Thirty-one-year-old machinist, Albert Alfson (b.1872) brought his
eighteen-year-old girlfriend home
to spend part of the 1903 holiday with his parents
and siblings in Chicago. He and Margaret /
Marguerite Love (b.1885) lived in Woodstock, IL, about fifty
miles northwest of Chicago. Albert lived in a
boarding house; Margaret's address is not known.
Nineteen-year-old Margaret May Love (spelled
Marguerite in some reports), nicknamed Maggie, was
said to be a clerk in Woodstock. She was the
daughter of Scottish immigrant Watson D. Craighead /
Greighead Ronning Love (1853-1930) and Watson's
second husband, Irish immigrant William A. Love
(1832-1892), a veteran of the American Civil War.
Maggie was nine years old when her father died,
making her eligible to receive his veteran's
By 1903 Watson was married to
William B. Henri, a fresco painter, and living in
Delavan, Wisconsin. Maggie lived with them in
Delavan at least three years before her death.
Through her mother's three marriages Maggie had five
half brothers and sisters.
Other than a few sentences about
Margaret and Albert being
buried simultaneously in Woodstock and Chicago, that
picked up and repeated verbatim in dozens of books
and magazines, nothing was reported 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 Arthur Ronning
(1879-1917), her half brother (born to Watson and
her first husband, Norway native Peter Ronning
1851-1881) and a fellow
Woodstock resident. Five years old when Maggie
was born, of her half siblings, Charles was closest
to her in age. Her only sister, Nellie, was by
1903 married and possibly already living in
Milwaukee where she and her husband settled.
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.