Bradford County Historical Society February 'Settler' now available

An outdoor hospital was set up to treat influenza victims at the People’s Hospital, Sayre. Tents housing patients were located in the rear of the building.

TOWANDA — The February issue of “The Settler,” the quarterly publication of the Bradford Country Historical Society, has been mailed to the membership and is now available.

This issue of the magazine is dedicated to The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and its effect on Bradford County. The issue was authored by Matthew T. Carl, the Manager/Curator of the society, and is based on the Friday Night at the Museum program that Matt presented on the Pandemic.

This year marks the 67th year of publication of the periodical with the February issue being volume 57 number one.

Matt Carl, in his preparation for the story of the flu epidemic of 1918, researched all the documentation that exists in the archives of the society for 1918 and what was happening in Bradford County at that time.

The following are excerpts from Matt’s report:

The Reporter Journal in Towanda wrote, “Notwithstanding the report of the local health authorities that the influenza situation is improving in this borough and elsewhere throughout the state, the spread of the disease in the twin towns of Sayre and Athens already has reached alarming proportions, many victims are dying and their hospitals, physicians and nurses alike are rushed by the daily increase in the cases. One week ago, less that a score of patients were reported in Sayre. Today the total is over 700 in that town alone.”

As a precaution, the Towanda Board of Health ordered that Main Street be washed and cleansed to help prevent an increase in the disease.

An anonymous Letter to the Editor of the Towanda Daily Review stated that the writer had gone on a walk to get some fresh air and sunshine. He walked from Third Street to Main, then down Elizabeth Street and back up to Third Street. During his walk the writer discovered “fifteen large deposits of sputum on the walks.” He reminded the public that spitting on the sidewalks was dangerous to public health and that the offenders should be “taught a lesson” by being arrested.

“The Settler” is available at the Bradford County Museum located in the historic old Bradford County Jail at 109 Pine St. in Towanda.

The Bradford County Historical Society is one of the oldest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania having been founded in 1870. The research library of the society is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The society is a recipient agency of the Bradford County United Way and the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission.

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