Twenty-three-year-old Edith Freckelton* (b.1880) and her sister
seventeen-year-old Ella Freckelton (b.1887)
perished at the Iroquois Theater on December 30,
1903 in Chicago.
Their seventeen-year-old brother, George E. Freckelton (b.1886) might also have been a victim
but there is no evidence to support it. See sidebar.
Edith and Ella were two of nine children born to
Irish immigrants, William John Freckelton
(1854-1937) and Sarah Jane Collins Freckelton
(1849-1930), of which six were living in 1900. In
1903 the family lived at 5632 Peoria St. in Chicago.
In the years after the fire William and Sarah moved
to Pensacola, Florida. One of their surviving
daughters, who relocated to Philadelphia, Emma
Freckelton Krantz, named two of her daughters after
Ella and Edith.
Ella, the youngest Freckelton child, attended
Englewood High School along with other Iroquois
Florence Dow, Elva Fowler and a
sorority group of seven.
Edith's body was discovered at Rolston's funeral
home and identified by George E. F. Florey, husband
of their older sister, Margaret. A private funeral
was held on Sunday afternoon after the fire prior to
a public service at the Garfield Boulevard
Presbyterian Church at 5505 S. Halsted and 55th.
(That portion of Garfield Avenue had been renamed to
55th St. but the church continued to be called the
Garfield Boulevard Presbyterian.) The service was
conducted by reverends R. Keene Ryan and Daniel E.
Freckelton was a coal dealer with offices in the
stock yard district. He and Sarah had immigrated to
America as young people and married in 1872.
About George Freckelton
His name was included
in a day-after newspaper list that
included many names of people who it later
turned out were not at the theater and not
deceased. Contrasted with where George's
name was NOT included:
obituary notices with details supplied
by his family of funerals for Edith and
Ella (see picture)
follow up report on Ella's and Edith's
funeral (see picture)
- In his mother's
- A list of
Chicago student victims
He is listed as an
Iroquois fatality on Find-A-Grave (F.A.G.)
but I don't know if the F.A.G. lister got
the information from that early error-filled
newspaper list or from actual cemetery
Because his name was included in that early
list, I think George probably went to the
theater with his sisters but survived.
That said, I failed to find evidence of his
life after 1903 - or his birth, for that
matter. Will keep my eye out for
verification either way. Hopefully
I'll hear from someone with verifiable
* In the 1900 census the family
name is spelled Freckelton but Frackleton appears in
prior census reports, cemeteries, etc. Until
finding a picture of the gravestone in
Oakwood, I'm going with Freckelton. In Iroquois related newspaper lists Frickleton / Frickelton