Eighteen-year-old Henrietta Christian (b.1885)
worked as a clerk and lived with her mother and four
siblings at 6748 Normal Avenue. Her father had
passed away two years earlier.
Henrietta's mother, New York native, Elizabeth
Cooper Markoe Christian (1859-1923), must have
felt she'd been given more than her fair share of
lost one of her six children sometime before
1900. At her husband's early death (he was John St. Clair Christian
1858-1901, a salesman) she was left with five
children aged six to fifteen in a time when there
was no social security, food stamps or other public
assistance. Then in December 1903,
came the Iroquois Theater fire and Henrietta's death.
Elizabeth knew there were dozens of
families in Chicago who had lost more to the
Iroquois Theater fire, and that she was lucky to
have four children remaining, but Henrietta was her
oldest and a breadwinner.
Henrietta's clerking job was
in room 1107 in the new Merchants Loan
and Trust Building at 135 Adams at the corner of
Clark. I failed to learn the name of her
Henrietta's parents named her after her paternal grandmother,
Henrietta Henrietta S. Meanley Christian. Five
years after the fire one of Henrietta's sisters,
Irene (1888-1927), named her first child after
Henrietta: Henrietta Sproul (1908-1971).
Henrietta's uncle, William A. Douglas (1852-1935),
husband of her mother's sister, Eva B. Markol
Douglass (1854-1911), identified her body. Services were held at St. Bartholomew Episcopal church on 68th and Stewart (today's Truevine Missionary Baptist Church) in Englewood.
in an unmarked space in the family plot at Mount Greenwood Cemetery in