The Spanish Lady Visits Western Pennsylvania: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic


On the morning of Thursday, October 31, 1918, Charles Hausele, Sr., of Pleasant Unity in Westmoreland County had no idea that the infuenza pandemic was about to devastate his family; one week later, eight members of his family would be dead.
- His wife - Pauline died early hours on Friday, November 1, 1918.
- His daughter Lillian died the same day at 8:00 p.m.
- His son Mathias died a-t 1:00 a.m. on November 3.
- Thirty minutes later, son Charles Hausele, Jr., died.
- Another son, Jacob, died the afternoon of November 6.
- His daughter-in-la - w Emma (wife of Charles, Jr -.) died just after midnight November 7.
- Charles’ son Edward died at 11:00 p.m.
- Daughter Joanna died at 11:30 p.m.

The Latrobe Bulletin reported that the family, what was lef of it, held a quadruple funeral on Saturday, November 8. All that remained of the family by Sunday, November 9, were two young sons, a son in the military in France, and Charles himself. Sadly, this is just one example of the thousands of families who were directly afected by The Spanish Influenza in Western Pennsylvania. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic had a more far-reaching impact on the daily lives and futures of everyday people in Western Pennsylvania than World War I, which brought its own horrors to the home front. In the fall of 1918, the “Spanish Infuenza,” or “Spanish Lady” as it was sometimes called, would quickly devastate towns large and small in Western Pennsylvania and much of the country. As historian Alfred Crosby wrote in his book on the pandemic, “It killed more humans than any other disease in a period of similar duration in the history of the world.”

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