Seat 57, Section D, Dress Circle
Thirty two year old Rose Mary Karasek* Rogers was sitting four
feet from an exit but was unable to escape from the
Iroquois. She suffered a broken collar bone and
forearm as well as burns on the hands and neck. Her
husband Samuel’s testimony at the coroner’s trial
did not indicate that her burns were severe so
presumably she suffocated, either from smoke
inhalation or by crushing.
Rose was a teacher at the Thomas Jefferson
elementary school at Laflin and Elburn and may have
attended the theater with another Jefferson teacher
fatality, Florence Tobias. Rose's body was
identified by a ticket stub in her purse. She and
Samuel, an attorney, lived at 1842 N. Sawyer avenue
in Chicago. She was buried in a Karasek
plot in the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago
alongside a brother, Anton, who had died thirteen
1903 was a very bad year for Chicago attorney Samuel
B. Rogers (1860-1945). His mother died in June. Rose’s
death came six months later, a week after their
sixth wedding anniversary.
Samuel was the son of a farmer from New York,
Charles Franklin Rogers (1817-1896) and Arabella
“Ella” Barnum Rogers (1925-1903). The family lived
in Oshkosh, WI until sometime after 1880 when they
relocated to Chicago. Samuel had one sibling, a
younger brother, Dr. Buell Sumner Rogers (b.
1863-1932). Buell specialized in urinary disease and
taught at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in
Samuel married Rose Mary Karasek (b.1871) in
December, 1897. Rose went by her middle name as a
child and sometimes too as an adult. In reporting
her death, the School Journal referred to her
as Mary so she may have been known as Mary among her
fellow teachers. She was one of ten children born to
a Wisconsin dairy farmer Frank Karasek (1834-1888)
and Fannie Karasek (1840-1917). Frank and Fannie
immigrated to America from Bohemia (Austria) and settled in Hickory Grove, Wisconsin.
Rose was an infant when her parents and six siblings made the voyage
from Breman, Germany to America aboard the steamship,
In the 1900 census, husband Samuel was reported as
living with his widowed mother at 825 S. Homan.
Though he and Rose had been married for three years,
she was not reported as a member of the household.
That same census record reported
that Samuel had two children but I found no birth
records for children of Samuel and Rose. His mother,
however, who did have two children, he and Buell, was reported
as having had none. City directories from 1899 to
1903 had Samuel and Rose living together, first on S. Homan, then on N. Sawyer.
Maybe the census worker had a bad day.
In the years after the fire
Samuel may have remarried in
1912, to a woman named Alma Robertson. They
moved around for a few decades, living in
Gettysburg, South Dakota and Wisconsin, setting in
Martinsville, Indiana during the last years of his
Frank Karasek, Rose's
brother, served as an officer in the Iroquois
Theater Memorial Association in 1913.
Information still needed:
Identity of other woman in Rose's theater party