Neil Neisz Titus, World War I, and the Spanish Flu

It was 1 April 1918, and the war we call World War I was winding down. It would end in November, but that wasn’t known as eighteen-year-old Neil Niesz Titus, son of William S. and Susan (Dudley) Titus, enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve Force. Neil and his family lived in Portland, Oregon, but he enrolled in the Navy in Seattle.[1]

Neil was assigned to the transport Grant, and sailed to France. He left behind his parents and grandmother, Susan Dudley. He also left his fiancé behind. She was Eleanor Granlund, and they had been classmates at Portland’s Washington High School. [2]

NEIL-&-ELEANOR-(FULL).jpg

The transport Grant arrived in Brooklyn, New York, on 19 September. Neil came down with the Spanish Flu on the next day.[3] Spanish Flu, as it was called, appeared to originate in Spain. It was the deadliest pandemic known to history and affected about one-third of the world’s population. With no vaccine or treatment, people were ordered to wear masks, and public facilities were closed.[4] In a troop ship like the Grant, there would be no way to avoid contact with the virus.

On 26 September 1918, Neil died at the Kingston Avenue Hospital in Brooklyn.[5] His body was shipped to Portland in a casket sealed to prevent possible Flu contamination. Neil’s father purchased a plot with enough room for his family and all his children in Rose City Cemetery. It was next to Eleanor Granlund’s family plot. [6]

Neil and Eleanor never married. She married much later in life, but she had no children. When she died, her family buried her in the Granlund plot where her stone is near Neil’s stone.

neil.jpg

eleanor.jpg

Notes

[1] “U.S., Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941,” digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 May 2017).

[2] “Neil N. Titus,” Oregonian, 27 September 1918, page 6, col. 2.

[3] “Neil N. Titus,” Oregonian, 27 September 1918, page 6, col. 2.

[4] “1918 Flu Pandemic,” History (http://www.history.com/topics/1918-flu-pandemic : accessed 29 May 2017).

[5] “U.S., Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941,” digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 May 2017).

[6] Tzilla (Titus) Miller to Connie Lenzen.

 

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