An Old Store at St. Peter’s

Old store at St. Peters

There is still standing  today an old dilapidated building just above the old Luther Wellmon house, which is adjacent to St. Peter’s Church in Cleveland County, NC.  I am not for sure who owned and ran the store, but it may have been the Wellmon’s.  Anyway, during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918-1919 you could go to the store to purchase your staple items, but you could not get in the door.  My father, Dixon Cook, told his family about the owners letting a basket down from a little window from the top with your groceries in it.  The epidemic was so severe and so many died that they were not taking any chances of catching it.  It is noted that 3%-6% of the global population died from this type of influenza A.  This pandemic has been given the name “the greatest medical holocaust in history” and may have caused more deaths than “Black Death.”  The symptoms were so unusual in 1918 that initially flu was misdiagnosed as dengue, tuberculosis, cholera or typhoid.  Complications from this Spanish flu were hemorrhages from the mucous membranes, especially the nose, stomach and intestines.  Bleeding from the ears and skin also occurred. The majority of deaths were from bacterial pneumonia.  World War I was going on at that time also, and worked to spread the disease in the camps.  In October, 1918 there were 25 deaths in Cleveland County and in November there were 57 deaths in Rutherford County. All total there were 13,600 deaths from the Spanish influenza in North Carolina alone.



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