Nothing is known about Maud Reiter's (1873-1935)
early years but her last thirty one years were
filled with sadness. In summary:
Iroquois Theater fire but her aunt
and mother did not
1904 three weeks
after marrying, husband committed
1910 married a
husband became ill
1935 Maud died at age
was an assistant kindergarten teacher at the Greeley
school in Chicago and the youngest resident in her
apartment at the Potomac Apartments* (pictured).
She lived with her sixty-six year old aunt, Pet
Bell, and fifty-six year old widowed mother, Irene
celebrated her thirtieth birthday a month before the
roomies went to the Iroquois Theater. She
escaped from the inferno but her aunt and mother did
not. Her uncle, James Keating, husband of her
sister Myrtle, helped look through morgues and
hospitals for the bodies of her relatives.
James was a marble dealer so probably did a head
shake about the Iroquois fire. No building in
1903 Chicago was more associated with marble than
the new Iroquois Theater. Marble figured so
prominently in the decor of the Iroquois that the
theater was referred to as a "marble palace" and a
strike by Chicago marble workers delayed
construction. The quantity of marble-covered
surfaces contributed to the theater's frequent
description by owners and Chicago authorities as
being fire proof. It was a silly notion
because the marble wasn't in the auditorium or on
the stage where most theater fires started.
Leland A. Reed, a stranger, also offered his assistance
to Maud. A traveling shoe salesman for Florsheim, Leland went with her through the
hospitals and morgues, and comforted her during the
first terrible months of grief at losing her family.
A romance developed but perhaps its foundation
wasn't altogether healthy. Leland suffered a
nervous breakdown a few months after the fire and
spent time in the North Shore Health Resort in
Winnetka, IL. The facility advertised
treatment of nervous conditions amongst its
services. It is not known if his commitment
was voluntary. Upon his release, on August 3,
1904 the pair went ahead with their marriage.
They then relocated to Columbus, Ohio.
Three weeks after the wedding, while on the road
selling, Leland checked in to the Briggs hotel in
Chicago and committed suicide, leaving letters
behind for Maud, his employers and solicitor, citing
his belief that he was going insane, along with a
few lines of verse by W. E. Henley: "It matters not
how straight the gate, how charged with punishment
the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the
captain of my soul."
may have returned to teaching in Chicago after
Leland's death. A teacher named Maud Reed lived at
in the Vaucluse Apartments at 2446 Michigan Avenue
1906 - 1909.
1910, Maud married Iowa native, Leon Hull Winne.
Winne was a divorcee, married 1903 - 1905 to a Miss
Mitchell from Missouri, followed by a rumored
romance with one-time Al Jolson dance partner and
small-time Broadway actress, Florence Cable.
Not much is known of Maud and Leon's 18 years
together. He worked as a sales representative
and officer for various rubber-fabrication
companies, including Buffalo Weaving and Belting and
W. H. Salisbury & Company. They lived in
Highland Park with Maud's wealthy and aged aunt,
Mrs. William "Ella" Bell. The only thing I
found about those years was that in 1921 Maud was
second vice president of the Winnetka Woman's Club.
There is no evidence that Maud and Leon had
wasn't done dumping on Maud. In June of 1928,
Leon committed suicide by breathing auto exhaust
fumes from their car in the garage. Newspapers
reported that he had been ill for two years.
was 54 when Leon died. The following year 1929
she traveled to England which seems rather brave.
In Maud's shoes, I would have feared the ship would
sink. Upon her return, she took a job as a
maid in the household of Morton Mavor, a Chicago
building contractor. She continued living in
her aunt's home but Ella could no longer care for
herself and had gone to live with her niece, Maud's
sister, Myrtle Keating, where she remained until her
death in 1938. Ella's heirs split her $750,000
estate but Maud missed out on the windfall by dying
three years prior.
Irene Bell Reiter - Iroquois
Theater fire fatality
Irene (b. 1847) lost her husband,
civil war veteran** Winfried
Scott Reiter (b.1847), in 1900, as well as a sister
and a brother.*** Her oldest daughter, Myrtle
(1870-1947), made a good marriage to James Keating
but her youngest, Maud might follow in the footsteps
of her aunt Pet and not marry. A theater performance of
lights and music probably offered a welcome bit of
to find more information about Irene later.
and Leland searched but Pet's and Irene's bodies
were found and identified by James Keating,
husband of Myrtle Reiter Keating (Irene's daughter
and Pet's niece).
Irene and Pet were buried in a common grave at the
Chippiannock Cemetery at Rock Island, Illinois
following a funeral at the Broadway Presbyterian
Church in Rock Island, Illinois. A substitute pastor from another church performed
the service because the pastor at the Broadway, Dr.
William Stevenson Marquis (b.1853, Kenton, OH), was
attending the funeral for his niece and nephew, Zadel and Donald Stoddard, who also died at the
Iroquois. The Stoddard children’s mother was Sarah
E. Bell, sister to Rev. Marquis’s wife, but it is not
known if she was related to Maria Pet, Irene and