14 year old second cousins, Dora
Lucille Reynolds (b. 1889) of Chicago and Ruth Stratman, visiting from Dodgeville, Wisconsin,
lost their lives at the Iroquois Theater. Ruth would
have celebrated her fifteen birthday on January 2,
1904, three days after the fire. Dodgeville is
a small Wisconsin town midway between Minneapolis
They waited on the third floor fire escape landing
while Dora's mother, Dora E. Thomas Reynolds (b.
1868-aft1936), crossed a plank stretched across Couch Place
alley from the gallery balcony fire escape to
Northwestern University. Mrs. Reynolds,
reportedly the first
person to try the crossing, made it to safety, but both girls
died, either from flames or falling to the alley
below. It is not known whether Ruth's mother, Annie Stratman, was at the theater and survived or was not
family, headed by Ohio native and civil engineer,
James J. Reynolds (1865-1960) lived at 421 East
Forty-fifth street in Chicago. Dora was their
only child. She attended either the South Division
High School or the Forestville Elementary School at
45th and St. Lawrence. A
Chicago school board report immediately after the
fire listed Dora as a South Division student but her
name was included on a stained glass window memorial
by Louis Julian Millet for Forestville
School victims. The most likely answer is that
Dora had been a Forestville student prior to the
1903 school year when she began high school at South
Ruth Stratman (b.1889) was the
daughter of a farming family, German immigrant,
Frederick "Will" Stratman
(1865-1960) and Mary Ann "Annie" Johns Stratman
(1867-1941). She had two siblings: a
younger sister named Mildred and
three year old brother named Frederick.
Ruth's mother Annie of course could not see the freight train
barreling their way. In May of 1903 she was
elected vice president of a literary club in
James Reynolds served for
two years as president of the Iroquois Memorial
society. In his obituary he was lauded for helping
oversee construction of Navy pier and the 1906
layout of Gary.
Ruth and Dora were second
cousins, the great granddaughters of William Rogers
(1815-1992) and Mary Polkinghorn Rogers (1822-1901),
English immigrants who settled in Dodgeville,
(I struggled to connect the
dots on this one. If you're working on Rogers-Stratman-Thomas
this simplified tree might help.)
Dodgeville, Wisconsin and Chicago family members was
close. In 1900 Dora's sister and her family,
Annie and Charles Davies, lived with Dora and James
in Chicago. In the years after the fire the
sisters traveled to Panama and Europe.
The girls bodies were found at
Rolston's Funeral home. Ruth Stratman's body
was identified by her uncle, William Utting
(1857-1928), and Dora's by her father. William
and Martha Utting lived in Chicago.
Presumably there was a joint
funeral for Ruth and Dora. Ruth is buried at East
Side Cemetery in Dodgeville, WI with her parents.
Two other unrelated people
named Reynolds were among the Iroquois Theater
Barbara and Emma Reynolds.
Need picture of Ruth Stratman
Learn what happened to
Forestville school's Louis J. Millet stained glass window.
Some period reports inaccurately stated that Ruth
was from Dodgeville, Indiana rather than Dodgeville,
Wisconsin, and that she was eighteen years old
rather than fourteen.