In the Pilat and Kwapil
theater party, three survived and one did not.
Thirteen-year-old Josephine Pilat (b. 1890) lived at
1633 34 Humboldt Blvd. in Chicago (renamed Logan
Logans Square). She went to the theater
with her twenty-eight-year-old mother, Mary
Pilat Pilat (1866-1958), ten-year-old
sister, Gertrude Helen Pilat (1893-1978) and a
distant cousin visiting from Watertown,
Wisconsin, fourteen-year-old Cecelia
Kwapil (1889-1930). The Pilat family lived in
Watertown before moving to Chicago and had
The matinee at the
Iroquois was a girls trip. Left at home were
Josephine and Gertrude's older brothers, Robert
and George, and Mary's
parents, Joseph and Katie Pilat who lived
with the family.
Josephine - fatality
Yates school along with another Iroquois fire
body was identified by her father, Ignac J.
As a young man Ignac was a butcher in his father's
meat market. As an adult he remained in the food
industry, forming a commissioned brokerage for eggs
and poultry on the Poultry Board with Louis H.
Brink, doing business in the South
Water St. market.
Josephine's funeral was held the morning of Sunday,
January 3, 1904 and burial was in the Pilat family
plot at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.
Her name was not added to the grave marker.
Gertrude - survivor
Gertrude, who went
by her middle name, Helen, most of her life was burned on the
head and hands but not badly enough to require
Mary - survivor
Mary escaped from the auditorium by
crawling across a plank to Northwestern.
Cecelia - survivor
escaped by jumping from a fire escape.
She was badly injured but recovered. Cecelia
daughter of Frank and Mary Kwapil and the sister of
nine siblings. Frank and Mary were also from
Czechoslovakia. The Kwapil family lived near Ignac's
parents, Czechoslovakia immigrants,
Anna and Wenzel Pilat.
years after the fire
Gertrude attended the Illinois Institute
of Technology (IIT),
married Lester Stevenson
in 1916, gave birth to a Lester
junior, lived in Minnesota for awhile,
traveled to Europe and spent their final years in
California where she is buried. Her
brother, Robert, settled in California, too, and
Mary joined her children there after Ignac's death.
Cecelia Kwapil married