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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thriller Thursday: Epic 1931 Fire Described as Holocaust

Imagine the scene.  Fire erupts in the middle of the night at a poor house in Pittsburgh.  It's a story that headlined the newspapers for three days in July 1931.

Here is a partial list of the dead:

Clara Lenz, 70, died late yesterday in West Penn Hospital of burns and smoke inhalation. Body was claimed by relatives.
Mary Shumaker, 68, died in Homeopathic Hospital at 7:37 o'clock last night of shock.
Frederick Edelman, 75, identified by his son, Frederick Jr., of 217 Spring Street.
George A. Becker,53, identified by a friend, John E. Ridall, Jr., of 16 North Duquesne avenue, Duquesne.
Mary A.Hite, 67, identified by Nicholas E. Lyman, nephew, of 1404 Eighteenth avenue, Altoona
Cornelius Moore, 70, identified by his daughter Josephine Stewart, of 1114 Sunday street.
Martha Filey, 76, identified by Sarah Filey, a daughter-in-law, of 2121 Penn avenue.
Catherine Cansher, 59, identified by Elizabeth Flannery, a friend, of 216 Forty-fourth street.
Mary Waldier, 60, identified by Dennis, a son, of 2 Laxton place.
Mary Jacobs, 68, identified by Algie Jacobs, of 6733 Hedge street, a sister-in-law.
Catherine McGuire, 86, identified by a niece, Catherine Bradley, of 256 Melwood avenue.
Mary Thomas, 80, identified by her son, Ellsworth Roberts, of 15 Arlington avenue.
Gustave Moll, 70, identified by Rudolph Henne, a friend, of 605 North Beatty street.
Andrew Watermeyer, 71, identified by Mary M. Baker, a daughter, of 7135 Hermitage street.
Mrs. Rosie Lang, 71, identified by Thomas Carr, son-in-law, of 3934 Liberty avenue.
Catherine McIsaac, 77, identified by Charles R. Davis, of 6924 Bishop street, as his mother-in-law.
Mary McAvoy, 71, died in Homeopathic Hospital, identified by friends in the hospital. Proof of identity not yet given.
Mary Burns, 69, died in Homeopathic Hospital; gave her name and those of friends; proof not yet given.
Theresa Risinger, 81, identified by John Breneman, of 1315 West Washington street, New Castle, as his mother.
Bridget Shea, 72, died in Homeopathic Hospital; identified by friends before death; proof of identity not yet given.
Margaret Slattery, died in Homeopathic Hospital; identified by Nell McCann of 6007 Walnut street, a friend.
Mary McCarthy, 74, died in Pittsburgh Hospital; identified by friends, body turned over to undertaker.
Sara Ludden, 69, died in St. Francis Hospital; body turned over to undertaker.
Samuel Berry, 73, died in West Penn Hospital; body claimed by friends and turned over to undertaker.
Mary Connors, 66, of 5300 Penn avenue, died in West Penn Hospital, identified by relatives; body turned over to undertaker.
John Greer, 68, identified by a brother-in-law, Henry McClusky, of Washington, Pa.
Woffard J. Lynan, 73, identified by a cousin, John W. Lynan, 2032 East Ninetieth street, Cleveland
Twelve unidentified.

Three days of news on this tragic event which was filled with both despair and heroism have been transcribed and can be found at our Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project.

Ahhh, genealogy.  Amidst the tears of despair our hearts can still sing with triumph.  Just be sure to bring your hankies!

©2015 ASEldredge

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