Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 138 years

 


MHS
Events


Manitoba
History

No. 85


This Old
Elevator


Abandoned
Manitoba


War
Memorials
in Manitoba


Digitized
Local History
Books


Memorable
Manitobans


Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Manitoba History: Manitoba Mennonites and the State: Wartime Measures and the Influenza Pandemic in Hanover

by Vanessa Quiring
Department of History, University of Waterloo

Number 82, Fall 2016

The text of this article is not available online at this time.

Copies are available for purchase

Click the icon at left for the Table of Contents of this issue.

Notes

The author would like to thank Esyllt Jones and the peer reviewer for their thoughtful comments on ways to improve this article as well as thank Royden Loewen, James Hanley, Christopher Fries and Glen Klassen for their comments on earlier drafts. This research was made possible, in part, through funding provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, by the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation Inc. Research Grant, and a Spletzer Family Foundation Research Scholarship in German-Canadian Studies.

1. “What to do if you have influenza,” Steinbach Post (hereafter SP), 16 October 1918, pp. 2-3; “How to keep from getting influenza,” Steinbach Post [hereafter, SP], 16 October 1918, p. 3.

2. Frank Epp, Mennonites in Canada, 1786-1920: The History of a Separate People, Toronto: Macmillan Company Ltd., 1974, p. 288.

3. The graph was compiled by examining causes of deaths listed on all deaths certificates for 1918 and 1919 for the RM of Hanover. A search for all names in the census of 1916 and 1921 was completed. All names were checked with the religion listed for that person, or for their parents in cases of deaths of those that were not listed in the 1916 census. Deaths were then organized by date, sex, and age. All deaths recorded as influenza deaths included causes of death such as bronchitis or bronchopneumonia with influenza, influenza, flu, Grippa and inflammation of the lungs with flu. Deaths listed solely as bronchopneumonia but attributed to influenza in the local paper were also counted as were cases of respiratory illness even when lacking a contributory or secondary cause.

4. This trend in influenza deaths has been well recorded by historians. See Janice McGinnis, “The Impact of Epidemic Influenza in Canada, 1918-1919,” Historical Papers vol. 12, no. 1 (1977): 125; Niall Johnson and Juergen Mueller, “Updating the accounts: Global Mortality of the 1918-1920 ‘Spanish’ Influenza Pandemic,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine vol. 76, no. 1 (2002): 3-4; Ann Herring, “‘There Were Young People and Old People and Babies Dying Every Week’: The 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic at Norway House,” Ethnohistory vol. 41, no. 1 (1994): p. 96.

5. The 1916 and 1921 censuses were used to identify all Mennonites within the RM of Hanover and establish the mortality rate. The population estimate for 1918 was calculated by interpolation, with the assumption that the population grew at a constant rate. Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives, Winnipeg, Official Notice of Death, December 1917- December 1920, Rural Municipality of Hanover, Microfilm 706, Box #4.

6. Ann Herring and Ellen Korol, “The North-South Divide: Social Inequality and Mortality from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Hamilton, Ontario,” in Magda Fahrni and Esyllt Jones, Eds. Epidemic Encounters: Influenza, Society and Culture in Canada, 1918-20, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012, p. 98.

7. The excess death rate in various rural municipalities, calculated using counts of death available through vital statistics, do not include an analysis of the cause of death. This approach showed that Mennonites had a higher mortality rate than French Canadians as presented in, Glen Klassen and Kimberly Penner, “Influenza Pandemic Deaths among Manitoba Mennonites in 1918-19,” Preservings vol. 28 (2008): 24-29.

8. Howard Phillips, “Second Opinion: The Recent Wave of ‘Spanish’ Flu Historiography,” Social History of Medicine vol. 27, no. 4 (2014): 798.

9. Penner, Hanover: One Hundred Years, 132; Death Certificates 1918-1919. Rural Municipality of Hanover Records. Mennonite Heritage Archives.

10. Amy Shaw, Crisis of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in Canada during the First World War, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009, pp. 41-42.

11. Terry Wilde, “Freshettes, Farmerettes, and Feminine Fortitude at the University of Toronto during the First World War,” in Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw, Eds., A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service: Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012, pp. 88-90.

12. Ibid., p. 172.

13. Shaw, Crisis of Consciene, pp. 26-28.

14. Ibid., pp. 20-21; Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 183-184.

15. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 120-124.

