Butte, Montana was an exceptional city, but in late 1918, some of the things that made it so exceptional also made it incredibly cruel. That year, Spanish flu swept across the country, killing some 675,000 Americans before year’s end. Some of the country’s highest mortality rates occurred in its cities – Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, and Butte. In less than six months, the virus killed almost 2 percent of Butte’s residents, overwhelming public health systems. Experimental treatments, civil unrest, death, and human resilience followed in the dramatic final weeks of the year. Janelle Olberding recounts the emotional struggle of the men and women who fought against, suffered from, and succumbed to influenza on the “Richest Hill on Earth.”
This list was compiled from death certificates recorded by the City of Butte between October 1918 and January 1919 that listed influenza as either a primary or contributing cause of death (records held at Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives). It is organized alphabetically by last name. Please contact me with questions or comments about this list.
Scroll through the photos below to learn about some of the people discussed in the book.