Charlotte Emily Plamondon, age
twenty one, of
Chicago (1882-1968). Charlotte's uncle,
George Plamondon, was one of the bidders on
November 17, 1903 for seats at the Iroquois
Theater premier on November 23. At the
premier, a society event, her parents joined her
uncle in the Alexander Revell party in box
seats. Charlotte was the youngest of five children
in this well to do family, cared for by three
servants, including a coachman. Her
father, industrialist Charles Plamondon, was at a
Board of Education meeting when William Lester
Bodine (1862-1951), school superintendent in charge
of compulsory education in Chicago, burst in to say
that the Iroquois Theater was on fire. Charles
rushed to the fire scene where he ran into Frank
O'Gorman (1873-1935), secretary to state congressman
William Lorimer, who had seen Charlotte and assured
Charles she was alive and well. In 1915
Charles and his wife, Mary Plamondon,
died when the Lusitania sank. Two months
later a cousin died when the Eastland excursion
The A. Plamondon Manufacturing Company
manufactured machinery and equipment for flour
mills, grain elevators, breweries, distilleries,
malt houses, paint mills, etc., including
shafting, pulleys, hangers and gearing. In
addition to A. Plamondon, the family owned the
Saladin Pneumatic Malting Construction Company
and were officers in the Fort Dearborn National
In the years after the Iroquois Theater fire
Charlotte became engaged to Oliver T. Boyd
of Philadelphia but the engagement did not last
and in 1910 she married Allen Bradford Ripley
(1880-1962), with whom she bore two children.
At the time of their marriage Ripley was
advertising manager for Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
but four years later
founded the U.S. Sample company. In 1925
U.S. Sample spun off the U.S. Color Card
Company. U.S. Color Card printed paint
color samples for paint manufacturers.
Cornelia Wicker Armsby
of Evanston, Illinois.
Daughter of the late James Kendall Armsby, a
prosperous grocery wholesaler, and Cornelia
"Lena" Anderson Armsby. Daughter
Cornelia lived in France
from 1908 until at least 1921. On her
passport as references she cited two NYC
residents, Messmore Kenmore, owner of the city's
largest cinema house, the historical Capital
Theatre, and William S. Hofstra, original
benefactor of Hofstra University in Long Island.
Avid golfer, never married. Lived in Rapollo
Rome and San Francisco 1930s-1969. In her
obituary Cornelia was cited as a leading hostess of
Italy's American Colony. One of her brothers
followed in their father's footsteps and became a
pioneer in distributing California fruit throughout
U.S. Cornelia and another brother were
received by Pope Pius in 1930.
Grace J. Hills (1884-) of Chicago,
was the only child of Charles F. Hills and Hilda Hills.
In 1903 she was a student at the Somers School in
Washington, DC. The Hills lived at 4419 Greenwood in a ten-year-old
home that still stands. Charles was an
American Civil War veteran, having been a lieutenant
of H & K Companies at the battle of Chickamauga.
Four years after the Iroquois Theater fire,
following two years in college, possibly at the
University of Michigan, Grace married Leroy
Woodland, a banker, and the pair had two children,
George and Virginia.
Josephine M. Eddy
(1881-1918) and Elizabeth Eddy (1887-1969) of Evanston,
two of four children born to Clara Hall Eddy and the
late of Morris R. Eddy. A third Eddy child,
Augustus W. Eddy (1883-1938),
was seated on one of the front rows a few feet from
the box with his friend, nineteen-year-old
Carroll L. Shaffer
Augustus tried to reach his sisters but was swept up
the aisle by the crowd and nearly crushed by the
throng at the doors. Josephine, Elizabeth and
Augustus found one another outside the theater. Morris
Eddy had been a prominent
furniture retailer in Indianapolis who relocated the
family to Chicago in 1884.
Josephine Eddy married
John H. Hayden but died five months later.
Elizabeth Eddy married Samuel D. Rowe and had two
children, Elizabeth and David. Two years after
the fire Carroll Shaffer graduated from Yale
University and joined his father's publishing
business. He was the son of
John C. Shaffer, owner eight city newspapers in
Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Colorado, including
the Chicago Evening Post.
Keyes family - hosts of theater party
Katherine Officer Keyes
(1886-1960), age sixteen,
Frances Keyes Pearson
age twenty-five and their mother,
Katherine Officer Keyes
forty-eight, were from Evanston. They were the wife and daughters of an
influential wholesale grocer, Roland A. Keyes.
It is believed that daughters Katherine and Frances
may have been aided in their escape by
Clarence C. Blood, a civil engineer from Iowa
employed by Chicago North Western Railway.
Roland rushed to the scene of
the fire and soon found his family. Frances
had married that year to attorney Harry Putnam Pearson
(1873-1952) and was mother to a one year old
daughter. Six years after the Iroquois Theatre fire, having
completed two years of college, Katherine married
John C. Slade, a lawyer, and the pair had two
children. A couple decades after the fire Frances married
a second time to
millionaire lumber magnate, Addison Stillwell, a
union that ended in a messy divorce.
Out of town
Marie Peters of
Columbus, Ohio, was a friend of Charlotte
Plamondon. Three years later Marie was in
Chicago staying at the Annex hotel for a couple
weeks. Charlotte organized a luncheon and
matinee in Marie's honor. Marie may have been
the daughter of George and Carolina Krag Peters.
(My spectulation on that one is weak. A Miss
Marie Peters of Columbus, OH spent much of 1906
traveling, visiting friends in the midwest,
including Charlotte Plamondon. One of her
stops was to her sister-in-law, the recently widowed
Mrs. August Peters then living in Danville, KY.
August Peters had several sisters, none with the
first name Mary or Marie but one could have gone by
a middle name.)
Magdalen Elsie Elmore
from Astoria, Oregon, who
went by her middle name, was the
daughter of Samuel and Mary E. Elmore. Three months before the
fire she was feted at a tea given by Grace Hills,
cited as a school friend of Grace's at the Somers
School in Washington, DC. Elsie was the first
in the party to escape from the theater box,
climbing over the front railing, soon followed by
Charlotte Plamondon. The pair were able to
remain together during most of their escape and met
In 1907 Elsie was a bridesmaid in Grace Hills'
wedding. Elsie married Theodore Childs and
they had two children.