year old Canadian, Annie Hedges Bergch (b.
1871), and her eleven-year-old son Arthur James Bergch
Jr. (b. 1892) lost their lives at the Iroquois
Theater on December 30, 1903.
Arthur senior was injured while trying to escape
through a window on Couch Place but survived to spend the rest of his life living with the guilt of
surviving while his wife and son perished.
Anna was the daughter of James and Mary Lumber
Hedges, both born in England. She and Arthur
Jr. were the wife and son of Arthur Bergch (1862-1962),
a former student at Notre Dame University and in
1903 vice president at tobacco
wholesaler E. Hoffman Co. at 187 Madison in Chicago.
A second child, Edward George Bergch (c1899-), did
not attend the theater. In 1903 Annie and Arthur had
been married for twelve years and the family lived at 4926 Champlain
Ave in Chicago.
Arthur junior attended the Willard elementary school
funeral was held on Monday, January 4, 1904 after
the fire. Mother and son were reportedly
buried at Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago.
years after the fire
toddler at the time of his mother's death, went to
live with his mother's
parents, the Hedges. Edward's World War I
draft registration card information is a clue to
what is brother Arthur might have looked like had he
grown up. Edward, in
1917 a dry goods salesman, was described as 5' 11,
of medium build, with brown hair and blue eyes.
He later became a superintendent at a plumbing
supply house. His 1920 marriage to Eulalie Maloy ended in 1924 but a son resulted from the
Bergch remarried in 1905, to widow Belle M. Ikerman
Oliver, and moved to Milwaukee where he worked as a
traveling salesman in the construction industry.
No evidence that his boy Edward ever lived with him
but it might have been the best solution for all
After the death of her daughter and grandson, soon
followed by the loss of
her husband James (see below), Edward was probably a balm for grandmother Mary Hedges' grief.
Annie's father, James Hedges,
a successful merchant who was involved in Iroquois
Memorial activities, committed suicide two years after the Iroquois Theater
fire. Cited in the resulting newspaper story was
with a building project and despondency about his
daughter and grandson's deaths. He had been
active on the township school board and the James Hedges
School at Lincoln and W. 48th St., today known as
the James Hedges Fine and Performing Arts School,
was named after him.