Omer Morency

Paige Rotondo

Brianna Molten

Ashley Paron

Omer Morency 


Omer Morency was born in Salem, Massachusetts on November 11th, 1897. His father, Ferdinand Morency moved to the United States from Quebec, Canada before the year 1897. Quebec, Canada’s native language is French, therefore we can infer that Ferdinand Morency probably spoke French as his native language. As for Omer Morency, we can infer that he probably spoke English, but may have known French from his father as well. Omer Morency’s mother’s name was Augustine Provost, but not much is currently known about her. The family lived at 35 Palmer Street in Salem, MA where the current Point neighborhood now resides. Today, the Point neighborhood is lively, with many different cultures and influence from other countries. The Point neighborhood has always been a place of many different cultures, as it is an accessible port for many immigrants to enter. The easy accessibility, diversity, and pathways to opportunity are most likely a few of the reasons the Morency family resided on Palmer Street in Salem.

When taking a closer look at Omer Morency and his personal life, there is not much to tell. As Morency had passed at such a young age, he was single and never married. Through researching, it seems as though Morency resided at his families 35 Palmer Street house in Salem, Massachusetts; and it is hard to tell if Morency had an occupation other than serving in the Navy. We can infer from our research that because Morency was only 21 when he passed, he probably didn’t work outside of working in the Navy.

By the age of 20, Omer Morency started his service in the U.S. military, naval branch. Morency was a first-class fireman for the USNRF until the outbreak of the Spanish influenza in Boston during 1917-1918. Morency served for the USNRF from May 23rd, 1917- Sep. 18,1918 when he died. The USNRF is the reserve team of the Navy, and because Morency was a part of this team for only a short amount of time before he passed, it is likely he never went to another country to serve the United. The Spanish Influenza effected many men serving in the Navy during this time period.

Morency died in Chelsea, Massachusetts at the Chelsea Naval Hospital. Chelsea Naval hospital was the longest running naval hospital until it shut down in 1974. This hospital was authorized by Congress to accommodate Naval personnel, such as Omer Morency. This hospital served Naval personnel from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, the Chelsea fire of 1908, WWI, and WWII.This hospital relates to Omer Morency, as records show Morency stayed and passed here. He was buried in Salem, Massachusetts, but his gravestone location is unknown.

Secondary Sources

Article 1-Taubenberger, Jeffery K. “The Origin and Virulence of the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza Virus.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 150, no. 1 (2006): 86-112.

This journal article explains the pandemic of the Spanish Influenza that took place in 1918 and 1919, which took the lives of about 40 million people. The source describes what the Spanish Influenza was, who it effected, and how people lived on after the pandemic. The Spanish Influenza was the first of two pandemics involving the H1N1 virus, and many deaths resulted from the virus. The source described that the influenza pandemic was wide spread and took place across the world, and also discussed the history of influenza and how it effected the United States directly.

The article explains that the first wave of the virus occurred in March 1918 and the second wave of the virus occurred between September and November of 1918. Specifically, the source indicates that this strain of influenza killed 43,000 men who were set to serve in WWI. The journal article goes on to explain the symptoms of the virus, and how this played into the morality rate. Overall, the article touches upon the ideas of what the Spanish Influenza was, who it effected, and finally how it was treated. This source when trying to understand Omer Morency was, as our group is able to understand the virus that caused Morency and many other WWI veteran’s deaths.

Article 2-Ohl, John K. “The Navy, the War Industries Board, and the Industrial Mobilization for War, 1917-1918.” Military Affairs 40, no. 1 (1976): 17-22. doi:10.2307/1986844.

This article written by John K. Ohl reveals the different patterns that the Navy presented and established within the industry and how they came out to be sound.  Before the year of 1917, the military and industrial sectors were isolated making the functions between them unorganized.  For the military, by rule, they had to spill and share their plans of executions and numerous supply programs.  They had to share this with the War Industries Board (WIB). Before war was even formed the Navy began an orderly expansion that involved many ships, men and women.  In addition the WIB had distrust with the Navy resulting in general distrust of businessman.  Therefore the business-dominated society was also in lack of distrust.  At the time businessmen were traveling to Washington to have the government in mobilization.  If the Navy wanted to list services they used the tactic of “outside talent with inside control.”  The Navy had a big area of disagreement with the WIB and that was the cost of war supplies.  The Navy was at their best going to ensure the lowest prices and prevent over exchanging anyone.

In conclusion, since the Navy and the WIB had many conflicts over the years, they were able to work and compensate together in the end.  The relations between the were more affable unlike the Army and the WIB.  More work remains with the Navy and Industrial Mobilization in World War I and including will be more production programs with examination in the planning of the near future.

Article 3-University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine, “The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919”:Influenza Encyclopedia.

This article, written and published by Michigan Publishing and the University of Michigan, gives a huge insight into the epidemic of the Spanish Influenza right here in Boston, Massachusetts. About 2,000 sailors coming back on the Receiving Ship into Boston fell very ill by the time they got to shore. Chelsea Naval Hospital, where Omer Morency also fell ill of influenza, took in as many ill sailors as they could. Boston was one of the most dramatically effected cities when it came down to the Influenza outbreak, losing roughly 4,700 citizens just in the fall of 1918. There was little the city could do to stop the epidemic, but they still tried to get a handle on it.

At this time, there was a very high demand for doctors and nurses to help see patients at home, and in hospitals. Some nurses visited hundreds of patients a day during these rough times. The city of Boston was under a lot of pressure with hundreds of citizens dying of pneumonia caused by the influenza, to the point where the city had to be shut down. Schools, theaters, and many public spaces were closed down for three weeks so physicians could get a hold on the epidemic. By closing down the city, it helped to slow down the spread of the disease, but these were still devastating times for Bostonians.




“Family Search.” Accessed May 02, 2017. %2Bsurname%3AMorency~.

“Military Emergency, Fire & Rescue Careers.” Military Emergency, Fire & Rescue Careers : Accessed May 02, 2017. Hospital Boston Historic District (Chelsea Naval Hospital), featured in Maritime History of Massachusetts–A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Ohl, John K. “The Navy, the War Industries Board, and the Industrial Mobilization for War, 1917-1918.” Military Affairs 40, no. 1 (1976): 17-22. doi:10.2307/1986844.

Influenza spread in US Navy September 1918. Accessed May 02, 2017.

Taubenberger, Jeffery K. “The Origin and Virulence of the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza Virus.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 150, no. 1 (2006): 86-112.

Michigan Publishing (Ed.). (n.d.). Influenza Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 04, 2017, from of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine

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