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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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Timeline of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic for the Prince George Area

  • August 4, 1914
    • Canada enters World War I when the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.[1]
  • April 1917
    • U.S. enters World War I with 378,000 in the armed services.[2]
  • March 1918
    • Outbreaks of flu-like illness are first detected in the United States.[2]
    • More than 100 soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas become ill with flu. Within a week the number of flu cases quintuples.[2]
    • Sporadic flu activity spreads unevenly through the United States, Europe, and possibly Asia over the next six months.[2]
  • April 1918
    • First mention of influenza appears in an April 5 weekly public health report. The report informs officials of 18 severe cases and three deaths in Haskell, Kansas.[2]
  • September 1918
    • The second wave of flu emerges at Camp Devens, a United States Army training camp just outside of Boston, and at a naval facility in Boston.[2]
    • Between September and November, a second wave of flu peaks in the United States. This second wave is highly fatal, and responsible for most of the deaths attributed to the pandemic.[2]
    • By the end of September, more than 14,000 flu cases are reported at Camp Devens—equaling about one-quarter of the total camp, resulting in 757 deaths.[2]
  • September 15-27, 1918
    • There is an unusually high number of deaths in the Prince George area (7), many of which are attributed to infectious disease, but none diagnosed as influenza.[3]
  • September 27, 1918
    • First mention of Spanish influenza in the Prince George Citizen newspaper.[4]
  • October 10, 1918
    • BC Provincial Police "BCPP" Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) sent a telegram to the BC Provincial Secretary requesting instructions in the event of a Spanish Influenza outbreak. Parsons also placed a "typhoid" patient named Anderson in Maudrell Hospital in Prince George. Anderson had been staying at the Scandia Hotel, which Parsons arranged to be fumigated.[5]
  • October 11, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen newspaper mentions possible "Patient Zero" for the Prince George area: "The somewhat alarming news of the spread of Spanish influenza in parts of eastern Canada has had a somewhat disquieting effect locally, though no cases are reported in the district. A young man who recently arrived from Edmonton, was at one time suspected of having contracted the malady, but local doctors have pronounced the case as typhoid. The man has been isolated outside the city as an extra precaution, however, and the house in which he lodged ordered fumigated. Mayor Perry this week received authority from the provincial authorities to close all schools, churches, theatres, etc., in the event of any cases of Spanish influenza developing here."[4]
  • October 15, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports there is no Spanish flu in Prince George: "Notwithstanding alarmist reports, no cases of Spanish influenza have yet been reported by the medical men of Prince George. This assurance was given the Citizen at noon today. Early this morning alarming reports gained circulation, some of these to the effect that over half a dozen cases of Spanish "flu" had developed in the city. These reports are without foundation."[4]
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) interviewed the Mayor and doctors of Prince George regarding precautionary measures for Spanish influenza. They suspected 7 cases present in Prince George; Parsons visited all the suspected cases with Dr. Lazier. Parsons received a report from BCPP Constable Charles Tame of an outbreak of Spanish influenza at Lucerne, BC. Parsons sent a telegram to BCPP detachments throughout the Fort George division regarding action to be taken. He also wired Constable Mead at Hutton, BC regarding the influenza cases there. Parsons obtained an "atomiser and solution" for use in the jail. Parsons also attempted to obtain premises for a temporary provincial hospital.[5]
    • The Prince George City Council held a special meeting regarding the Spanish Influenza epidemic.[6]
  • October 16, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) examined suspected influenza patients and visited South and Central Fort George with Dr. Lazier. Two BCPP Constables Mead (from Hutton) and Johnson (from South Fort George), reported sick with influenza. Parsons obtained quarters for five influenza patients and arranged for the province to take over Connaught Hotel as a temporary emergency hospital.[5]
    • BCPP Constable James Mead (South Fort George) went to Aleza Lake and found 17 Spanish influenza cases at Carter and Staples logging camp. By the evening, Mead had fallen ill with influenza himself.[5]
  • October 17, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) reported that 4 "Indians suffering Spanish Influenza" had arrived from Aleza Lake. Parsons took several patients to the Connaught Hospital and arranged with Dominion Constable Manson regarding "Indian cases". Parsons accompanied Prince George Mayor Perry in his search for volunteer nurses, then was on hospital duty all evening.[5]
    • BCPP Constable W.R. Henley (Vanderhoof) reported Spanish influenza outbreak in Vanderhoof.[5]
    • In the regular meeting of the Prince George City Council meeting, Mayor Harry Perry "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."[6]
  • October 18, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports there are now 22 cases of influenza in the city: "Up to last evening twenty-two cases of Spanish influenza had been reported to the city health authorities. Several of these cases have come from outside points and are all receiving medical attention. The Connaught hotel has been turned into a temporary hospital and about fifteen patients are domiciled there... As a precautionary measure against the spread of Spanish influenza which has spread so rapidly throughout the United States and Canada during the past few weeks, the Prince George health authorities on Wednesday ordered the closing of the schools, theatres, poolrooms and public meeting places until such time as the danger is considered past....From the lumber camps and mills east of the city comes word of a number of supposed Spanish influenza cases."[4]
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) placed an advertisement in the Prince George Citizen regarding the cessation of public meetings. Parsons also arranged with A. Johnson for a supply of blankets, assisted Dr. Lazier, and seized liquor from the Canadian Express Company for the drug store.[5]
  • October 19, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) assisted the Connaught Hospital by receiving over 52 blankets from A. Johnson, working in the hospital, collecting sick patients, and obtaining volunteer assistance.[5]
