Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin

Young Joseph.

While Americans fought in Europe, a war with influenza raged at home.

Indy News 19 Oct 1918 Joseph Ward Jr death

Indianapolis News, 19 October 1918.

Dr. Joseph H. Ward returned to Indianapolis eight months later to find his wife Zella and daughter Mary Roena recovered, but his beloved son gone. The boy was nine years old.



My grandmother Mary Ward Roberts, whom we called Mur, would cry remembering when Buddy was taken away. She and her mother couldn’t follow the hearse because they were still sick. The purple cloth they put outside of the door to let people know that the house was infected with Spanish Influenza. Mur said that Buddy pointed his finger upward and said goodbye. Her father went into a deep depression in France and was hospitalized. When he returned from France, he had Buddy’s body exhumed to say a final farewell. Can you imagine?         — Z.P., great-granddaughter of Joseph H. Ward

Births Deaths Marriages


The 1918 influenza flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly outbreak. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them—3 to 5 percent of the world’s population—making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. For an in-depth analysis of this pandemic, check out:

great influenza

A running tally of members of my family lost to this fearsome disease:

Ernest Smith, age 30. Goldsboro NC, 5 October 1918.

Joseph H. Ward Jr., age 9. Indianapolis IN, 1918.

Amanda Aldridge Newsome, age 26. Great Swamp township, Wayne County NC, 10 November 1918.