Thirty year old Dora A. Mitchell (b.1870) was one of
forty teachers at the Charles R. Darwin elementary
school. She grew
up in Lockport, Illinois, a town about thirty miles
southwest of Chicago and five miles north of Joliet,
Illinois. Though I’ve not been able to find an
address, she must have been living in Chicago while
working at the Darwin school. Lockport to Chicago
seems like a long commute for 1903 trains.
It is not known who was in her party at the
Iroquois. There were no other Darwin school teachers
among Iroquois fatalities. Dora’s body was taken to
Jordan's funeral home where it was identified by
what was probably a search party from Lockport:
Father James McGovern, W. Fiddyment and A. Fiddyment.
Dora was the daughter of Irish immigrants, Patrick
Mitchell and Mary Mitchell, who had married in 1869.
Patrick came to America in 1836 and Mary in 1855.
In 1900 Dora still lived with her parents, sister
and grandmother. She and her younger sister, Mary
(also the name of her mother and grandmother) were
the only two surviving of five children born by Mary
Ann Hyland Mitchell. Their father, Patrick, caulked
boats for a living.
Mitchell’s owned their home, making theirs part of
forty five percent of owner-occupied Illinois households in 1903, but among a
smaller proportion of Iroquois Theater families. I
have not tracked it, so cannot supply a proportion
to substantiate my observation, but am aware that so
few have been home owners that it is a small
surprise to see one. Made a note to explore the
why of this further.
Prior to assignment at the Darwin school in Chicago,
Dora was one of three teachers at the South Lockport
school, earning $27 per month during the school
Nothing is known of Dora’s funeral or interment. She
had a $1,000 life insurance policy (roughly $20,000