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.
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).
The Read Zone Memorial Park marks only a portion of the “old grounds”. A 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