Frank R. Greenwald brought
suits for the wrongful deaths of his wife and son,
asking $10,000 in damages for each. That was the
amount asked by most of the Iroquois suits. In terms
of mental anguish, Frank, might have righteously
asked for more. The body of his wife was
stolen and buried under a fictitious name and the body of his son was miss identified
and entombed as another boy. Forty-four days
passed before Frank was able
to obtain their remains for burial.
Frank Greenwald went to morgues and hospitals over and again, but his wife
and son's bodies were not to be found.
first insisted to police that Lulu and Leroy must
still be alive and had been taken home by strangers
for care and were perhaps too injured to speak. A
notice suggesting such a possibility was published
in the newspaper but no one came foreword.
Greenwald then concluded that his wife and son had
been miss identified and buried under the wrong
names. Identifying their bodies with certainty would
not be difficult; both Lulu and Leroy had a common
distinguishing feature: a pair of syndactyly toes
(webbed) on one foot (which happens in one of
two thousand births).
Detailed descriptions were reported in Chicago
newspapers. Lulu was a
slender 5' 6" with dark hair. She'd worn a peacock
blue or black blouse with a black wool skirt, black
silk underskirt and green silk underskirt, without a
corset. Her shoes were made by Cutler or De Muth.
She wore $1,000 worth of jewelry. There were four rings: a solitaire diamond, a wedding
band, a ruby surrounded by diamonds and a ring with
twenty stones including diamonds, emeralds and
opals. She wore a sunburst broach with an amethyst
in the center, surrounded by pearls and diamonds.
Seems like a lot of bling for an afternoon outing
with a child to a Christmas play. Frank
wasn't sure if she also wore a gold chain or silver
watch. She carried a steel bead chatelaine bag,
lined in chamois, containing money and a house key.
Leroy was described as slender like his mother, 4' 6"
tall, with grey
eyes and small features. He wore a double breasted
blue serge coat with matching knee pants, new lace
shoes, black stockings, a stiff collar and a pearl
stick pin in his scarf.
While Frank Greenwald agonized over finding the
bodies of his wife and son, a man named John Mahnken
was busy plying his trade as flimflam man. He
falsely claimed the bodies of first
Emelia Mueller, then Lulu Greenwald.
Lulu Greenwald and John Mahnken
Downtown morgues were the first to fill up with
bodies. Jordan's funeral home had between
135-180 (reports were conflicting) bodies. In
the chaos of handling so many, Jordan's labeled two
bodies with the same number. Both Lulu and
Emelia were labeled as body #34.
Mahnken went to the coroner's office and submitted
paperwork to claim body #34, saying it was his fifty
year old aunt Elizabeth Kouth (some newspaper
reports spelled it as Kounthes ) who had arrived
from her home in Montreal the morning of the
fire. He was issued a burial permit for
Elizabeth Kouth, body #34.
headed over to the store front on Dearborn street
that had been set up as a claiming center for family
members to collect victim's belongings.
appears one of the holes in the story.
Newspapers never reported how Mahnken knew about the
$500 on Emelia Mueller's body. Perhaps he
overheard workers at Jordan's Undertaking discussing
it, or spied it on a list at Jordans.
Newspapers also did not report what Mahnken learned
relative to the $500 when he went to the Dearborn
street claiming center.
Whatever he learned at the Dearborn street claiming
center, it did not deter his plans. While
there he met undertaker Bernard E. Arntzen (Arntzen's
Funeral Chapel, 247 N. Clark) and contracted with
him to bury his fictitious aunt Elizabeth at Elmwood
Cemetery – with a promise of payment when other
fictitious wealthy relatives showed up in a few
days. Mahnken then headed back to Jordan's
funeral home to get the body, possibly given a ride
by Arntzen. His pocket was a little fuller
because he also talked the undertaker into loaning
Either at the claiming center or at Jordans, Mahnken
learned that the body he'd had his eye on, the one
carrying $500, that of Emelia Mueller, had already
been claimed by her relatives, along with the money,
and buried. How take advantage of the free
burial he'd conned from Arniston? That other
#34 body, Lulu Greenwald, was at hand. Lulu
was thirty-five years old, not fifty, but her body was badly
enough burned that the age discrepancy wasn't
Mahnken may have been in the company of undertaker
Arntzen, and/or a slow thinker because he let
Arntzen carry away and bury Lulu Greenwald's body,
still wearing two of her rings.
Bringing us to another hole in the story. Were
Lulu's rings left on her body at Jordans? If
so, little wonder her other jewelry disappeared.
Hundreds of people examined bodies in the morgue.
If not, who held the rings prior to burial?
The morgue or the claiming center? Did Mahnken
collect them at the claiming center? If so,
why wasn't it reported and why didn't he pocket