Pond family lived in Ravenswood, a subdivision in
the northwest Chicago suburb of Lake View, at 1272
On Wednesday, December 30, 1903, as he had done for
the last thirty-three years, sixty-five-year-old
Fred Pond went to his job as a clerk at the Deering
Reaper works. For the last time, he said goodbye to
his wife, Eva, and children, seven-year-old Helen
and fourteen-year-old Raymond.
His family joined Grace Tuttle, Eva’s sister, and
the foursome traveled into downtown Chicago to
attend an afternoon matinee at the city’s newest
playhouse, the Iroquois Theater.
Hours later their bodies were located at four
different mortuaries. Helen’s body was
identified by her teeth and Raymond's by an athletic
club lapel pin. Grace's body was last to be
located. Identifications were made by Robert
W. Rowen, a cousin of Fred's.
Forty-seven year old Evelyn “Eva” Tuttle Pond
(b.1856, Wisconsin) married New York native,
Frederick Skinner Pond (1838-1914), in 1887 when she
was thirty one years old. Two others of their
children did not survive after 1900, including a
son, Frederick Skinner Pond Jr., who lived only a
year. Eva and her sister, Grace, were two of six
children born to Wisconsinites, Hiram and Caroline
Raymond L. Pond (b. 1889, Illinois) attended
Lake View High School, that lost four additional
students (Helen Davy,
Glen and Helen Bickford and
Helen Lee Pond (b. 1896, Illinois) attended
McPherson elementary school that also lost June Secrist. She was named after her aunt, Helen Lee
Thirty-five year old Grace Tuttle (b. 1868,
Wisconsin) was one of twenty-three teachers at the
Ravenswood elementary school in Chicago, that also
lost three of its students (Willis Peck,
View High School may have been located at Union Ave.
and 47th Place. Ravenswood, Chicago’s oldest school,
was at Paulina St. and Montrose Ave. and the
McPherson school was on Lincoln Street near Lawrence
As a young man Fred tried his hand at insurance
sales but in 1870 went to work as a clerk at the
McCormick reaper plant. When he started, he had
around 500 coworkers; at retirement there were
For Fred there was probably a
before, middle and after to his job. During the
before part he went to work for Cyrus McCormick when
the company was building 2,500 reapers a year.
During that stage the factory burned to the ground
in the Great Chicago fire and was rebuilt. In the
middle stage he helped Cyrus duke it out with
William Deering after the Deering reaper plant moved
to Chicago, saw Cyrus die and experienced the
turmoil of the 1880s labor strikes when the company
was run by Cyrus’s son and wife. During the after
stage, Fred worked for the Deering reaper division
of the merged McCormick and Deering Harvester
companies, International Harvester.
In 1905, presumably retired from International
Harvester, Fred returned to insurance sales.
He was one of many who brought suit against the
theater and contractors.
Funeral services were conducted by reverend Bowles
All Saints Episcopal church
and all four victims were transported by train to
Beloit, Wisconsin for burial.