For twenty-year-old Bessie A. Knight
(1883-1961), a sophomore at Smith College
in Massachusetts, Christmas break was coming to an
end and she'd soon be boarding a train to return to
school, leaving behind her families eight-bedroom home on
Calumet St. in Chicago. The family:
Adele Brown Knight (1856-1912), descendent of
American Revolution veteran, Lemuel Hawley.
A. Knight (1853-1911), a prosperous attorney.
brother, James H. Knight (1886-).
after the Iroquois fire, Bessie and Martha Aldrich
become sisters-in-law when Bessie married Martha's
brother, Louis Sherman Aldrich. Three months
later she lost her father and her mother passed
before the birth of Louis and Bessie's child, named
Clarence, after her father.
Twenty-two-year-old Susan D. Hoyne
(1881-1972), nicknamed Susie,
was the daughter of Chicago attorney Thomas M. Hoyne
(1843-1941) and Jeanie Thomas Maclay Hoyne
The family lived in a four-story grey stone on Calumet, about six blocks from Bessie
Knight. Five of the Hoyne children lived at
home in 1903. Susan attended college for two
years and at age thirty-five in 1916 married Frederick Ingraham
and the pair settled in Cleveland, Ohio. They
did not have children. He died
in 1961 and Susan followed a decade later.
After her holiday visit it
Chicago twenty-three-year-old Martha Aldrich
(1880-1955) would also head back east,
to Buffalo, New York where she lived with her
father, J. Frank Aldrich, an executive at the City
National Bank and a former Illinois congressman, her
young stepmother, Mariska, (a soprano that in
another seven years would debut at the Metropolitan
Opera), an infant half sister and three servants.
The Aldrich family had lived in Chicago for many
years before the move to Buffalo and maintained
close ties to the city.
Martha's choice in a husband wasn't
as fortuitous as Bessie's and Susan's. Willard Miller abandoned her for a waitress amidst
a scandal involving missing funds and multiple
weddings. Martha and their son Billy lived with
her father for many years, eventually moving to