Alderman Porter that His Worship be authorized to dispose of the debentures to the National Bond Corporation Ltd. of Vancouver, B. C. at the figure as stated in the previous minutes and that the City purchase Victory Bonds to the amount of $12,000.00 to be placed to the credit of the City of Prince George Sinking Fund account, said bonds to be fully registered.

HEALTH COMMITTEE... A meeting of the Health Committee was held in the City Hall on the 29th day of November 1918 at the hour of 12 O'clock noon. Present Alderman and Adams. Keegan in the Chair, His Worship the Mayor [Harry G. Perry] and Alderman Gaskill. The minute of the previous meeting was adopted on a motion of His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Adams.

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His Worship stated the reason for the call of meeting that now that the danger perios [sic], so far as the epidemic was concerned, had been passed, he thought it would be advisable for to take up the matter of re-opening the City and asking for the lifting of the order in Council governing the same. He read a communication from Dr. Lyons informing the Committee that in his opinion as Medical Health Officer, the necessity of keeping the town closed no longer existed. It was moved by His Worship the Mayor and seconded by Alderman Gaskill that the Health Committee request the Government to withdraw the order in Council in so far as it effects the City of Prince George, and that the same date from the first day of December, 1918. His Worship reported to the Committee that it was the intention to close the Miller [Millar] Addition Hospital on Sunday or Monday the first or second day of December.

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The case of one Fritz Anderson was reported to the Committee by his Worship. He called the attention of the Committee to the fact that in his opinion this man was a Government charge. That he had lately arrived from Smithers and had been taken to Miss Maundrell's Hospital for treatment for the Flu. At a later date he left the Hospital and during the convalescent period was residing in rooming houses in the City. At a later date when called on by the Doctor it was found that he had developed tubercloses [sic]. While the Government agent had taken the stand that this man was a City charge the City had not admitted their responsibility and had advised Mr. Herne to that effect. However rather than cause any unnecessary suffering His Worship had decided with the Government Agent that the man should be send [sic] on at once to the Hazelton Hospital for treatment and the responsibility of the City or Government could be discussed at a later date.

His Worship Submitted a resolution calling on the Provincial Government to amend the Provincial Act so as to deal more fairly with municipalities in connection with their responsibility of taking care of an providing hospital treatment for citizens of the district who might arrive within the City limits for a short space of time. This resolution was seconded by Alderman Gaskill and carried.

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Moved by His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Adams that the Medical Health Officer be requested to make an examination of our employee Ed. Grice and report to be made to the Health Committee.

The meeting then adjourned on a motion of His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Gaskill.

Prince George Municipal Impacts in the Aftermath of the 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic

REGULAR MEETING... A regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall, Prince George, B. C. on the 2nd day of January, 1919 at the hour of 8.00 o'clock. Present His Worship the Mayor in the Chair, Aldermen Harper, Porter, Adams, Gaskill and Keegan. 
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Under the Head of Inquiries Alderman Keegan asked His Worship [Mayor Hiram Carney] if any report had been made in connection with the examination of Ed. Grice, by Dr. Lyon. His Worship advised Alderman Keegan that the Dr. had advised him that it was necessary to take a blood test and this would delay the matter for a few days.

His Worship reported that nothing further had been done transpired[?] in connection with the taking of Mr. Anderson to the Hazelton hospital.

HEALTH COMMITTEE... A meeting of the Health Committee was held in the City Hall on Wednesday the 8th day of January, 1919, at the hour of 4:00 o'clock p.m. Present Alderman Keegan in the Chair, His Worship the Mayor [Carney] and Alderman Gaskill.
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The minute of the previous meeting was adopted on a motion of His Worship the Mayor and Alderman Gaskill. After hearing the claim of Mr. Trainer and Mr. Grice in connection with the settlement of their accounts as orderlies for the Miller Addition Emergency Hospital it was resolved on a motion of Alderman Gaskill and Keegan that the rate of pay be $4.50 per day.
SPECIAL MEETING... A special meeting of the City Council waa held in the City Hall on Tuesday the 28th day of January, 1919, at the hour of 8:00 o'clock p.m. Present His Worship Mayor Carney in the Chair, Aldermen Harper, Porter, Watson, Gaskill, Ogilvie and Wilson.
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That the Attorney General be requested to appoint a liquor vender and establish a Government dispensary in the Fort George District as there is only one drug store to serve this large territory.

