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One Hundred Years Ago...


A two year long influenza outbreak was afflicting the United States. Over 1,000 new cases were reported in New York alone on January 22, 1920, in a twenty four hour time period - an increase of 538 from the day before. It became known as one of history's deadliest epidemics. From 1918 to 1920 it affected over 500 million people worldwide and took the lives of more than 50 million people. 5% of the world's population was lost.


Prohibition began one hundred years ago this week.


The suffrage movement, a decades long fight for women's right to vote, received a blow this week one hundred years ago. The Mississippi State Legislature rejected the women's suffrage amendment after ten minutes of debate. According to the New York Times, cheers and laughter erupted after the women's suffrage amendment was voted down.


The Chesapeake Bay froze over causing problems as ice built up.


New York experienced a snow storm across the central and northern part of the state, crippling trains and growing huge drifts.


And in the small Finger Lakes hamlet of Springwater, a 38 year old man named Floyd Ingraham was suffering with acute appendicitis.


In a snow storm, Ingraham's neighbors and friends rushed to clear drifts so that horses and a sleigh could transport him to the nearest hospital in Dansville, 15 miles away. The community who loved him came together to save him. Ingraham's appendix burst and he died three days later on January 22, 1920.


Floyd Ingraham, a husband, and father of a young son, died one hundred years ago today.


His death might seem insignificant as, by all accounts, Ingraham was an ordinary man from a small rural community. He was a stone mason and performed odd jobs for his neighbors. He was the son of a mail carrier and berry farmer. He married his sweetheart, Anna, in 1909 and they lived with his parents in a house that still stands. But sometime in the early 1900s Floyd picked up a camera.






The scope of his legacy wouldn't be known until almost one hundred years later when his original glass negatives were obtained by my friend Paul Holbrook. I have had the privilege of working with Paul, members of the Springwater-Webster Crossing Historical Society and the Ingraham family on a project that I hope to introduce to you in the future.


Here is a sneak peek at what one man left behind before his untimely death - snapshots of the past and a visual history of rural small town America at the start of the twentieth century.




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Floyd and Anna. The day he died was her 29th birthday.



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* Images courtesy of Paul Holbrook, used with permission.

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