Monday, May 11, 2020

A few things

First off, I'm so relieved to not be homeschooling today. We were ready for a break. The three littlest ones have been playing in together so nicely this morning and I've just been doing my own thing. Eventually I will have to hound Benjamin about finishing his author report (the very last thing he has left to do for this school year), but that can wait for now. Rachel eventually needs to get started on her final exams, but there's no rush for that either (update: she just came upstairs to tell me she completed both of the exams she had scheduled today and she got 100% on both of them (she started the exams at 10:00; it is 10:17 that's neat)).

Next, one of my cousins messaged me to say that after she saw my posters on Facebook she wanted to share some of the pain she's been enduring quietly, without her pack, so to speak. So she did. And I'm so glad she did because that is the exact thing I envisioned when the words "strong women tend to run in families" came to mind (where it reads almost like voiceover from a wildlife show, but perhaps that's just me). We don't have to mourn alone because we have a pack.

Finally—and the main reason for this post— thing I've been (somewhat morbidly) searching for on FamilySearch was any account of the Spanish Flu pandemic in our family tree but I was having trouble finding anything. Turns out I should have asked my mom because she knew right where to look.

When my great-great-grandfather's health was failing, his son Charles Shadrack Conrad, took over the ranch for him. My great-grandfather (along with two of his brothers) left to find land in Alberta. The youngest in the family, my great-great-aunt Allie was the one with my grandpa's baby picture in her possession. Anyway, living up in the canyon was difficult—it snows a lot and travel through the canyon could be dangerous, as illustrated by this charming tale:

It was 1901and Charlie Shadrack and his wife (Ja)Nettie had recently moved out to the ranch with their new baby, Elwood (having waited for her to deliver before making the move). Nettie recounts that "one day in August on our way back from Provo in the wagon at Nunns where the railroad tracks cross the road, my husband stopped the team and looked up and down the track, saw or heard nothing, [and] started on when an engine and thirteen coaches carrying officials and others on an excursion ran into us, severing the horses from the wagon. I received a broken finger, but my husband was bruised from head to feet. I jumped from the wagon, dropping the four-month-old baby. He fell between the horses, striking his little head on a railroad tie, knocking him out. We were picked up and taken to my mother-in-law's home in town. We were not reimbursed in any way except repairs to the wagon."

Fortunately they all survived that incident. But keeping a home in town seemed to be a pretty common thing for people to do, at least for my people to do. Like, my grandfather was born in a little house that's just off of BYU campus these days (and has been home to various businesses over the years) but really his family were ranchers. It's just easier to get the kids to school in the winter if you're in town than if you're snowed in up in the mountains. Obviously.

Sometimes instead of maintaining a home in Provo, Charlie and Nettie would hire a teacher to come stay with them over the winter (which is also a good idea, plus then they wouldn't have to rent a place or live with in-laws for the season or whatever (which is what they did in other years)).

Elwood, however, recalls that "about September of 1918 father bought a Provo. He made it modern—dug and rocked the cesspool. He worked very hard doing these things for his family." In the early part of 1919, however, Charlie fell ill with the Spanish Flu. He got so sick that he left the ranch to go down to the Provo home and said to Elwood, "Take care of everything at the ranch; you know what to do."

"I felt then that he thought he wouldn't be coming back to the ranch," Elwood recounts. "He was very sick for a month and I was not surprised when told he had passed away [March, 1919]. I wasn't quite eighteen and I felt a great responsibility on my shoulders."

Nettie's sister had passed away (due to complications of childbirth, leaving her husband to raise six children plus twins on his own) and when Nettie and Charlie went to the funeral they ended up bringing home one of the twins to raise. Charlie apparently just doted on that baby.

That first winter they had the new baby, Areta, the winter was "very severe in the canyon" and Areta got very sick so "Charlie made some snow shoes and went to Vivian Park and flagged the train going to Heber. He sent word down to Mr. Hedquist about the baby's condition. The next day the druggist sent some medicine up on the train and dropped it off in the snow at Vivian Park."

Poor Areta would never know Charlie's love for her, though, since he died when she was just thirteen months old. Elwood helped run the ranch and eventually his mother moved into the Provo house, as I understand it, and Elwood "batched" up at the ranch until he married. Elwood was one of my grandpa's favourite cousins (although they're something like 17 years apart) and he loved to visit with him whenver he visited Utah.

So that's one way our family was impacted by the Spanish Flu, but honestly, that's rather distant. All of our "Alberta Conrads" stayed healthy through that pandemic.

On Andrew's line, Eunice Sweet (Lindsay) Thomas (one of Sarah Ann and Robert Lindsay's children) died February 8, 1919 of "acute hyperthyroidism." Mary Catherine (Longly) Tyler, Andrew's great-great-great-grandmother did January 11, 1919 but from cancer, not the flu. 


  1. Elwood and my dad are only 14 years apart. 1901 - 1915. That is hardly any years at all! Like, my dad married someone who was 13 years apart the other direction. Age. Pfft.

  2. Also, four Conrad brothers moved to Alberta, although it could be that one went first and the other three followed. I don't remember.

    1. Thanks! I was just looking at death I could have miscounted. And I don't know why I didn't do the math on those years. Hahaha! I'll make those changes. :)

  3. Well, Louis or Lewis (I am never sure of the spelling because I have seen it differently in different places) moved to Idaho after he and Aunt Leona divorced. And then he was MURDERED in his gas station. So that was fun.

    1. But I thought they gave up in Canada and moved to WA and then he was murdered (though I guess that doesn't mean they didn't move up to give Canada a shot, eh?). I was just reading about that the other night (but I read a LOT of things the other night, so...I'm probably confusing story lines)...

  4. You could be right. I know that LaRue and Aunt Leona lived in Washington. I do not remember all the details.