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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Flu claims Spokane County treasurer; crowds banned at campaign rallies as flu death toll rises

Spokane County Treasurer Edward F. Crawford died from complications from the Spanish flu, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 31, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Spokane County Treasurer Edward F. Crawford died from complications from the Spanish flu, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 31, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Spokane County Treasurer Edward F. Crawford stayed at home several days with the Spanish flu, but then felt well enough to return to the courthouse.

After one day, he suffered a relapse, and after two days, he was dead. The flu aggravated his existing heart trouble.

Crawford was just one of 76 flu deaths to date – and the city health officer predicted, accurately, that the death toll would continue to rise.

The death toll was particularly high at the Fort George Wright military hospital, where five more deaths occurred in less than a day. Doctors there said they were taken by surprise at how quickly their patients’ conditions had worsened. All of the fatalities were men who had arrived at Fort Wright from a California draft contingent.

From the quarantine beat: The two candidates for U.S. Congress could not hold campaign rallies because of the ban on all public gatherings, so the Spokane Daily Chronicle printed their “stump” speeches on the front page.

Judge J. Stanley Webster, the Republican challenger, said he would not be satisfied with any peace not based on unconditional surrender. Incumbent Democrat C.C. Dill, who voted against the declaration of war, said he has changed his attitude about the war, and “done more service in the winning of the war, both in congress and out of it, than my opponent.”

Meanwhile, the Chronicle was routinely publishing sermons from local ministers, since all church services were banned.

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