Newspaper reporters were in such a rush that they
sometimes substituted embroidery for facts.
Such was the case with the Decker family.
Inter Ocean newspaper reported:
"A triple funeral was held at
noon from 3237 Groveland avenue, when Myron H.
Decker, Mrs. Maime Decker, and their daughter Mamie
were laid at rest in Rosehill. When the coffins were
taken to the residence Alice, 8 years old, the
youngest and only member of the family spared,
could not realize her loss and cried continually for
"papa" and "mamma."
The sorrowful daughter left behind was a recent
bride and twenty-two years old, not eight, and she
was named Blanche, not Alice. The story of the
inconsolable eight-year-old orphan was picked up and
run in newspapers around the country.
Myron Abbot Decker (b.1837) was born in the Lima, NY
area, as were his parents, Henry (1795-1866) and
Martha Mather Decker (1799-1851). His mother died
when he was fourteen years old. He had an older
brother named Henry, a lawyer, with whom had Myron
lived while attending law school at Genesee College
1853-1856. He and Myron eventually became law
partners in Chicago.
Myron passed the bar in 1860. After practicing in
Lima for two years accepted a position with the U.S.
Treasury and relocated to Washington, D.C., where he
remained throughout the civil war. While with the
Treasury Department, he worked in resolving property
disputes over lumber acreage and spent time in
Wisconsin, where he met and married his wife. A year
later, their first daughter, Mayme, was born, and he
left the Treasury to set up a law practice in
Chicago. The paint on his shingle was barely dry
when the great Chicago fire destroyed his office and
Henry joined the firm in 1873, and Myron and Kate's
second daughter, Blanche, was born the following
health forced Myron's early retirement in 1875, he
took his wife and daughters on a three-year tour of
Europe, returning in 1879.
By 1903 Myron
had retired from the practice of law altogether and
concentrated on his real estate holdings.
His body was
found at Buffum & Perrigo Undertaking.
Katie Decker, victim
Catherine "Katie" “Kittie” K. Knox Decker (b.1844)
was born in Missouri. Her parents, Mary Ann Knox
(1823-1912) and Thomas M. Knox (1809-1876),
emigrated from Ireland and settled in the Milwaukee,
Wisconsin area. Thomas built a successful law
practice there and became a judge.
Though prosperous, Katie
Decker was not a society matron. The only news I
found about her in newspapers were blurbs about
Blanche's 16th birthday party and later her
engagement, and an 1884 lawsuit. (Katie sued her
mother, Mary A. Knox, over her handling of her
Katie's body was located at
Buffum's Undertaking and identified by her new
son-in-law, Carl Kinsey.
Mamie Decker, victim
Thirty-three-year-old Mamie / Mayme Knox Decker (b.1870) was
born in Wisconsin. She was taken to Sheldon
Undertaking. The only thing I
could find about the woman on the web, aside from
stories about the Iroquois, was that she and her
mother were active in the Ivanhoe Literary Society
in 1900 and performed in a couple of comedies.
Gertrude Decker Kinsey, not present at fire (1880-1948)
Blanche had been married fewer than two months when
she lost her parents and older sister at the Iroquois.
Her husband, Carl DeElmo Kinsey (1879-1947), was a
noted pipe organ instructor in Chicago and served as
an organist at the First Congregational Church of
Oak Park. They had one
child, a son named after Blanche's late father,
Myron Decker Kinsey (1905-1969). The marriage ended
in scandal in 1916 when Carl abandoned Blanche and
their son to live in a hotel in the loop. He
told Blanche that his new friends would not like her because she
was not sporty enough. Blanche was awarded
a very sporty $150 in monthly alimony/child support - inflation-adjusted to a $3,500. She later married Farnham L. Hanks (1880-1954), manufacturer of
electronics and plumbing components.
Following a triple funeral the Decker family was
buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.
Blanche joined them in 1943.