    • Deaths of Julie Freddy and Anne Ross
  • October 20, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) worked all day at the Connaught Hospital and made inquiries for extra accommodation for sick persons arriving by train. Parsons also accompanied Dr. Lazier when required.[5]
    • Deaths of Dora Bird and Iselene Qua
  • October 21, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) advised the Prince George government agent that he had rented the Union Rooms for $40 a month as a temporary provincial hospital, then proceeded to South Fort George to obtain extra beds, fittings, and an orderly for the new accommodation. Parsons also accompanied Dr. Lazier when required and worked the remainder of the day in the Connaught Hospital.[5]
  • October 22, 1918
    • Prince George has over a 100 cases of influenza, no deaths: "The great problem of caring for the scores of influenza patients in the city is now taxing the resourcefulness of the city and provincial authorities, and the need is being met with admirable success under prevailing conditions...The influx of patients from the lumber camps to the east has added to the problem of accommodation, but this has been met by the opening of additional temporary hospital premises. Yesterday Deputy Inspector Parsons, of the provincial police, secured the Union rooming house on Third avenue east and within a few hours the place had been transformed into a neat hospital with accommodation for thirty patients. This place is being opened today. At present there are over a hundred cases of influenza being treated in the city. Thirty-eight patients are being treated at the Connaught hotel, two small hospitals have their accommodation filled and fully forty more are being attended in their homes...Notwithstanding the numerous influenza cases reported there has yet to occur one death from the malady here. There are a number of serious cases, however...[4]
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) reported in his duty log that he accompanied Dr. Lazier and completed the furnishing of the Union Rooms Hospital, "opened set of books for this institution", and took patients there. Parsons recorded the that the first patient died at Connaught Hospital. Parsons obtained help for both the Union Rooms and ConnaughtHospital and worked himself in the Connaught. Parsons also proceeded to Scandia Hotel for a pneumonia patient and placed him in the Union Rooms Hospital.[5]
    • BCPP Constable John Bourne (South Fort George) received a 2:45 pm telephone message from Aleza Lake requesting drugs and assistance with the sick. There were about 20 cases of influenza in Aleza Lake.[5]
    • Death of George Churchman
  • October 23, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) was on Spanish Influenza duty throughout the day in Prince George, working at both hospitals and examining, certifying, and entering patients. Parsons requested that Mayor Perry refrain from interfering with the Provincial Hospital Administration.[5]
    • BCPP Constable John Bourne (South Fort George) arrived at Aleza Lake at 4:00 am to assist. He found the Spanish infleunza to be "very bad", with 27 cases. Bourne returned to Prince George with a list of the sick and their temperatures and reported to Dr. Lazier.[5]
    • A special meeting of the Prince George City Council was held "owing to the serious condition of affairs brought about by the spread throughout the District of Spanish Influenza". Mayor Perry "deemed it necessary to call the council together that they might take whatever steps they thought necessary to combat the epidemic." They appointed Dr. Lyons as Medical Health Officer and he was "given power to carry out all necessary arrangements to combat the present epidemic". The Council also requested "the Municipal School Board for permission to use the Miller [Millar] Addition School for Hospital Purposes during the continuance of the epidemic."[6]
    • Deaths of John Lockyer, Beatrice Annie Hunter, and Birdie Mocbus
  • October 24, 1918
  • October 25, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports 7 deaths and the following: "The influenza epidemic in this city and district shows little sign of abatement though medical men believe that the peak of the outbreak is past and that a diminution in the number of cases will follow. This, however, does not mean that the danger is past or that the local situation is less serious. On the contrary, the anxious stage of the illness--convalescence--is still before the majority of those affected. Yesterday three or four patients, inmates of the city hospital, were discharged, and with the exception of one or two cases all those now receiving treatment are rapidly recovering. At a special meeting of the city council held Wednesday night it was decided to open the school on the Millar Section as a temporary hospital..."[4]
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) visited "local Chinese" residents and attended to a coroner's enquiry regarding a death at Giscome. He proceeded to Fort George and "looked over drugs at old hospital".[5]
    • BCPP Constable John Bourne (South Fort George) "brought Indian and his wife to Prince George from Buck Horn Road" then left at 10:30 pm for Hutton regarding Spanish Influenza.[5]
    • Death of She Jong Ung
  • October 26, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) was on Spanish Influenza duty throughout the day in Prince George. He obtained supplies and help, worked in both hospitals, and proceeded to Central Fort George to obtain drugs.[5]
    • BCPP Constable John Bourne (South Fort George) found about 42 sick with Spanish Influenza at Hutton. He brought 6 of the worst cases to Prince George for hospital treatment.[5]
    • Death of Catherine Bird
  • October 27, 1918
  • October 28, 1918
  • October 29, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports a local count of 21 deaths from influenza and 62 cases in the hospital: "While exact figures as to the number of influenza cases in Prince George are unobtainable today, it is the opinion of the city and provincial health authorities that the epidemic is on the wane, and while a number of serious cases are under treatment, a far greater number are in the convalescent stage and a considerable number have fully recovered. Up to last evening a total of twenty-one dead from influenza and its attendant ills have been taken in charge by the local undertaker. The large majority of these had come from outside points. Deaths in Prince George and its immediate environs do not a present exceed six...In the three temporary hospitals in Prince George there are sixty-two cases of influenza. About ten per cent of these are seriously ill."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) attended five coroner's enquiries, visited both hospitals, and obtained extra help. He also sent a letter to "all employers of labor in [the] Division for their assistance with sick men".[5]