16. Ibid., pp. 110-114, 120-124. The Privilegium, or what these Mennonites had viewed as such was a letter written by John Lowe, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture in 1873 responding to the question of education. A second Privilegium, or rather the legal Privilegium had already changed the terms of the education clause of which few Mennonites were aware. For more on this letter, see particularly, Ens, Subjects or Citizens; Adolf Ens, “The Conspiracy that Never Was,” Mennonite Historian vol. 11, no. 3 (1985): pp. 1-2.

17. Ibid., 1 p. 72.

18. Ibid., pp. 173-175.

19. Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, p. 46.

20. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 173-174; Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, p. 42.

21. Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, p. 43.

22. According to Amy Shaw, the confession of faith known as the Schleitheim Confession of 1527 clearly lists the affirmation that God ordained the office of government. Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, p. 55.

23. Ibid., p. 55.

24. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 173-174.

25. Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, pp. 46-47.

26. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, p. 173.

27. Ibid., pp. 184-187. For a more in-depth analysis of the various causes of tensions and the situation of Mennonites during the First World War see: Ens, Subjects or Citizens?; Shaw, Crisis of Conscience; Frank Epp, Mennonites in Canada, 1786-1920: The History of a Separate People, Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1974.

28. Jeffrey Keshen, Propaganda and Censorship During Canada’s Great War, Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1996, p. 66.

29. Ibid., pp. 66-67.

30. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, p. 185; Keshen, Propaganda and Censorship, pp. 67-68.

31. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 185-186.

32. Ibid., p. 186.

33. Ibid., p. 184; Shaw, Crisis of Conscience, p. 47.

34. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, pp. 186-188.

35. Ibid., p. 184.

36. Keshen, Propaganda and Censorship, p. 68.

37. Ens, Subjects of Citizens?, p. 186.

38. Ibid., 188; “Victory Loan Advertisement,” SP, 13 November 1918, 3. Note that Victory Bonds were issued by the Canadian Government prior to November 1917; thereafter, and including the Second World War, they were called Victory Loans.

39. “Victory Loan Advertisement,” SP, 13 November 1918, p. 3.

40. “Locals,” SP, 16 October 1918, p. 2.

41. Numerous letters to the Editor remarked on the limited number of people sending correspondence to the paper due to the language restriction. See, ‘Tante’ Schmidt, “‘Tante’ Schmidt to the Post,” SP, 13 November 1918, p. 6; “Correspondence – Kansas,” SP, 13 November 1918, p. 6; J. M. Loewen, “J. M. Loewen to the Post and readers,” SP, p. 20 November 1918, p. 7; Catherine Loewen “Catherine Loewen to the Editor and Readers,” SP, p. 11 December 1918, p. 2.

42. Abr. R. Friesen, “Abr. Friesen to Editor and the whole Post family,” SP, 18 December 1918, p. 2.

43. J. M. Loewen, “J. M. Loewen to the Editor and Readers,” SP, 20 November 1918, p. 3.

44. Schmidt, “Schmidt to the Editor,” SP, 13 November 1918.

45. Ens, Subjects or Citizens?, p. 188.

46. Provincial Archives of Manitoba (PAM)., GR1548, Box 12, Province of Manitoba, Provincial Board of Health Minutes Books, “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious and Infectious by Dr. Gordon Bell.” 11 October 1918.

47. Esyllt Jones, Influenza 1918: Disease, Death, and Struggle in Winnipeg, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007, pp. 16-17.

48. PAM. GR1548. Box 12. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minutes Books. “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious.” 11 October 1918.

49. The 11th General Council Meeting, Nov. 4th, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 4 November 1918. Steinbach: RM of Hanover Council Office. p. 2; The 12th General Council Meeting, Dec. 3rd, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 3 December 1918. Steinbach: RM of Hanover Council Office. p. 2; Abe Warkentin, Reflections on Our Heritage: A History of Steinbach and the R.M. of Hanover from 1874, Steinbach: Derksen Printers Ltd, 1971, pp. 219-220.

50. PAM. GR1548. Box 12. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minutes Books. “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious.” 11 October 1918.

51. The Sixth General Council Meeting, June 2nd 1918. General Council Meeting of the Rural Municipality of Hanover Minutes Books. 2 June 1918. Steinbach: Rural Municipality of Hanover Council Office. p. 1.

52. PAM. GR1548. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minute Books. “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious.” 11 October 1918.

