Thursday, June 17, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday -- 1918 Letter Notifying Death of Loved One

Today I want to share another treasure that grandma Hazel saved (just for me, I know). It is not only a treasure, but a treasure map that led me to find a wealth of information that I did not have.

It is a letter that she received telling her of the unfortunate death of her brother.  

Her brother had gone to the funeral of their brother-in-law, Stanley Thomas Lynch in Gebo, Hot Springs, Wyoming who died from influenza Nov 10,1918 during the Great Pandemic. Unfortunately poor Jacob Oliver "Ole" Madsen had succumbed to the same fate when he returned home.

Well you know me and Google, I didn't know much about this flu epidemic so we had to have a look around and we found some pretty interesting sites.

  1. The Influenza Pandemic of 1918
  2. Pandemic Influenza Storybook -- This site has stories written by people who survived the pandemic as well as stories about those who didn't.  You can also submit your own pandemic stories.

Now about the "treasure map" I mentioned earlier.  This letter was signed by a Marion Pryde which made me very curious because the "Vida"(my 2nd great-aunt)mentioned in the letter whose widowhood was the cause for the letter, married Adam Pryde as her second husband. Well, Google and I went searching again and not only did I discover that Marion was Adam's step-aunt, but I found the transcribed obits of my 2nd great-grandmother Rebecca Hannah Bake Madsen and some of her children including said Vida! So many thanks to Cindy Clark for transcribing all these records!

Now if I may, I will transcribe the letter now.

        Byron, Wyo
           Nov 23rd 1918

Dear Mrs Piggott
Your father has asked
me to writing & tell you the sad news
of your dear brother Ole. He went to
Gebo to Vida's husband's funeral & took the "flu" & died Wednesday.
Your father & Frank are now sick
& we have taken them to our red cross
rooms & Mrs Neville & myself are nursing
them.  You must not think of coming
as it is too dangerous.
Your father & Frank are fine this morning
& hope they will be all right.
I will close with kindest regards
           Yours truly
           Marion Pryde

Your mother & Orsen are well.


  1. Both touching and fascinating. I have long been interested in the influenza pandemic and have read a lot about it; one of my ancestor families was also hit quite hard by the pandemic. Thank you for posting this and the links.

  2. Awesome, Leslie! I am in the process of transcribing a letter that my Great Aunt shared with me. These are amazing artifacts that tell so much about our family history.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Leslie Ann! It always strikes me when seeing things like this how back then you might not know a loved one had passed away until days, weeks, even months after it had happened.

  4. Leslie, This is a beautiful site. I couldn't sleep, so here I am....up at the computer doing research...on this family...


  5. Leslie, Thank you so much for sharing this letter, the persons funeral was actually my great grandfather Stanley Thomas Lynch Sr. Vida Madsen Lynch Pryde was his second wife after the passing of my great grandmother Esther Rowbottom Lynch whom died 3 years earlier in 1915 from food poisoning. Poor Vida lost her husband and had two small children as well as being pregnant with her third child. The pandemic of 1918 left 6 children in total without a father.

    1. It was my pleasure :-) Yes, I am aware of the sad story of the early death of Esther. Boy, you sure bare a striking resemblance to Cletus Madsen Lynch!

    2. So interesting to see this post. I came across it while doing family history research on the Reehil/Lynch family for a class I'm taking at university. Ali - my great great grandmother was Agnes Lynch Wilson, Stanley's sister. Your name looks Iranian - how interesting. I'm a Middle East Studies major at BYU.


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