Pandemic Influenza Storybook Stories: Robert Knight Allen


Storyteller: Elizabeth Sherlock

Location: Utah

Illustration of a young boy holding onto the mesh of a porch door, looking out

My father, Robert Knight Allen, was about 7 years old (born in August 1911) the summer the pandemic flu hit Provo, Utah, where he lived. He and his four brothers (Eugene, Knight, Mark, and Joseph) were all ill, and were confined to a semi–enclosed (screened) “summer porch” attached to the house where they would get some fresh air. My father said that as he and his brothers lay there on the porch, they could hear the horse–drawn hearse going back–and–forth continuously, day and night, taking the dead to the cemetery. Fortunately, all five of the Allen brothers survived.