On January 6, 1919, four-year-old Ralph E. Waldo, Jr. remembered running up and down the aisle in a “theater,” but most likely it was a mortuary. At the end of the aisle Ralph stopped numerous times to peer into the casket holding the remains of his mother, Alfa Frances Warton Waldo, and his stillborn baby brother. The impact of the 1918 influenza epidemic lingers in the annals of Waldo family history.
Earlier this month, a friend sent a photo of a lone gravestone in an abandoned cemetery near Briggsdale. The inscription on the stone piqued my interest, as I wondered if Catherine was a victim of the 1918 flu epidemic.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues in its unrelenting strangle-hold on people’s lives, from the confines and comforts of home, I recalled a program I researched and presented years ago about the Spanish influenza epidemic in Greeley and Weld County.
The spread of the novel coronavirus has created a global crisis that requires courage, creativity, and compassion. Greeley’s 21st century citizens are “pandemic pioneers” as everyone adapts to restrictions, survives hardships, and like Nathan Meeker 150 years ago, patronize home.
As we find our way through this global pandemic, it is a good time to reflect on medical care in Greeley’s history.
Harry Hibbs arrived in Greeley with a dream to own the finest and largest men’s apparel store in Northern Colorado.
One might feel like they are intruding while reading the personal correspondence between Colonel Charles D. Randolph, who called himself “Buckskin Bill” the “Poet of the Plains”, and Kate Slaughterback, a.k.a. Rattlesnake Kate. The reality is that the poems are a reflection of the story-spinning abilities of this “Poet of the Plains.”
New Year’s gifts were popular during the 1870-90 era in Greeley, and some were elaborate or unusual.
Historian Carol Rein Shwayder began researching her family genealogy in the 1970s. She was “dismayed, and shocked” to find there was no book written for Weld County history. In 1983, Shwayder self-published Weld County Old & New: History of Weld County, Colorado, Vol. I, Chronology 1836-1983. It is described by the author as “A chronological compendium of interesting, useful, and hard-to-find facts and information about the history and development of Weld County, Colorado. Herein follows a sampling of excerpted entries.
Keeping warm was a priority in the winter months of Greeley’s early days. During the 1870s, The Greeley Tribune reported many incidents of people who had frozen their feet and hands while working on the plains in severe weather conditions.