a stone thrown into a pond, a death in a family
causes ripples that impact survivors for decades.
Because people attend the theater in company with
others, the Iroquois fire resulted in multiple
fatalities for most families, and the rippling was
more like a tsunami. As a result of the deaths in
one Iroquois party of four, one man lost his wife,
both sons and his stepdaughter. Parents lost a
daughter and three of their five grandchildren. Another
man lost his only daughter. Another his mother,
sister and two half brothers. A woman lost her
sister, a niece and two nephews. A man lost his aunt
and three cousins.
Four deaths produced twenty-one lost relationships just
among their immediate family members.
Louisa Kehres Bogg
Corbin, age thirty-seven
Mamie Bogg, age
Vernon Corbin, age
Norman Corbin, age
in 1865, Louisa Kehres was the youngest daughter of
German immigrants, John Kehres (1831-1909) and
Ernestina "Christina" Kehres (1839-1909).
nineteen Louisa married William Thomas Bogg
(1861- 1954). Their son, Harry Joseph Bogg
(1884 -1936), was born soon thereafter, followed by
Mary Louise "Mamie" Bogg in 1886. Mamie was named
after her aunt and her nickname probably came about
to avoid confusion since the two women lived in the
William Bogg was from a large family that immigrated
from England when he was a toddler. He worked as a
bookkeeper at the Armour company, in the Chicago
marriage was not successful and in March 1891 Louisa
and William divorced. Louisa remarried that same
year, to Victor V. Corbin (b. c1865 Illinois) , a
flour salesman for the Pillsbury company. It was a
second marriage for Victor but the identity of his
first wife is not known.
divorce was amicable enough that nine years later,
in 1903, ex-husband William and their daughter,
Mamie, lived in the same house at 6933 Princeton
with Louisa's parents, John and Christina Kehres,
and Louisa's sister, Mary Louise Kehres Hinckley
Louise had married Spanish immigrant, Carlos
"Charles" B. Hinckley (1859-1924), the same year
Louisa married Victor Corbin, 1891.
Victor, Louisa bore two sons, Norman W. Corbin (b.
1893) and Vernon W. Corbin (b. 1891). In 1903 the
Corbin family lived at 6938 Wentworth in Chicago.
Norman and Vernon attended the Yale Practice School.
December 30, 1903, Louisa, then thirty-seven years
old, took ten-year-old Vernon, nine year old Norman
and seventeen year old Mamie to the Christmas
matinee at the Iroquois. All four perished.
task of identifying the bodies of his wife, sons and
fell to Victor Corbin and his brother in law,
Mamie's remains, taken to Gavin's
Mortuary, could have been identified by her father
or uncle Hinckley. She was buried in Mr. Hope
Cemetery in Chicago, as were her half brothers.
Nearly a week after the fire, another father,
Frank Greenwald, was struggling to find the
bodies of his wife and son. A detailed
description of his son's clothing was published in
the newspaper and Charles Hinckley knew at once that
he'd identified the wrong boy. Norman Corbin
and Leroy Greenwald were the same age and both
bodies were unrecognizable except for their
clothing.* The people most familiar with
Norman's clothing, his mother and siblings, were
dead. Several newspapers outside
Chicago mistakenly reported that it was Vernon's
body that was involved in the mix up rather than
Authorities were contacted and the body thought to
be Norman's, that was actually Leroy Greenwald's
body, was swapped with another body at the morgue,
then recognized as Norman's.
mixup with the bodies of the Corbin/Greenwald boys
was one of two such mixups involving children.
The other was the
William Bogg remarried four months after his
daughter Mamie's death, to Iola "Ola" Mackie. He
lived to age 93 and moved to California after Ola's
death in 1962.
Victor Corbin became sales manager of the western
division for Pillsbury Flour. In 1918 he cofounded
the Corbin Flour Co. and a decade later cofounded
the Marek Oil Company to prospect for oil in New
Greenwald boy had a distinctive feature that went
unnoticed at the morgues. He had webbed toes
on one foot.
South side Iroquois Theater
Mary Holst and her three
If you have additional
info about an Iroquois victim, or find an error, I would like to
hear from you. Chaos and communication limitations of 1903
produced many errors I'm striving to correct and welcome all the help I can get. Space is provided at the
bottom of stories for comments, or