A communication was read from the Hospital Board referring to the grant of $5,000.00 as promised by the City for the erection of the hospital, and stating that only $3,930.00 of this amount had been paid. On a motion of Aldermen Porter and Gaskill the Council decided to give the Hospital Board a cheque for the balance due and to clear the matter up as soon as possible.

REGULAR MEETING.... The regular meeting of the City Council was held in the City Hall on Thursday the 20th day of February, 1919 at the hour of 8:00 o'clock. Present, His Worship Mayor Carney in the Chair, Aldermen Porter, Gaskill, Harper, Ogilvie and Wilson. 
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A communication was read from the Dominion Department of Public Works regarding the population of Prince George and it was suggested to the Council, by His Worship the Mayor, that a census be taken in order that the City might be in a position to give the information requested. It was suggested by Alderman Porter that three men take the census in as short a time as possible. It was moved by Alderman Harper seconded by Alderman Gaskill that the census be promptly taken and that the matter be left in the hands of the Mayor for arrangement.

HEALTH COMMITTEE.... A meeting of the Health Committee was held in the City Hall on the 9th day of April, 1919, at the hour of 4:00 o'clock p. m. Present, Alderman Gaskill in the Chair, His Worship Mayor Carney and Alderman Wilson. 

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The Committee then took up the question of estimates for the year 1919 and recommended to the Council that the sum of $500.00 be included in the estimates for the year 1919 to cover the cost of this Department and that the Council deal with the question of the expenditure made in connection with the epidemic which was not provided for in the estimates of 1918.

Details of the estimates of the Health Department are as follows:

Surveying of plots in Cemetery $150.00
Printing of all necessary forms in connection with granting title etc. to cemetery plots $25.00
Annual clean up $75.00
Sundries, Scavengine [sic] etc. $250.00
Total $500.00
HEALTH COMMITTEE.... Aug 2nd Noon. Gaskill in Chair. Others present.
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Discussion re Cemetery was then taken up. It was then moved by Carney and sec [seconded] by Wilson that the Health Committee be empowered to receive tenders for the clearing of the Cemetery and survey of same as per estimates passed in June 1919 under the supervision of the Supt of W [Superintendent of Works?]

Moved Carney sec [seconded] Wilson meeting stand adjourned.

REGULAR MEETING... Regular Meeting of the City Council, held at the City Hall Prince George B.C. Thursday the 7th of August 1919 at the hour of 8 o'clock P.M. Present His Worship Mayor Carney in the Chair. Aldermen Harper, Porter, Gaskill, Watson, & Wilson. Alderman Ogilvie absent.

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...His Worship the Mayor [Hiram Carney] then called the attention of the Council to the matter of Wood Tenders and also those for clearing the Cemetery and asked the Council's [illegible] favour of attending to these matters at once, the Council concurring the Clerk opened the following tenders received for the clearing of the City Cemetery, R. Connors $600.00, J.C. Shipway $280.00, J. Caldwell $250.00, W. H. Cole $200.00, T.H. Brace $250.00
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And on a motion of Alderman Porter seconded by Alderman Gaskill the Tender of W. H. Cole for clearing the Cemetery at the cost of $200.00 was accepted, the work to be done under the supervision of J.C. McKenzie of the Public Works Dept. and the Clerk was instructed to notify Mr Cole that his offer had been accepted, and also to the Public Works Supt. [Superintendent]
REGULAR MEETING... Regular Meeting of the City Council. City Hall. September 4th, 1919. 6pm. Present His Worship Mayor Carney in the Chair. Aldermen Porter, Watson, Wilson, Harper, Gaskill, & Ogilvie.
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...The Clerk then read a communication from the Rev. S. Pollinger which requested that a certain defined area in the City Cemetery be assigned to the Angelican [sic: Anglican] Church.

This request on a motion of Alderman Watson seconded by Alderman Ogilvie was refered to the Health Committee and that no action be taken until a report had been received from that body.