France, Jeanette Montague Quetsch (1870-1903)* was
thirty-four years old when she lost her life at the
Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago. The
identity of her theater companions is not yet known.
Presumably her husband, in banking, was working.
Little is known of the victim. She was a
member of a women's organization in Chicago, the
Independent Penwoman's Club (1895-1903).
Another member in the club was Clarence Darrow's
ex-wife, Jessie. (Darrow
participated in the first stage of mapping out a
defense strategy for Iroquois Theater managers.)
The club seems to have been more about reading than
writing; whatever the emphasis, it suggests
Jeanette's command of the English language was
Jeanette's body was found
at Horan's Funeral Home and identified by her
husband, William Jules Quetsch (1863-after 1929). He was a
bookkeeper / clerk / discount teller at Merchants Loan
and Trust in Ravenswood on the northwest Corner of
Adams and Clark Streets (see accompanying pictures).
(Originally capitalized by Chicago's industrial
pioneers, the McCormicks, Armours, Fields, Shedds
and Wackers, the bank was merged and absorbed over
the years, ending in 1994 as the Continental Bank
with a spectacular too-big-to-fail failure.)
The Quetschs had married in 1892 in Kenosha, WI and
in 1903 lived in an apartment at 2596 N. Ashland in Chicago.
Jeanette's father and mother were from England and
France, names not yet known. William Quetsch was born in Illinois to
Leonard and Christina Leibert Quetsch (-1911).
Two years before her death, William's brother, Otto Quetsch, named his daughter
Jeanette, presumably after his sister in law.
Jeanette's funeral was held at Lady of Lourdes
Church the Monday after the fire, the afternoon of
January 4, 1904, and was possibly conducted by the
church's much loved Father
Perry. Though not verified, Jeanette was reportedly buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.
The burial service was private.
In the years after the fire
Jeanette's niece and
namesake, Jeanette C. Quetsch (1901-1985) graduated
from college and became a teacher.