Alan Mays

Alan Mays

Posted on 08/29/2013


Photo taken on August 29, 2013


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Elias M. Baugher, Teacher

Elias M. Baugher, Teacher
This real photo postcard shows a teacher standing in front of his classroom in what was probably a one-room schoolhouse located in York County, Pennsylvania, sometime in the 1910s. Handwritten on the blackboard is "Elias M. Baugher, Teacher." The calendar in the upper left-hand corner displays the month of March, but the photo isn't clear enough to make out the year. Another interesting detail is the printed sign hanging above the blackboard, which says, "Try, try again."

For a close-up of the blackboard, calendar, and sign, mouse over the image above, or select the thumbnail image below.

Elias M. Baugher, Teacher (Detail)

Elias M. Baugher's gravestone appears on the Find A Grave site and reveals that he was born on February 15, 1892, and died September 25, 1918, at the age of 26. He is buried in the Chestnut Grove Brethren Cemetery, located in Jefferson, York County, Pa.

The calendar that's visible in the photo tells us that March 1 occurred on a Friday in the year the photo was taken. Since March 1 fell on Fridays in 1907, 1912, and 1918, the photo probably either dates to 1912, when Elias was 20 years old, or to 1918 (the year he died), when he was 26. It's less likely, I would think, that the photo was taken in 1907, when Elias was only 15.

A Google Books search turned up the Pennsylvania State Education Association's Report of Proceedings for 1919, pp. 64-65, which included his name in a list of educators who passed away in 1918 and noted that he "died in camp." The report explained the circumstances: "During the year just closed war and disease exacted from us a heavy toll. Influenza proved a veritable scourge.... It left in its wake sorrow and sadness. More than one hundred teachers of the State were victims of its deadly attack."

Another book, York County and the World War (1920), p. 124, relates that Elias was drafted into the army during the last months of World War I (1914-1918) and confirms that he died of flu: "Private Elias M. Baugher. U. S. Infantry, Camp Lee, Va. Private Baugher was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Freeman Baugher of near Jefferson, York County, Pa. He left for Camp Lee, June 24, 1918, with the third County quota of drafted men, where he died of influenza. Prior to entering the service he was engaged in farming in Frederick County, Md. Interment was made at the Chestnut Grove Church of the Brethren. He was 26 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by three brothers and three sisters besides his parents."

So it turns out that Elias M. Baugher, a young teacher drafted into the army, fell victim to the 1918 flu pandemic, which, unlike other influenza outbreaks, "killed predominantly previously healthy young adults." As detailed in The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia, Camp Lee, located in Petersburg, Virginia, just 25 miles from Richmond, was home to almost 48,000 soldiers. The camp experienced its first case of the flu on September 13, 1918, and by September 19 there were more than 1,000 cases. Elias died on September 25, and the flu epidemic continued to rage locally in Camp Lee and then in Richmond. Influenza afflicted the country and the world in a global pandemic during the remaining months of 1918 and on into the following year.

* Ren.Art *, Les's Photography AKA aligeeach, Buttons McTavish, corduroy cat and 5 other people have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Smiley Derleth
Smiley Derleth
Great research into this image. Thanks for sharing.
5 years ago.
spacemouses
spacemouses
I quite like that heating stove!
5 years ago.
Alan Mays
Alan Mays
Thanks, all, for your comments and likes! Apart from the teacher's sad story, I find the furnishings of the classroom quite interesting. The design of the stove, in particular, seems unique, and evidently it got hot enough that it was necessary to place the shielding around it to protect students.
5 years ago.
lisabee73
lisabee73
A fascinating story, but how tragic. I like the details in the photo too.
5 years ago.
Alan Mays has replied to lisabee73
Thanks very much!
5 years ago.