Oct. 9-12, 1871: 117 Unclaimed and Unknown in the morgue

On a very somber note, there were as many as 300 deaths between October 7-10 as a result of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.city-cem-fire

In addition, on October 8, 1871 a massive forest fire began in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It was the deadliest wildfire in American history, with estimated deaths of around 1,500 people, possibly as many as 2,500.

Shortly after the Chicago Fire:

:“The dead bodies were gathered up as soon as possible by the coroner and given interment at the county burying-ground”

Reference: book -” Chicago and the great Conflagration”

I would like to focus on these 117 souls who died in Chicago and were determined at the time to be either unknown or unclaimed,  taken to a temporary morgue on Milwaukee Avenue.

Days later, the Cook County Coroner then brought them out to the County ground, later known as the old grounds section of Cook County Cemetery at Dunning for burial. On today’s map the old grounds of the cemetery where the Chicago Fire victims rest, is located just northwest of the intersection of Irving Park Road (4000 north) and Narragansett Avenue (6400 west).
septamtrak 079

The Read Zone Memorial Park marks only a portion of the “old grounds”. fire_victims_450vA bronze plaque remembers those 117 victims.  The “new grounds” of 5.7 acres, opened in 1890 and is located on and near Oak Park avenue, just west of Irving Park. See www.cookcountycemetery.com and a free searchable database of some 8,000 of the 38,000 buried there.

 

“The loss of life in the fire was estimated as not less than three hundred, and the bodies of the dead, as far as they could be found, were put in the county burial ground”

Reference: J. Seymour Currer Volume two, 1912

more morgue oct 12 tribAccording to the Chicago Tribune, a temporary morgue was set up in a livery stable at 64 Milwaukee Avenue on Monday morning, October 9th, 1871. In contrast,  a book “The Great Chicago Fire” by Robert Cromie, 1958, it is stated that the morgue was set up on Tuesday, October 10, 1871.  Cromie reports 120 bodies recovered and official total death count between 200-300. According to Chicago and the Great Conflagration, 1872, by Elias Colbert and Everett Chamberlin deaths were estimated at near three hundred by Coroner Stephens and Dr. Benjamin C. Miller, county Physician. This estimate does not include still born children.

Many of the bodies were so disfigured and badly burned so that sex could not be determined. One or two bodies of the forty were “quite untouched” by fire having died from suffocation. Twelve arrived from Wesson Street (later renamed Cambridge Avenue 506 west)  alone. They were “all ticketed by the coroner, showing precisely where found.”

In another account, “no less than seventy charred bodies” were lying at the further end of the stable. Of the seventy it was said that only four were of human form, the others burned ” out of all shape.”

firefireAccording to the Chicago Tribune, most bodies were found in the vicinity of Chicago Avenue (800 north) and the Chicago river. Cromie mentioned an additional location, that being the “narrow dead end streets near Wesson and Townsend (later renamed to Hudson Ave 435 west), a little farther north. When the Chicago Avenue bridge (800 north) was closed, many turned toward Division (1200 north) on those streets and were trapped.” He states that there were also deaths in the South Division.

On October 17, 1871the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Workmen are engaged in removing the debris from a large portion of the burn district and it is thought that in a day or two many bodies will be found”.

The morgue within the livery stable at 64 Milwaukee of course is long gone, as well as that segment of Milwaukee Avenue. Further, the address no longer exists because it was based upon an old street numbering system that was used only until about 1909.

If that segment of Milwaukee still existed, 64 Milwaukee would translate to about 324 N Milwaukee using today’s numbering system, and best be estimated to be somewhat south of Kinzie (400 north) near Canal (500 west).

In respectful remembrance of this terrible disaster, this is what we know about those unknown and unclaimed. We have a few names below, and with few exceptions, we have few or no details. Here is a list of the unclaimed or unknown Chicago Fire victims. They were buried in the old grounds of  Cook County Cemetery at Dunning. May they all be not forgotten:

Beart, George Chicago Fire Victim, October 11-12 1871, An employee  found at Lill’s Distillery , corner of Pine (now Michigan Avenue) and Chicago Avenue (800 north). George was born in 1839 in Burlingham, Norfolk, England, the husband of Louisa. He left a wife Elizabeth Anna Gibson born 1839, a daughter Louisa born 1862, a daughter Laura born 1866 and a son George Albert born 1870.

