1918 photo of American Red Cross nurses at Camp Custer between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. (Photo courtesy of Archives of Michigan)
Over the course of 35 days, 674 soldiers from Camp Custer ended up in pine boxes.
918 ‘SPANISH FLU’ AT CAMP CUSTER
Timeline compiled through notes of former Enquirer and Evening News reporter Ross Coller
Sept. 29: The Spanish flu hits Camp Custer.
Sept. 30: 557 cases of flu reported at Camp Custer.
Oct. 1: 804 new flu cases reported at Camp Custer. Average 50 new cases an hour. No deaths yet reported.
Oct. 2: 12 deaths of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 3: 9 deaths of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 4: 16 die of flu at Camp Custer. 5,000 are ill.
Oct. 5: 20 die of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 6: 24 die of flu at Camp Custer
Oct. 7: 26 die of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 9: 45 deaths in 24 hours at Camp Custer. Pneumonia has become an added menace.
Oct. 10: 59 die from flu in Camp Custer.
Oct. 11: 90 deaths in 24 hours reported at Camp Custer.
Oct. 12: 63 deaths from flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 13: 48 flu deaths at Camp Custer… Five churches here cancel Sunday services because of epidemic.
Oct. 14: Camp Custer reports 56 deaths from flu.
Oct. 15: 40 die of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 16: 42 die of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 17: City schools go into general quarantine due to flu and are suspended through Oct. 28.
Oct. 18: 16 soldiers and a nurse die at Camp Custer.
Oct. 19: 22 die of flu at Camp Custer.
Oct. 20: 10 more deaths at Camp Custer brings total to 620 soldiers and two nurses in three-week flu epidemics, with 16 additional deaths in 24-hour period.
Oct. 22: Intra-camp quarantine ends at Camp Custer.
Oct. 23: 4 flu deaths at Camp Custer mark end of epidemic.
Nov. 7: Health quarantine raised to permit soldiers to enter Battle Creek
Source : Nick Buckley, “Coronavirus: Lessons of the 1918 flu pandemic that claimed 674 soldiers at Camp Custer“, Battle Creek Enquirer, March 5, 2020.