The year was 1890 and the world found itself largely in the grip of “La Grippe,” an influenza outbreak that would continue through the early years of the decade. The Decatur Daily Dispatch (Decatur, Illinois) notes that members of royal families across Europe had fallen victims to the disease and in France, deaths from influenza the previous week were 2,334. It also discusses outbreaks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Goshen, Indiana; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Greensburg, Kansas. (Click on the newspaper image on theÂ left to enlarge it and read the entire article.) Another article from The Atlanta Constitution reports the epidemics effects in New York, Boston, Paris, and Berlin on 5 January 1890. (Click on the newspaper image on theÂ right to enlarge it and read the entire article.)
New Yorkers cheered the return of famed reporter, Nellie Bly, who raced around the world to best the hero of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days.” She made it in seventy-two days, six hours and eleven minutes. Nellie Bly, the pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochran had previously gained fame by having herself committed to a New York insane asylum and reporting on the cruel conditions and treatment of the inmates.
The western U.S. was becoming more populous and in 1890, Idaho
and Washington were was admitted as the 43rd and 44th state. However, the western division of the U.S. still had the lowest population of all areas of the country with only 3,027,613 people enumerated in the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. The majority of the population was centered in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.Â Nearly 65 percent of the population still lived in rural areas, while only a bit more than 35 percent lived in urban areas.
(Please, letâ€™s all observe a moment of silence for that ill-fated enumeration that would later perish in a fire.)
In a boon to genealogists, in 1890, the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded. The organization is “dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children.” There are currently 168,000 members in 3,000 chapters, encompassing all fifty states and several international chapters. The group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. also houses one of the finest genealogical collections in the country.
The year 1890 ended in tragedy as an estimated 300 Lakota Sioux and some twenty-five American soldiers were killed in the massacre at Wounded Knee as soldiers tried to disarm the Native Americans.
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