    • BCPP Constable Carl Johnson (South Fort George) "left South Fort George with medicines for Aleza Lake; investigated conditions of Spanish Flu along GTP [Grand Trunk Pacific Railway]; left medicines at [the] Davidson's [in] Aleza Lake".[5]

    • Deaths of John V. McCabeEva Coil NiedermaierHattie May GussMarif Nazarek, and Mary Jane Joseph.

  • October 30, 1918
  • October 31, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) obtained extra help for the two Provincial hospitals in Prince George; the officer in charge of the Union Rooms hospital went home sick. Parsons himself received medical attention. [5]

    • BCPP Constable W.R. Henley (Vanderhoof) sick in bed with influenza and notes that the count of deaths from Spanish influenza in the Vanderhoof community is 2. [5]

    • Deaths of Thomas H.L. Fisher, Garnett McManusHilda Theresa FerenAdeline Fradie Qua, and Joseph Qua.

  • November 1, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports a local count of 30 deaths from influenza and 72 cases in the hospital: "Opinion is about evenly divided as to whether the influenza epidemic in Prince George is abating or on the increase. Hospital officials are inclined to the opinion that the outbreak remains about stationary in point of numbers affected, while the death rate for the past two days has been slightly increased. There are a number of serious cases still in hospital and private homes, while a great number have recovered and are now attending to their daily duties. There are now 72 cases of influenza receiving treatment in the three temporary hospitals. Of these perhaps six or seven are in somewhat serious condition. Of the temporary hospitals the Connaught hotel has 25 patients, the Union Rooms 23, and the Millar School 24. There are perhaps 25 additional cases being treated in private homes. Up to 9 a.m. today, the total number of deaths since the outbreak of the disease is 30. The majority of these were residents of outside points, particularly the lumber camps east of the city. In practically every fatal case from the surrounding distract the patient was in an advanced stage of influenza before being sent here."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) received an urgent call for medical assistance from Willow River. He sent Constable Johnson. Johnson investigated the conditions of Spanish influenza at Willow River, provided medicine to the Nazareks in Willow River, then proceeded to Giscome. [5]

    • Deaths of Antoine Qua, Harold C. Feren, Chief Louie, Alphorsine John, Mary F. Seymour, and Katherine Gazimel

