I am writing in regards to Lynn McKinnis Shinohara’s inquiry (May 7th issue) of the 1900’s flu epidemic.
My mother told me when she was two years old, her grandfather, Kim Rakestraw, took care of her parents, John and Eula Rakestraw, and nursed them back to health. They would have been 28 and 25 years old and Eula would have been expecting their second child. Mother was born in 1916 so because Grandmother had already passed away, Grandfather took care of them all on mattresses they moved to the living room so he wouldn’t have to climb the stairs. This was in northern Dickinson County. When visiting older sections of cemeteries, tombstones of younger children are numerous from 1918.
My first cousin’s grandfather Schoff of the Herrington, Kansas community was serving in the Army, stationed at Ft. Riley during this time. He worked in the motor pool and one of his duties was in transporting the many deceased soldiers of the epidemic. I was told the military spread the flu overseas in WWI.