Carson Arthur (1860-1925), native of Rhode Island,
acquired a new Eldridge bicycle in 1897.
Seven months later, his
health failing, her husband, Alfred Henry Arthur,
traveled to New Mexico in hopes a warmer climate
would improve his health. At his passing in
May, 1898, the newspaper reported he left behind a
life insurance policy of $3,000 (about $85,000 in
2017 dollars). With five
children aged three to sixteen to raise, she'd need
family lived in Joliet, Illinois, a community about
forty miles southwest of Chicago with a 1903
population of around 30,000.
On December 30, 1903 two
females from the Arthur family attended a Mr.
Bluebeard matinee at Chicago's newest luxury
playhouse, the Iroquois Theater. They suffered
minor injuries but survived the theater fire that
killed over six hundred others in the audience.
In subsequent newspaper lists they were identified
as Miss Marjorie Arthur and Miss Annie Arthur of
Margaret's three daughters were named Annie but one
may have been nicknamed Annie or had Annie as a
middle name. Later in life, daughter Marguerette went
by Marjorie so she may have been the Miss
Marjorie Arthur listed as an Iroquois survivor.
Margaret's daughter Florence is sometimes reported
as having had the middle name Mary but is more often
recorded with A. as her middle name. It was
common in the early 1900s for married women to use
the first initial of their maiden name as their
middle initial but in Florence's case the A might
have stood for Annie.
was only thirteen in 1903, and Florence ten, so the
girls would have been accompanied by an
adult on the train ride from Joliet into Chicago, and
on the theater excursion. Their mother is the most likely
one to have accompanied her daughters into the
city but if Margaret was at the Iroquois, she
escaped injury thus was not listed in newspaper
Margaret's younger brother,
William Sherman Carson, was an attorney living and
working in Chicago so Margaret and her children
could have been visiting he and his wife,
Bertha. There were no Carsons referenced in
conjunction with Iroquois
By 1910 Margaret worked as a
truant officer and was appointed for several years as a state
representative at the annual Compulsory Education
League convention. In that capacity she
presented papers and was memorialized by the
organization for her contribution.
All that can be guessed is that the two Miss Arthur
females who survived the Iroquois Theater fire were
related to Margaret Carson Arthur because they were
the only Arthur family living in Joliet, Illinois in
1903. Hope to hear from a descendent with