Leta Bauer Lee and Emma Triphan Buechel

Pandemic Influenza Storybook

Storyteller: Christine A. Maurer

Location: Wisconsin

Photo of road sign with text welcome to Wisconsin

I live in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. At a young age, I learned both of my grandmothers were raised without a mother. This made me sad for them. Some years later when I was studying my family’s genealogy, I became aware that both of my great-grandmothers, Leta Bauer Lee (maternal) and Emma Triphan Buechel (paternal) died during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

My maternal grandmother, Virginia Lee Rammer, was 4 years old at the time, and her mother’s obituary included the words, “Little Virginia was not in attendance at the funeral as she was hospitalized draining pus from her lung.” Fortunately, Virginia survived the flu.

My paternal grandmother, Ida Buechel Klug Kruschke, and her brother were raised by an aunt because after their mother died, their father abandoned them. It amazes me the impact this flu had on my own immediate family.

It seems many people aren’t aware of how deadly an influenza can be. They worry more about a side effect from an immunization.