Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Great Chicago Fire Day Three, 150 Years -- October 10, 2021

Rock Island Argus, 11-October-1871

150 years ago today, on 09-October-1871, the Great Chicago Fire continued to rage for a third day. The fire burned for three days and killed at least 300 people. (Spoiler Alert) Mrs O'Leary's cow did not start it. 


4 O'Clock P. M.

England Sympathizes and
Assists !
St. Louis will give Half
a Million!
The Insurance Companies all
Five Hundred Soldiers on
Duty !
LOSS $300,000,000 ! LOSS OF LIFE

[Reported Expressly for the Argus.]

Leavenworth, Oct. 10. -- The printers give $100 for Chicago. A train load of provisions on the way.

Kansas City, Oct. 10. -- Liberal subscriptions for Chicago.

New York, Oct. 10. -- The Governor has issued a proclamation urging instant relief for Chicago. All the cities are rapidly acting. Brooklyn has sent $100,000. Buffalo gives $107,000.

Boston Oct. 10. -- Boston gives $100,000 to Chicago.

London, England, Oct. 10. -- Intense excitement about Chicago. Large subscriptions being raised. Morgan and Co., bankers, give $5,000.

New York, Oct. 10. -- At a meeting of the Germania, Hanover, Niagara and Republic insurance companies, composing the Underwriters' agency of New York, today, preparations were made to pay immediately upon adjustment, all losses incurred in Chicago, after doing which the capital of all the companies will remain unimpaired. Special meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, called to act in reference to the Chicago sufferers, was largely attended. Immediately upon calling the meeting to order by Mr. Opdyke, Fiske and Hatch handed the chairman a check for $l0,000. The following firms gave $10,000 each: Henry Slews and Co., Jay Cook and Co., Illinois Railroad Company. One hundred persons were appointed to collect subscriptions.

The gold room gives $5,000. Certain merchants give $l3,000. Everybody is giving freely, -- Masonic lodges, mechanic associations -- everybody.

St. Louis, Oct 10. -- St. Louis has given $70,000, and intends to give half a million dollars to Chicago.

Des Moines, Oct 10. -- The governor of Iowa appeals to all the people of the state to contribute money for Chicago.

Chicago, Oct 10. -- Midnight. -- The arrival of firemen and engines from Milwaukee, St. Louis and other cities has apparently restored confidence. The Cincinnati men arrived this morning with four engines, three from that city and one from Dayton. There was inexpressible pleasure in seeing these experienced men go right to work in a business way, where work was most needed. They are playing on coal piles to save whatever of fuel is possible and prevent a further spread of the flames. The vast plain is covered with people wandering about and seeing the evidence of a wealth that has completely vanished in flames and smoke. Few business men with some nerve are starting houses for business on the West side. Rooms that rented last week for fifty dollars now readily command five thousand. There are not many of these but enough to afford a nucleus for business. The newspapers will be started again in a few days or a week. Hon. Joseph Medill, of the Tribune, who is one of the heaviest sufferers succeeded yesterday in leasing a building on Washington street, at the tunnel. He also purchased two single cylinder presses used in a job office on the West side and has telegraphed east for paper and type, there being nothing left here. Mr. Storey of the Times, will erect a rough one story building and begin to issue his paper as soon as material can be procured. The Journal is provided for the west side. The Post, Republican and Staat Zeitung will also arrange for business as soon as practicable, but everything must come from elsewhere as there is nothing left from the business.

Throughout the day yesterday a renewal of the fire on the West side was looked for and change of five degrees in the direction of the wind at any time would have told that the result there would literally have been no refuge for any one. Every one had their clothing packed ready to start for the prairie at any moment. At sundown the wind lulled and at three o'clock this morning the rain so fervently prayed for came. It did not fall long, but the roofs of the houses and the ground have been wet so that now it is possible to have fire to cook food for the masses.

A meeting of citizens was held in the First Congregational Church, on West Washington street, which was continued through the night. Measures were concerted to protect what property was left and also to provide for the homeless. Richard and Charles Craine, of the Northwestern Manufacturing company contrived a plan, which is being put into execution, for providing water in case of the fire breaking out again. The machinery of their works is being used for pumping water from the river. Fifteen hundred citizens were sworn in last night as extra policemen, and the Secretary of War has authorized Gen. Sheridan to employ all available troops to guard, and issue a hundred thousand rations.

Five hundred soldiers are on duty. This precaution is necessary, for as remarkable as it may seem, there were fiends who still sought to extend the disaster. Two men who were caught in the act of firing houses on the West Side were seized and immediately hung to lamp posts. One was caught on Twelfth street near the river, and the other three miles out on Clayborne avenue.

Chicago, Oct 11, 2:30 a. m. -- A careful survey Of insurances to-day shows that there were policies on the property destroyed to the amount of over two hundred million dollars. