Death of parents break up family

Marianne McCalip’s mother-in-law told her she had never known her paternal grandparents, who died during the 1918 flu pandemic. As Marianne researched this side of the family, she realized just how devastating the loss was to the family.

Herbert and Carrie Atherton lived in Straughn Indiana with their six children. Over the course of a month, both parents and one child were taken by the flu. Carrie (29) died first on November 29, 1918. Herbert (34) died a few days later on December 9.

herbert atherton

Their two year old son Arthur succumbed on Christmas Day.

arthur atherton

The five surviving children were split up. Katherine (14) and Nola (11) were raised by their maternal grandparents. Joseph (7) and Edwin (5) were raised by a farmer and his wife and are listed as orphans on the 1920 census. It is unknown what became of the 5th child.

Joseph, Marianne’s husband’s grandfather, became well known locally in Indianapolis as an amateur golfer and managed several golf clubs.

As Marianne writes “The deaths of Herbert and Carrie broke up the entire Atherton family. Sadly, they were only one of so many affected by the 1918 flu pandemic.”

To read more, see Marianne’s blog post about this family.

Credit for story (with some editing by Lori Lyn) and photos belong to Marianne McCalip.

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