  • November 2, 1918
  • November 3, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) proceeded to Prince George, worked in the emergency hospitals, and arranged for the reception of sick men from Scandia Hotel to the hospital. He also met with military police regarding sick defaulters. [5]

    • Death of Johnnie Pierre Roy

  • November 4, 1918
  • November 5, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports: "The influenza epidemic may be said to have passed its worst stage in Prince George and vicinity, according to reports from medical men and hospital authorities. While a large number of patients are still in hospital, practically all are convalescent, and most of them, if present progress continues, will be discharged this week. A few new cases continue to arrive from the lumber camps, but there are of a comparatively milder type than the earlier arrivals. From all parts of the district the report comes that the epidemic is moderating and the affected ones rapidly recovering. The death rate has been particularly heavy among the Indians, several deaths in the local tribe having occurred during the past few days."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) worked on hospital accounts and intestate estates and later visited both hospitals. He discharged patients from the Union Rooms hospital and rendered accounts, as well as making arrangements for milk supplies. [5]

    • Deaths of George Lloyd Jorgenson, Baby Girl Jorgenson, Aroud Nordquist, George Boutiz, Daniel Nelson, and Annie Nizoygit

  • November 6, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) made up hospital vouchers, went to the emergency hospitals and entered 3 patients. He also sent a child back to Willow River and arranged for its upkeep during its parent's illness. [5]

    • Deaths of Phillipe Boutez and Frank Dyer Jorgenson

  • November 7, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) visited the emergency hospitals and arranged for the admission of "indigent women from Fort George". Constable Johnson was sent to investigate the conditions of Spanish influenza along the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway route; he went to Hutton, Dewey, and Penny then returned to South Fort George. [5]

  • November 8, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports: "Up to the present a total of forty-six deaths from the influenza epidemic have been recorded in this immediate district. The number of cases reaches will into the hundreds and no exact figures can be obtained. The death rate, therefore, is comparatively small and considering that the majority of fatal cases were brought in from outlying districts in an advanced stage of the disease and before receiving any treatment whatever, the percentage of deaths is very low, and speaks well for the treatment accorded influenza sufferers in this city. There are today about sixty cases in the temporary hospitals with probably an equal number affected in private homes. The great percentage of these are now in the convalescent stage. Outlying sections report a continued decrease in the numbers affected, and a gradual recovery from the illness."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) visited both hospitals, worked on their accounts, and arranged for the burials of deceased persons. [5]

    • Deaths of Henry Charles Parsons and George G. Thompson

  • November 11, 1918
    • BCPP Constable Charles Tame (Lucerne) posted up notices at the post office and the railway station regarding the quarantine of Lucerne. He met trains and patrolled the town and yards. [5]

  • November 12, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports that the epidemic is on the decline: "The "flu" epidemic has rapidly abated during the past week and very few new cases are reported. There are still a considerable number of patients in hospital and practically all are reported convalescent. It is believed by city authorities that the end of this week will see the temporary hospital in the Millar School clear of patients. The temporary hospital in the Union Rooms which has been conducted by the provincial government authorities, was closed today and the convalescent patients removed to the Connaught Hotel, also in charge of the government. Deputy Inspector Parsons, of the provincial police, and Dr. Lazier, medical health officer, who since the outbreak of the epidemic have labored night and day in ministering to those from outside points, are today finding their work a little less strenuous, though their labors are by no means over."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) proceeded to Prince George and visited both emergency hospitals. He closed the Union Rooms emergency hospital and transferred patients. He arranged with the Public Health Officer to reopen churches and schools. [5]

  • November 13, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reported that "Father Coccola [in Vanderhoof] from his medical mission among the Indians at Stony Creek reserve, states that 42 deaths had occurred in the native village, and all the Indians were afflicted with the disease. He also stated that he had heard from his associate priests in other towns, and was told 45 deaths had occurred in Anyox, 67 in Prince Rupert, and 46 in Prince George."[4]

    • Deaths of Susie Unrau and John Heildman

  • November 14, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) received his first injection of "anti-influenza serum" at the Connaught Hospital. He returned to the barracks at 7 pm, sick and unfit for further duty. [5]

    • Death of Otto Gross

  • November 15, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports that the BC Provincial Police have lifted the ban: "The order forbidding the holding of assemblages and all public gatherings in the district has been rescinded by the provincial police. In this immediate vicinity the cancellation of the order will apply to Fort George and South Fort George, but is also applicable to every settlement in the district outside of Prince George. Schools and churches are now permitted to reassemble and other public gatherings are not prohibited."[4]

