Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stockyards Fire Anniversary: Who Died in the Fire 100 Years Ago?

An article by Becky Schlikerman on the Chicago Tribune website--100 years since Stockyards fire raged--caught my eye this morning and turned my attention to a fire that happened in the city's stock yards one hundred years ago tomorrow. The fire marshal, James Horan, was killed in the blaze and his descendants will commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy with a wreath ceremony.

Mr. Horan's death certificate is available at FamilySearch and we can learn a lot about him from that record. He was born in Chicago in 1859, the son of Irish immigrants, and he had served the city as a fireman just short of thirty years at the time of his death. Notice how the names of the cemetery and undertaker are written. Is it possible that the family had a difficult time deciding where Mr. Horan would be buried? Or perhaps someone mistakenly wrote the wrong information and then corrected it? The informant, Daniel Horan, was Mr. Horan's brother and I can imagine him stepping in to help the grieving widow.

Today's article says that the fire "left behind 19 widows and 35 orphaned children" and I wondered who those unnamed people were. I searched the Chicago Tribune at Footnote.com and found several articles mentioning funerals for the men who were killed. Twenty-four people died as a result of the fire, twenty-three on December 22 and one on December 23. Twenty-one of them, members of the Chicago Fire Department, are memorialized on a monument at the Chicago Union Stockyards. Of the remaining three, two were "firemen" employed by Morris & Co.--Andrew Dymuran and Patrick Realph--and one was a messenger boy, Stephen Leen.

The Illinois Statewide Death Index entries for those who died in the fire are listed below. Click on the small images next to the death index entries to view the death certificates. (I located the records on FamilySearch using a database called Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922).

BRANDENBURG, HERMANN G 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 41 YR 00001591

BURROUGHS, WILLIAM J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 46 YR 00001592

COLLINS, PATRICK E 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 47 YR 00002883

COSTELLO, THOMAS J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 30 YR 00002882

CRANE, NICHOLAS 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 36 YR 00002884

DANIS, EDWARD J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 46 YR 00003820

DOYLE, DENNIS 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 51 YR 00003819

DOYLE, NICHOLAS D 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 27 YR 00003821

DYMURAN, ANDREW 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 23 YR 00003822

ENTHOF, GEORGE C 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 30 YR 00004369

FITZGERALD, JAMES J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 31 YR 00005280

LANNON, ALEXANDER D 1910-12-23 CHICAGO 39 YR 00010632

LEEN, STEPHEN 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 16 YR 00010631

MCINERNEY, MICHAEL F 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 33 YR 00012830

MOORE, CHARLES N 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 28 YR 00021038

MORIARITY, ALBERT J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 34 YR 00012040

MURASKI, GEORGE F 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 42 YR 00012039

POWERS, PETER J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 34 YR 00014890

REALPH, PATRICK J 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 25 YR 00016424

SCHORSETTE, EDWARD D 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 27 YR 00018188

STURM, WILLIAM G 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 42 YR 00018189

WALTERS, FRANK W 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 57 YR 00021124

WEBER, WILLIAM F 1910-12-22 CHICAGO 35 YR 00021125

I haven't looked at these records carefully yet but it seems to me that each death certificate linked above will tell a story worth remembering--just like Mr. Horan's does.


If you're interested in learning more about the fire and its aftermath, the Chicago Tribune is a good place to start. Here are a few things that I learned as I searched through articles:

*Mourning clothes were provided to survivors free of charge by Charles A. Stevens' company. Employees went to the homes to take orders and measurements. (24 Dec 1910, p. 2, col. 6)

*Dennis and Nicholas Doyle were father and son. (24 Dec 1910, p. 2, col. 7)

*"Phone girls" handled a record number of calls during the incident. A number of them had relatives who died in the fire. (23 Dec 1910, p. 5, col. 6)


Linda Hoffman Kimball said...

What a sad Christmas that must have been for so many families. Thanks (once again) for revealing the lives and stories behind the facts.

Anonymous said...

I like that you notice not just the bare facts but such things as likely "help" on the certificate for the widow and so on. To be a good historian or genealogist needs that good talent. Thank you.

I will have to look at Powers family tree - some of ours from Tipp were in Chicago at that time.

Thanks for your great information, really enjoy the blog.

Bonnie S said...

Interesting and heartbreaking. I did not know abut the fire, and was looking for other info on Armour & Co, as my father and his father both worked there. My grandfather would have been working at Armour during this time period.

Tina Fries said...

Thank you for sharing, as Peter Powers was my daughters and husbands great grandfather on my husbands mothers side.

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