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Monday, October 1, 2012

Death in the Family: 1918 Spanish Flu

More people died from the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza pandemic than died from World War I. One of those influenza deaths was in our family. The first husband of Lupe Torres (the youngest daughter of Crespin and Andreita) was just 24 years old when he died. His name was Jose Gallegos.

This pandemic was unusual in that it struck young and healthy people in their 20s and 30s. In New Mexico, the Spanish Flu was at its worst in October 1918.

By Oct. 26, 1918, 15,000 New Mexican residents had been stricken by the illness and more than 1,000 were dead, according to the State Historian.

Jose Gallegos’ case followed the pattern. According to his death certificate, Jose H. Gallegos died of influenza in Albuquerque on Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. He had been in Albuquerque less than a week and died in a home at 1224 Barelas Road. Presumably, he went to Albuquerque when he got sick. The death certificate said he was buried in Socorro. Jose and Lupe had been married only five years. They didn’t have any children.