NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In an historical perspective, this year's flu season was easy.

Just compare it to the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic, one of humankind's deadliest disasters. It infected 500 million people around the world and caused the deaths of about four percent of the world's population.

Brian Armstrong, the President of the South River Historical Society, will speak about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic at the New Brunswick Historical Society's Thursday, February 22 meeting at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be in the Henry Guest House, 58 Livingston Avenue. Armstrong has written and spoken extensively about New Jersey during World War I.

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One of the victims of the epidemic is buried in Willow Grove Cemetery behind the Henry Guest House, New Brunswick’s Unknown Soldier. This soldier never saw combat and died during the flu epidemic of 1918 while stationed at Fort Dix.

His remains were returned to New Brunswick but his family never came to claim his body so he was placed in a vault. James Neilson and the local VFW heard about the unclaimed, unidentifiable soldier and buried him in at Willow Grove.

The burial took place in the summer of 1930 with full military honors. The VFW still places American Flags around the plot.

Future Programs of the New Brunswick Historical Society:

  • March 22: Kimberly Tryba on Camp Kilmer.
  • April 26: Tour of the Schanck Observatory.
  • May 24: Tour of the Rutgers Geology Museum.