Colgate, J., Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found on Illinois Street (500 north) near Market Street (now Orleans Street 326 West)

Connelly, Mary Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871,found on at the Erie Street Bathhouse

Davelin, Mary, Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found on Jackson (300 South) near Clinton (530 west). There are two persons with this name in the 1870 census. Mary born about 1830, wife of Bernard, and her daughter, also Mary born about 1863 It is not known whether either of these are the Mary who died.

Dewey, Howard Pease., Chicago Fire Victim, found on 125 Dearborn Street (50 west). near Madison (North and south). A man named Dewey, whose office was in Speeds Block, was seen to jump from the window of the fourth story, into the Dearborn schoolyard, to escape being burned to death. He was carried into the Buck & Raynor’s drugstore, , where he died in a few moments. As that establishment was soon after burned, his body must have been consumed. He leaves to children on the west side.” He was born October 11, 1818 in, Grafton, New Hampshire, the son of Jesse Dewey and Jane Dow.

Elloon, Edward, Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, “committed suicide by cutting his throat.”

Fryeburg, Frank Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, “A Swede, 32 years, run over by a train Chicago and Northwestern Railroad”

Lunt, Martin, Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, Assistant Bridgetender, at Erie street (660 north) The Chicago tribune of October 17, 1871 writes: “…jumped from a boat in which were his household goods which he was taking to a place of safety, and was drowned.”

McIntosh, Mary Miss, Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found on on Illinois Street (500 north), jumped from 4th floor.  

Meurer, Charles Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found at 170 (old numbering) Maxwell Street (1320 South), thrown from a wagon.

O’Brien, Daniel , Stabbed by an Italian during the Chicago Fire October 8-12 1871

Ready, Michael , Stabbed by an Italian during the Chicago Fire October 8-12 1871

Ullman, Henry J, born 1827, Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found on Clark Street (100 West), between Madison (0 north and south)and Monroe (100 South), banker, of William Ullman & Co. Found dead in the Sherman House, another source suggests that his body may have been sent later to Racine Wisconsin for burial. [another article said he was found in the street]

Wessacher, Male Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, who lived on Oak Street (1000 north)

Wolf, (first name Unknown) – Chicago Fire Victim, October 8-12 1871, found on Harrison Street (600 south) near Jefferson Street (600 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #1, male, found at ruins on Grant Street (1536 north renamed Germania) near LaSalle Street (150 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #2, male, found on State Street (1 west) between Monroe Street (100 south) and Adams (200 south)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #3, male, found on State Street (1 west) between Monroe Street (100 south) and Adams (200 south)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #4, male, about 25 years old, found In Chicago River near Chicago Ave bridge

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #5, found on southeast corner Oak Street (1000 north) and Wesson ( now Cambridge Avenue 506 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #6, found on Erie (660 north), east of Kingsbury (374 West)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #7 found on corner of Hurlbut (later renamed Cleveland 500 west) and Linden (later renamed Eugenie 1700 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #8, found on North Ave (1600 north), near Sedgewick (400 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #9, found on Kingsbury (374 west), between Huron (700 north) and Superior (731 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #10, found at 251 (Old numbering system) Fifth Ave, now Wells Street (200 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #11, found on corner of Market and Randolph (150 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #12, found on East side of Wesson (later renamed Cambridge Avenue 506 west) ran between 800-1200 north, just east of Larrabee) near Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #13, found on West side Bremer (now Cleveland 500 west) near Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #14, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #15, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #16, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #17, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #18, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #19, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #20, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #21, found on Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) between Chicago (800 north) and Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #22, found on SE corner of Bremer (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west)  and Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #23, found on NW corner Wesson (now Cambridge Avenue 506 west) and Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #24, found on Kingsbury (374 west) near Erie (660 north) this man or woman had crawled out the basement of the house and died on the embankment near the sidewalk.

