Montage: Hart family photos. (left) Mary Josephine and brother George Hart; (middle) George Hart; and (right) George Hart family. Credit: Carolyn Wood Hart.
In the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts, three Hart family members (Lois Augusta Shute Hart, widow of Henry Jackson Hart, and her two daughters Harriet Augusta and Mary Josephine), residing at 3 Fruit Street, died within a week of each other. At the same time the only surviving male heir, Lois’ son George Albert Hart, barely escaped the deadly illness.
Before the 1918 Influenza, rightfully called “the Mother of All Pandemics,” another epidemic of grip (influenza and pneumonia) swept over the United States. The nation’s death rate rose sharply due to this respiratory disease epidemic, which lasted between December 1915 and January 1917.
One of Massachusetts’ oldest blood lines, the Hart family, almost perished due to the grip. The ancestral line can be traced back to Governor John Endicott, Elizabeth Hutchinson Hart (targeted in the Salem 1692 witch hysteria), and notable New England forebears like Gilbert Tapley, Henry Lunt, and Captain John Putnam.
But the grip nearly ended this family line, leaving only one member left alive.
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