    • The Prince George Citizen reports "There are forty-two influenza patients now receiving treatment in the hospitals here. Nearly all are in a convalescent stage."[4]

    • Death of Jennie Louisa Westman

  • November 16, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) received his second injection of "anti-influenza serum". Constable W.R. Henley (Vanderhoof) enforced sanitary regulations at dwellings occupied by Mennonites, "they being overcrowded and much sickness in them". [5]
  • November 19, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports "J.D. Charleson, of Vanderhoof, is in the city today. He states that the influenza plague has proved particularly deadly among the Indians of that section, over fifty of the Stony Creek tribe and more than forty of the Stuart Lake Indians having fallen victims. As a result of so many deaths among the natives fur dealers believe this winter's catch in the local section will be one of the smallest on record."[4]

    • The Prince George Citizen reports "All patients at the city hospital are recovering nicely from influenza, and it is proposed to close the emergency at the end of this week if present favorable conditions continue."[4]

    • Death of Agnes Ruth Keller

  • November 22, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports that the emergency hospital is to be closed down: "The rapid decline of the influenza epidemic was announced by Mayor Perry at last night's meeting of the city council, his worship stating that in all probability the emergency hospital being maintained by the city would be closed within the next few days. It was stated that Dr. Lyon, the medical health officer, had permitted the opening of churches and also the poolrooms, but he believed a general lifting of the ban was not yet advisable."[4]

  • November 24, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) proceeded to Prince George, visited hospitals, and interviewed Public Health Officer Dr. Lazier. [5]
  • November 25, 1918
  • November 29, 1918
    • A meeting of the City of Prince George Health Committee was held on this date: "His Worship [Mayor Perry] 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."[6]

  • November 30, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) remarks that "considerable abatement in Spanish Influenza is noted generally". [5]

  • December 2, 1918
    • Vanderhoof, Dec. 2 - There have been no less than seventy deaths among the Indians of the Stuart Lake district, and it is conservatively estimated there will be another twenty-five. The chief and his wife died last week. Whole families have been wiped out. Many who were out trapping have been picked up in the bush dead. Search parties are now out looking for missing natives. The epidemic is still raging and apparently has no mercy for the poor Indian.[4]

    • The Prince George Citizen reports that the public school reopened with a good attendance.[4]

    • The Prince George Citizen reports that "The city emergency hospital which for several weeks has been conducted in the high school building was closed...the two or three remaining influenza patients having been removed to their homes. This week the building is receiving a thorough fumigation. It is expected the high school classes will be resumed next week."[4]

  • December 7, 1918
  • December 10, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports "There are still a few cases of influenza under treatment in the provincial emergency hospital at the Connaught Hotel. Most of the patients are convalescent, though an occasional new case is brought in from the surrounding district."[4]

  • December 13, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports "Several new cases of influenza are reported in the city this week. The disease, however, appears to be of a much milder type than that of a month ago. There are still about a dozen cases under treatment at the provincial emergency hospital."[4]

    • BCPP Constable John Bourne (South Fort George) saw Dr. Lazier about Spanish influenza breaking out at Chief Lake and was instructed to send a constable our to inspect the camp. [5]
  • December 17, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports "Deputy Inspector Parsons, of the provincial police, has returned from a visit to police posts westward as far as Hazelton. He states that the mortality among the Indians in certain sections, due to influenza, has been heavy. On the Fort St. James and Stony Creek reserves there were 117 deaths. Among some of the Indian bands in the Hazelton district practically 25 per cent of the members had succumbed to the plague."[4]

  • December 19, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) commenced his preparation of an "Epidemic report" and visited the hospital in Prince George. [5] This epidemic report is summarized in a Prince George Citizen article from January 14, 1919. The location of the original report is unknown.

