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McElhinney, Hayes, Reynolds & the 1918 Flu Pandemic

Robert Noble Dixon McElhinney (1852-1918)

Florence Hayes McElhinney (1857-1941)

Robert Chester McElhinney (1893-1894)

Edna McElhinney Reynolds (1887-1918)


Robert McElhinney was born in Nova Scotia on March 22, 1852. He became a carpenter and arrived in Norwood sometime before 1880. He married Florence Hayes on March 1, 1883 in Norwood. Florence Hayes was born on May 18, 1857. The couple had three children. Mary Olive, in 1883, Edna Marie in 1887, and Robert Chester in 1893. The family lived at 152 Nahatan Street.


The McElhinney home site on Nahatan St. as it appears in 2019.

Their son Robert Chester only lived less than a year; he died on February 2, 1894 due to a failure to thrive. He was interred in Old Parish Cemetery.


On April 18, 1918, Robert McElhinney died of tuberculosis of the spine. He was 66.


Edna Reynolds became a telephone operator in Norwood and was the chief operator for the Norwood Telephone Company. On November 30, 1913 she married Lewis Reynolds. It was his second marriage. On September 27, 1918, Edna gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. Edna M. Reynolds was 31 when she died at the Norwood Hospital on October 1, 1918, a matter of days after her daughter was born. Her death occurred during the 1918 influenza epidemic which hit Norwood particular hard.


According to her obituary in the Norwood Messenger, Edna’s “strong personality and pleasant manner won her many friends.” She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Odd Fellows and had been secretary for the organization for many terms. She “had a very large circle of friends by whom she was highly regarded and she was held in high esteem by all who knew her.” The newspaper continued, “In her home life she was a loving and dutiful daughter and a well-beloved wife.” She is the only 1918 influenza epidemic victim buried at Old Parish. Lewis Reynolds also became ill from influenza but eventually recovered. He later remarried.


The only victim of the 1918 flu pandemic interred in Old Parish Cemetery

Florence Hayes McElhinney died in 1941.



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