30, 1903 Henry Victor Lemenager Jr. (1871-1909) was
a draftsman working in Washington D.C. on a
government project involving dams. Back in Chicago,
his thirty-nine-year-old wife, Jessie, took their two
children, twelve-year-old Dorothy and eight-year-old
Wallace, to an afternoon mattinee of Klaw &
Erlangers new product, Mr. Blue Beard.
All three perished:
Jessie Florence Bouchier Lemenager (b.1865 in
Notting Hill, England)
Twelve-year-old Dorothy Mary Lemenager (b. 1891
in Tacoma, Washington)
Eight-year-old Wallace Victor Lemenager (b. 1895
in Thurston, Washington)
The Lemenager family deaths were not as widely
reported as others and I found only two news
stories that cited all three deaths, with one
newspaper referring to Dorothy as Dorothy in one
paragraph and as as Emma in another. Dorothy was one of the last
children to be identified, four days after the fire on Jan. 3, 1904. The of Jessie and Wallace were
identified by a family friend, school teacher Elma Graves
of 6104 Ellis. Jessie's
body was found at Sheldon's and Wallace's at
Carroll's funeral home. Henry arrived from
Washington D.C. in time to identify Dorothy's body.
Jessie had once expressed a
preference for cremation to Elma Graves so Elma had
the bodies of Jessie and Wallace cremated at the
Graceland cemetery on January 4, 1904. Henry
arrived from Washington, D.C. to identify Dorothy's
body. Presumably she was also cremated.
Nothing was reported about the Lemenager's funerals
Henry and Jessie came to the United States from
England as children. Before immigrating to Tacoma,
Washington in America in 1887, Henry's Parisian-born
father, Henri Victor Lemenager (1822-1912), was a
portrait photographer and taught French at a private
school in Bushey, England, the Bourne House School.
He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1894.
Dorothy and Wallace were born in the state of
Washington. By 1900 the family moved to
Chicago. In the census that year Henry's occupation
was listed as a manager in an unknown musical field.
It may have involved player pianos because in 1907
he patented an idea for a player piano
A year later Henry was creating a child with another
woman, a Indiana girl who worked in his office in
Washington, D.C. named Ida, so the
marriage between he and Jessie came to an end
sometime between 1900 and 1903. Jessie and the
children lived at 23 Waveland Park in Chicago.
Henry and Ida
had three children. Henry (sometimes spelled Henri)
died in May of 1909, his funeral attended by his
coworkers at the Reclamation Service, with no mention
made in his obituary of the deaths of his former
wife and children at the Iroquois.
Dorothy and Wallace Lemenager attended the Greeley school.
Another Iroquois victim,
Dewitt Murphy, also
attended the Greeley school.
years after the fire
In January, 1904, along with hundreds of other
families, Henry sued Iroquois owners and the city of
Chicago for the deaths of his two children.