Thirty-one-year-old machinist, Albert Alfson (b.1872) brought his nineteen year old girlfriend home
to spend part of the 1903 holiday with his parents
and siblings in Chicago. He and Margaret /
Marguerite Love lived in Woodstock, IL, about fifty
miles northwest of Chicago. Albert lived in a
boarding house and Margaret’s residence is unknown.
Nineteen-year-old Margaret M. Love (spelled
Marguerite in some reports) was said to be a clerk
in Woodstock. Margaret’s story is vapor thin. The
coroner did not issue a burial permit for her and I
cannot find any information about her burial, where
she lived prior to 1903, or anything about her
family. A few sentences about she and Albert being
buried simultaneously in Woodstock and Chicago was
picked up and repeated verbatim in dozens of books
and magazines but not a drip of additional
information was published about Margaret.
Albert was one of eight children born to carpenter
Alexander (1836-1909) and Fredericka Caroline
Johnson Alfson (1840-1927), natives of Norway and
Sweden, of which seven survived prior to Albert’s
death at the Iroquois. Albert's living siblings in
Clara Alfson Hammersmark (John)
Ella L. Alfson Foster (Charles)
Agnes Alfson Bingham (Theodore)
Ida Marie Alfson Phipps (Frank S.)
Hannah Alfson (d.1953)
John Alfson (d. 1927)
1896-7, before moving to Woodstock, Albert
manufactured bicycles and was a member of a cycling
club. By 1898 he described himself in the city
directory as a machinist. In the accompanying
photo a group of cyclists are gathered for a 1901
race. Albert may have built one of their
bicycles but was probably not at this race because
he had already moved to Woodstock by 1901.
Also in 1896, plaster fell from the ceiling in
Alexander and Fredericka’s house as a result of
blasting for the northwest tunnel in Chicago.
Margaret’s and Albert’s bodies were found at Rolston's mortuary. Albert was identified by his
father and Margaret by Charles A. Ronning, a fellow
Woodstock resident a few years older than Albert and
also of Norwegian descent. Albert’s funeral was held
at his parent's home at 24 Keith St. on Sunday, Jan
3, 1904 at 1 pm. and at the Second Swedish M.E.
Church on May St. with two hundred guests, of which
one hundred twenty five
reportedly came from Woodstock, IL. Albert may have
been buried at Mount Olive.
In the years after the fire
In the eighteen years following the Iroquois fire
Alexander and Ida died, along with two of Ella’s
daughters and one of Clara’s. In 1909 the
family received a $750 settlement from Fuller
Construction, one of only thirty-five awarded.