Frances “Fanny” M. Lehman died
at the hospital. She was the daughter of Ohio
natives, Amelia S. Abel Lehman and the late George
Lehman (who had died sometime 1900-1903). Fanny taught
at the Henry H. Nash school and lived at 423 N.
Austin with her mother and several grown siblings.
Her body was identified by her brother, thirty-eight
year old Milo B. Lehman. The funeral was held at her
mothers home on N. Austin and burial was at the Forest Home cemetery in Chicago.
Frances had an insurance policy in the amount of
Amelia and George married in 1851 and had
children, all born in the Dayton, Ohio area. In
Chicago George worked on the railroad and the Lehmans owned their home on N. Austin. Their
children worked as tradesmen and common laborers.
The Henry Nash school at 4837 W. Erie St. was
designed by Board of Education architect, W. August
Fiedler, and constructed in 1896, four years after
the death of it's namesake, banker Henry H. Nash, at
a cost of $75,000. It was enlarged in 1921.
Nineteen-year-old George P.
McClure (1884-1945) had
moved away from home and was living on Jefferson
Avenue where he was happy to let his friend
(b. 1878) and Monte's younger brother,
(b. 1886), bunk at his
place during their holiday in Chicago.
Monte Eldridge worked on Pullman cars for Illinois
Central, running between Chicago and New Orleans.
The Eldridge boys were the sons of civil war vet,
sixty-three-year-old George Eldridge (1839-) and
Mary Hart Eldridge (1852-) of Mattoon, Illinois, a
small town about three hours south of Chicago.
Monte had just turned twenty-five a week before and
Harry had turned nineteen on November 1.
Monte's body was found at Sheldon's funeral home.
Though badly burned and unrecognizable, papers in
his pocket enabled identification by a fellow
named Harry Messer. Messer was an Eldridge
family friend from Mattoon. He and and four
others from Mattoon went to Chicago to help in the
search for Harry's body. For several days while George and Mary grieved
death of their oldest boy, they prayed that Harry, their youngest, would be found
at a hospital. After searching every location
where there were living Iroquois victims, the search
was concentrated on the morgues. One body had
Harry's general size characteristics but was burned
and trampled beyond recognition. Messer phoned
Harry's parents and requested identifying
information. Model information about Harry's
recently purchased Ralson-brand health shoes
procured from George Shaw, a Mattoon shoe store, was
sent and matched to a body. Upon further
examination of clothing they found Harry's pocket
Harry and Monte's bodies were
shipped south to Mattoon.
funeral was held Saturday, January 2, 1904 and
was buried at Forest Home cemetery
in Chicago. Lawrence (b.1890) and his older
brother George, were the sons of Fanny Lehman's
sister, Lida Lehman McClure, (1866-1916) and her
husband, postman and civil war veteran, Charles R. McClure (1847-1923).
George Jr. identified his brother's body. I
have not yet found a photo of Lawrence but if he
resembled his brother George, he had a ruddy
complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair and was of
medium build and height.
In the years after the fire
George McClure married in
1914. His wife, Irish immigrant Katherine
Lavelle McClure, died eight months after the death
of their only child, George V. McClure Jr.
George and Lawrence's mother, Lida, died in 1916, and their
father remarried a widow with two grown children.
Discrepancies and addendum
newspaper injuries list, in addition to Fanny
Lehman, cited a "Lehman, Miss M. struck on head by
falling beam." This may have been one of Fanny's
sisters, Marietta Lehman (1866-1947).
Multiple reports were published in the
Mattoon, Illinois newspaper about the Eldridge boys
and George McClure but I've yet to verify
that Fannie Lehman and Lawrence McClure sat with
George and the Eldridges. Since it was very
uncommon for single women to attend the theater
alone, and even more uncommon for a thirteen-year-old boy to attend the theater alone, it isn't hard
to imagine that Aunt Fannie took nephew Lawrence to
see the Christmas pageant. On the other hand,
she may have attended the theater with school
teacher friends and Lawrence may have had the treat
of an outing with his older brother and his grown up
friends from Mattoon. Whether Lawrence told
his brother George, "I'm going to the Iroquois
too, with Aunt Fanny!" or "Are we ready yet?"
is an unknown