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #25, found on east side of Hubey (street not found on burn map) between Sedgewick (400 west)  and Townsend Street (now Hudson Avenue 435 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #26, found on east side Hubey (street not found on burn map), 2 doors west of Sedgewick (400 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #27, found on east side Fifth Ave (now Wells Street 200 west) near Adams (200 south)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #28, found on east side Fifth Ave (renamed Wells  200 west) near Adams (200 south)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #29, found on Bremer, (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #30, found on Bremer, (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #31, found on Bremer,(later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #32, found on Bremer, (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #33, found on east side of Townsend, (later renamed to Hudson Ave) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #34, found on east side of Townsend (later renamed to Hudson Ave), south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #35, found on east side of Townsend, (later renamed to Hudson Ave) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #36, found on Kingsbury (374 west) near Market

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #37, found at the Iron works on Erie (660 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #38, found on Townsend (later renamed to Hudson Ave 435 west) near Hubbard (440 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #39, found on Lafayette (renamed Dearborn 29 west) near North Ave (1600 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #40, found on Webster (2200 north) near the lakeshore

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #41, found on Illinois (500 north) near the Lake Shore Iron Works

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #42, found on Illinois (500 north) near the Lake Shore Iron Works

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #43, found on Illinois (500 north) near the Lake Shore Iron Works

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #44, found on Ohio Street (600 north), near Kingsbury (374 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #45, an adult male found on State Street (1 west) on the west side of the street, at the second door south of the alley, on the NW corner of Adams (200 south) and State.

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #46, an adult male found on State Street on the west side of the street, at the fourth door south of the alley, on the NW corner of Adams (200 south) and State.

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #47, found at 63 Fourth Avenue (LaSalle 150 West)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #48, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north), near Market

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #49, found in a basement on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #50, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #51, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #52, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #53, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #54, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #55, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #56, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #57, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #58, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #59, found on Chicago Avenue (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #60, found on corner of Sedgewick (400 west) and Chicago (800 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #61, found on Sherman (renamed Financial Place 157 west) near Van Buren (400 south)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #62, found in a pipe at the waterworks

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #63, found at 249 State (1 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #64, found on the corner of Dearborn (50 west) and Illinois (500 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #65, found on Wesson Street,  (later renamed Cambridge Avenue which ran between 800-1200 north, just east of Larrabee)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #66, found on Wesson Street (later renamed Cambridge Avenue, which ran between 800-1200 north, just east of Larrabee)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #67, found on Wesson Street (later renamed Cambridge Avenue which ran between 800-1200 north, just east of Larrabee)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #68, found on Wesson Street (later renamed Cambridge Avenue which ran between 800-1200 north, just east of Larrabee)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #69, found on the prairie west of North Ave Bridge

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #70, found on Dearborn (50 west) between Ohio (600 north) and Ontario (620 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #71, found at Erie (660 north) and Dearborn (50 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #72, found at Erie (660 north)  and Dearborn (50 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #73, male, found on South Water St, near Clark (100 west) , by falling wall

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #74, male, found on South Water St, near Clark (100 west), by falling wall

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #75, found on corner of Ontario and Clark (100 west)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #76, found at 514 North Clark 100 west (Old street numbering system)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #77, found on East side of Bremer, (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #78, found on East side of Bremer, (later renamed to Cleveland Ave 500 west) south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #79, found on East side of Bremer (renamed to Cleveland  500 west), south of Oak (1000 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #80, found on Lafayette (renamed Dearborn 29 west), near North Avenue (1600 north)

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #81, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #82, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #83, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #84, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #85, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #86, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #87, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #88, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #89, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #90, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #91, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #92, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #93, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #94, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #95, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #96, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #97, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #98, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #99, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #100, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #101, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #102, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #103, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #104, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #105, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #106, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #107, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #108, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #109, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #110, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #111, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #112, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #113, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #114, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #115, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #116, no further information known

Unknown Chicago Fire Victim #117, no further information known

 

May they all rest in peace.

4 thoughts on “Oct. 9-12, 1871: 117 Unclaimed and Unknown in the morgue”

      1. No problem. My 2nd great-grandfather is said to have been adopted after the fire, so I’ve spent nearly 20 years trying to find his parents. Jacob Wolf is a potential father as I and cousins from that line have Wolf DNA matches, but nothing is conclusive yet.

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  1. PS:

    It appears that Frank Fryeburg was in fact Nels Frank Freeberg/Friberg, born abt 1839/1840 in Sweden, a carpenter for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway (according to Chicago City Directories). His wife was named Charlotte and she was born abt 1846 in Sweden; children Albertina, born abt 1867 in IL, and son Edward, born abt 1869 in IL. Living with them on the 1870 census was one Charles Svenson, born abt 1843 in Sweden, possibly brother to Charlotte. My and my cousins’ DNA indicates that we are part Swedish so it’s possible that my 2nd great-grandfather was Swedish, so I’ve been looking into Freeberg too.

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