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John William Boren's Farmhouse 1977, McCool Junction Nebraska

Boren Family

The 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic









Clifford Loyal Boren

July 9, 1899 - November 15, 1918

McCool Junction, Nebraska

When Clifford Loyal BOREN was born on July 9, 1899, in Waco, Nebraska, his father, John, was 31 and his mother, Lillie, was 26. He had two brothers and four sisters. Clifford registered for the WWI draft on September 12, 1918, in York County, Nebraska. He died from the Spanish Influenza two months later at the age of 19 on November 15, 1918, in York County, Nebraska, from the Spanish Influenza epidemic and was buried in Greenwood, Nebraska. His mother Lillie Ethel Evans - Boren also had the flu, but she managed to survive and lived to be 80 years of age. Nebraska's last great epidemic was the Spanish influenza. Commonly called flu, this scourge hit the U.S. early in 1918. It had greatly intensified by September and was at its worst during the fall months, throwing a damper on most social gatherings. Even World War I victory celebrations on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, were limited in many towns as the war against the disease continued.Symptoms of the disease included high fever, cough, dizziness, and profuse perspiration. Frequently bronchial pneumonia developed, with death following in a high percentage of cases. It was called "the Spanish Lady" by a Russian newspaper because the worldwide epidemic was thought to have started in San Sebastian, Spain. In Omaha alone there were 974 deaths between October 5 and December 31 of 1918.Life in Nebraska was severely disrupted during the height of the flu epidemic. As the disease spread, doctors and nurses were in short supply. By October the Nebraska State Board of Health had issued an order closing public meetings, schools, churches, theaters, and all types of entertainment. Mail carriers continued on their rounds, but wore white face masks for protection.There was almost nothing of a holiday season during the closing days of 1918. No Christmas events or entertainments were held, and Nebraska merchants sustained severe losses from the slump in trade during the last six weeks of the year. Quarantine rules were issued for affected homes. All residents of a house who had been in contact with a diseased person had to remain in the house until the quarantine was lifted. Only a doctor or nurse was permitted to enter or leave the house while the quarantine was in effect. Necessary supplies could be brought to the house and left outside the door. Soiled clothes could be sent to the laundry if placed in a package covered with paper.The epidemic appeared to be quieting under the strict statewide quarantine. Omaha authorities raised the lid to permit their citizens to celebrate the New Year's holiday. By mid-January 1919, although national news stories indicated the epidemic still was claiming thousands of victims, in Nebraska the worst was over.


Source:   Vincent Family Tree

Robert Vincent, April 2, 2020


In 2019 I discovered that an uncle of my mother, Velma Louise Boren-Vincent, died from the 1918 Spanish Flu. I vaguely remembered learning about the Spanish Flu in a U.S. History class in college. Clifford Loyal Boren had registered for the WWI Draft on September 12, 1918 in York County, not far from where he lived in McCool Junction, with his parents, John William and Lillie Ethel (Evans) Boren. Prior to being shipped off to fight in WWI, he passed away from the Spanish Flu on November 15, 1918, at home, in McCool Junction. Clifford was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, not from McCool Junction.


Historians agree that the Spanish Flu started in the spring of 1918 at a military base in Kansas, when two soldiers burned a pile of manure. Smoke from the fire infected hundreds of soldiers who spread the flu throughout the United States and the world. It was called the Spanish Flu because Spanish Journalists were the first to report the flu that actually started in the U.S.


CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus) known as, “The Spanish Flu”


“It is estimated that about 500 million people, or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.”


Clifford Loyal Boren was my Great Uncle

Robert Louis Vincent, April 2, 2020

Written during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

For Howard Boren's 1917 Model T Ford

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