Emma and Arthur Bartlett
the train into the city, a fourteen-mile trip that
took about a half-hour.
At twelve and
seven, the children were probably excited about
the Mr. Bluebeard fairy tale pageant and Alvina was probably
curious about the city's elegant new Iroquois
Theater. The family may have planned to meet William after the play and ride home
together on the train.
days end, William's family was gone and he was
searching through hospitals and morgues, looking for their
bodies. He found Alvina and Arthur's remains,
but could not find twelve-year-old Emma's. Finally, on
the third search through Chicago's morgues, he
recognized a bit of a fur collar.
William Bartlett (1870-1942) emigrated from England
as an infant in 1871 with his parents, William and
Ellen Bartlett. At twenty-one, in 1891, he
married Alvina Strenge (b.1870),* whose family had emigrated from
Germany two years previously. Their daughter Emma was born in
1882 and Arthur in 1897.
William and Alvina's home was in West Grossdale (renamed
Congress Park in
1905 and later made part of Brookfield, Illinois), in Lyons Township, Illinois.
Their address was possibly 4442 Deyo Ave† where William still lived in 1940.
In 1903, homeownership was usually reserved for
wealthier families but lots and houses in Grossdale were
priced for working-class affordability.
When platted in 1895, the Bartlett family would have been among the
initial residents of West Grossdale, their home
probably built in 1898 or 1899.
In 1930 census records William valued
the property at $7,000. Homes in that area
today commonly sell in excess of $200,000.
There were two train depots and
easy commuting was one of the features promoted by
developer, the extraordinary
Samuel E. Gross, to sell lots and homes in Grossdale.
In later years William Bartlett was a traveling
salesman; if similarly employed in 1903 he may have
been on the road at the time of the fire. His employer, J. V. Farwell, was a
very successful dry goods wholesaler who supplied
retail stores around the Midwest. William would have
worked out of the company's eight-story facility at
the corner of Monroe and Market in Chicago.
on the same train with the Bartletts was another
family soon to become victims of the Iroquois
Anna and Arthur Neumann. Arthur Neumann
had attended school with Emma and Arthur Bartlett.
The Neumann's are buried at Bronswood Cemetery in
Oak Brook in DuPage county Illinois with Alvina,
Emma and Arthur Bartlett. William Bartlett,
his second wife and daughter would join them there
when their time came.
years after the fire
Eight months after the fire
William Bartlett married Augusta A. Kestner
(c1870-1956), a German immigrant like Alvina and they continued living in West Grossdale.
In 1907 they had a daughter, Laurette, who would
marry a McGregor and raise her own family in
West Grossdale / Congress Park.