53. The 11th General Council Meeting, Nov. 4th, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 4 November 1918, p. 2

54. The 12th General Council Meeting, Dec. 3rd, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 3 December 1918, p. 2

55. Warkentin, Reflections on Our Heritage, pp. 65-66.

56. The 12th General Council Meeting, Dec. 3rd, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 3 December 1918, p. 2.

57. The 11th General Council Meeting, Nov. 4th, 1918. General Council Meeting of the RM of Hanover Minutes Books. 4 November 1918, p. 2

58. PAM. GR1548. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minute Books. “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious and Infectious by Dr. Gordon Bell,” 11 October 1918.

59. MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

60. MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

61. Lydia Penner, Hanover: One Hundred Years, Steinbach: R.M. of Hanover, 1982, p. 145; MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

62. Heinrich Rempel, “Deaths Reported in Hanover from Sept. 1, 1918 Until Jan. 17, 1919,” SP, 2-3; Death Certificates 1918-1919. Rural Municipality of Hanover Records. Mennonite Heritage Archives.

63. MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

64. MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

65. MHCA. Official Notice of Deaths, 1918-1919. Box #4. Births, Marriages and Deaths. Microfilm 706. RM of Hanover Records.

66. “What to do if you have Influenza,” SP, 16 October 1918, pp. 2-3.

67. “How to keep from getting Influenza,” SP, 16 October 1918, p. 2.

68. “What to do if you have influenza,” SP, 16 October 1918, pp. 2-3.

69. “Influenza: Some Interesting Facts About Its History, Prevention and Treatment,” SP, 23 October 1918, p. 3.

70. PAM. GR1548. Box 12. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minutes Books. “Declaration of Influenza as Contagious.” 11 October 1918.

71. K. F. Barkman Hardware and K. B. Reimer and Company, “Notice,” SP, 16 October 1918, 4; Maureen Lux, “The Bitter Flats”: The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Saskatchewan,” Saskatchewan History Vol. 49 No. 1 (1997): p. 4.

72. K. F. Barkman Hardware and K. B. Reimer and Company, “Notice,” SP, 16 October 1918, p. 4.

73. H. W. Reimers, “Notice,” SP, 13 November 1918, p. 4

74. “Advertisement – War Bonds Taken,” SP, 11 December 1918, p. 5.

75. PAM. GR1548. Box 12. Province of Manitoba. Provincial Board of Health Minutes Books. 23 November 1918; Ian Carr and Robert Beamish, Manitoba Medicine: A Brief History, Winnipeg, University of Manitoba Press, 1999, p. 82.

76. MHCA. Bergthaler Mennonite Church Brotherhood Minutes, 1901-1934. Bergthaler Mennonite Church Minutes Books. 1893-1935. Vol. 727. 35 pgs.

77. Hiebert, Ed., Susanna Reimer’s Journals, 38-42; Royden Loewen, From the Inside Out: The Rural World of Mennonite Diarists, 1863 to 1929, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999, pp. 263-267.

78. PAM, GR571, Province of Manitoba, Department of Education, Summative Half-Yearly Returns for School Districts. 1918-1919. Microfilm 698, 699.

79. Nettie Neufeld, “Aganetha ‘Agnes’ Fast,” Preservings No. 10 Part Two (1997): p. 40.

80. “Locals,” SP, 20 November 1918, p. 2.

81. “Locals,” SP, 4 December 1918, p. 2.

82. PAM, GR571, Province of Manitoba, Department of Education, Summative Half-Yearly Returns for School Districts. 1918-1919. Microfilm 698, 699.; “Correspondence – Oklahoma,” Steinbach Post, 13 November 1918, p. 6; “Correspondence – Kansas,” Steinbach Post, 13 November 1918, 6; “Correspondence – Manitoba,” SP, 20 November 1918, p. 7.

83. Carr and Beamish, Manitoba Medicine, pp. 82-83; Lux, “The Bitter Flats,” p. 7.

84. “Locals,” SP, 4 December 1918, p. 4.

85. Hans Werner and Jenifer Waito. “‘One of Our Own’: Ethnicity Politics and the Medicalization of Childbirth in Manitoba,” Manitoba History No. 58 (June 2008): 3-4; Marlene Epp, “Catching Babies and Delivering the Dead: midwives and Undertakers in Mennonite Settlement Communities,” in Caregiving on the Periphery: Perspectives on Nursing and Midwifery in Canada, Ed. Myra Rutherdale, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010, 61-83.

86. Marlene Epp, “Catching Babies,” pp. 62-63.

87. Ibid, p. 71.

Page revised: 12 October 2016

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2017 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.