The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown

Posted by on Jan 9, 2021 in Featured slider, Talks | Comments Off on The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown

The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown

This Is Not Our First Pandemic…

Dusty Bahlman Looks at How the 1918 Flu Impacted Williamstown
The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown Video

On Saturday, January 16, at 11 a.m. Dusty Bahlman presented a free talk entitled “The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown.” The 45 minute talk was illustrated with numerous photos and documents provided by Michael Miller and was be followed by a 15 minute question and answer session.

“We’re living this experience all over again,” Bahlman noted when asked what inspired him to investigate this topic. “And the similarities are depressing. In the end the 1918 flu killed millions more people than have perished from COVID-19 so far, but the tragic nature of the stories people tell are the same. Not only could they not be with their loved ones, but because World War I was raging soldiers died in Europe and their families didn’t learn until months later.”

Private Willard C. Pike, whose family lived on Latham Street, is one such flu victim whose story Bahlman will recount. Pike’s mother got a letter from him on the same day she was officially notified of his death. By coincidence there was a nurse from Williamstown assigned to the hospital unit where he died who was able to write and tell the family about his last days. After the war, Private Pike was disinterred and reburied in Westlawn Cemetery.

“It was the third and last wave of 1918 flu that killed people here in Williamstown,” Bahlman noted. “Brainerd Mears was the commander of the state guard at that time and they closed Williamstown off for a couple of weeks. You had to have a pass from town hall to cross the borders into town!”

Mark your calendars and use the Zoom link below to join us for this special opportunity to learn more about the history of the last international pandemic to affect our community.

The 1918 Flu Pandemic Strikes Williamstown Video
Or Telephone:
(929) 205-6099  or
(346) 248-7799 
Webinar ID: 986 2984 9321

Long-time Williamstown resident, Dusty Bahlman graduated from the Lawrenceville School and Millbrook School and then from New England College in Henniker, NH, with a BA in communications/journalism. He launched his career as a reporter at the Troy (NY) Record, then worked as associate editor of Photonics Spectra, a Pittsfield based monthly magazine for professionals in the fields of lasers, fiber optics, electro-optics and imaging, before becoming a reporter at The Berkshire Eagle for nearly 20 years. Since leaving the Eagle in 2005 he has worked as a freelance writer and journalist.