    • Death of Isabella McLeod A. Jackson

  • December 20, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports on the economic impact of the Spanish influenza on the city's coffers. The City Council "spent the evening in discussing and checking an accumulation of bills aggregating $3,223.32, many of which were incurred in support of the influenza hospital and the public schools."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) proceeded to Prince George and "obtained cheque account hospital fees for $300 and handed same to government agent". [5]

  • December 24, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports that "One hundred and fifty-four Indians, out of a total of 1400 in this district have to date fallen victims to the influenza plague, according to the statement of Mr. W. J. McAllan, district Indian agent. Many of those who have recovered from the epidemic are in a weak state of health and unless extremely careful of themselves until strength is regained will be liable to further serious complications. During the epidemic that has raged among the natives Mr. McAllan and the veteran missionary, Father Coccola, have been indefatigable in their efforts to relieve the suffering Indians. Father Coccola is himself a physician of recognized ability, and to the untiring efforts of him and the department officials may be ascribed the recovery of so many of those who were stricken."[4]

  • December 26, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) visited the Connaught Hotel emergency hospital and outlined a plan for closing it. [5]

  • December 28, 1918
    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) completed his draft of an "Epidemic report" and visited the hospital in Prince George. [5] This epidemic report is summarized in a Prince George Citizen article from January 14, 1919. The location of the original report is unknown.

    • Death of Harman Emmebuan

  • December 31, 1918
    • The Prince George Citizen reports that "The provincial emergency hospital in the Connaught Hotel is being closed today. The few remaining patients are being removed to other quarters."[4]

    • BCPP Inspector T.W.S. Parsons (South Fort George) remarks that between December 22 and 31 he was sick and unfit for active duty. [5]

  • January 5, 1918
  • January 7, 1918
  • January 14, 1919
    • The BC Provincial Police compiled a report on the impacts of the Spanish influenza in Northern BC. The location of the original report is unknown, but the information in the report was shared in the Prince George Citizen:[4]


      The Citizen is indebted to the provincial police for the following information relating to the late influenza epidemic as it was felt in this district:

      The first manifestation of this epidemic was noticed in Prince George on October 15th, 1918. Prior to this its presence had been established at Lucerne, near the eastern provincial boundary. Thereafter outbreaks were reported from centres often widely apart, but invariably in proximity to railway depots, pointing to dissemination by transients and railway employees.

      Acting on instructions from government agents, the provincial police alleviated the sufferings of a great many in isolated sections. The officers were frequently called upon to serve both as doctor and nurse, and were active day and night, in many instances contracting the disease they were called upon to fight.

      On October 16th, under provincial auspices, the Connaught Hotel, Prince George, was converted into an emergency hospital. Accommodation thus provided being insufficient, further quarters were opened on October 23rd in the Union Rooms.

      At their inception these hospitals were staffed by voluntary helpers, but the strain on this assistance becoming great, owing to illness in the homes of many of the volunteers, thereafter salaried workers were employed.

      From information obtained from various sources there were approximately 1800 known cases in the district between Lucerne on the east and Kitselas on the west. Of these 220 succumbed to pneumoniac complications. It is noteworthy that those suffering from pulmonary complications were usually men physically robust.

      Mortality among Indians was exceedingly heavy and may be attributed to lack of care consequent upon their nomadic tendencies, coupled with a native stoicism when finally prostrated.

      Prince George Hospitals

      About sixty beds were provided in the two provincial hospitals in Prince George [the Connaught Hotel and the Union Rooms]. A fortunate government purchase of blankets was particularly opportune owing to a general local shortage. A dearth of essential drugs developed early, and the attorney-general's conditional assent to the seizure of liquor held by the Canadian Express Company was timely.

      At both hospitals a superintendent was placed in complete charge with a necessary staff of nurses and orderlies. Mr. W.D. Smith, at the Connaught, and Mr. A. Wright, at the Union--subsequently taken ill and replaced by Mr. F. Tapley--rendered excellent service.

      The entire management of the two hospitals was in the hands of Captain (Dr.) Lazier, who worked long hours in connection with the epidemic, besides caring for a large number of outside patients. Dr. Lazier was suffering severely from phlebitis [inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs] during the whole of this period and was able to walk only with the greatest difficulty.

      Stony Creek Indians

      The epidemic's course ran with exceptional severity on the Stony Reserve near Vanderhoof, and but for the splendid work of Rev. Father Coccola, many more would have died. Affectionately known throughout the north, Father Coccola has spent the greater part of a long life in this section of the province, and his success in this instance was due to the implicit trust placed in him by the Indians.


[1] Wikipedia. Military history of Canada during World War I.

[2] CDC. 1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline.

[3] Corless Funeral Ledger

[4] Prince George Citizen newspaper.

[5] Daily Provincial Police reports. South Fort George. 1918. GR-0445.48.16-18. BC Archives.

[6] Prince George City Council Meeting Minutes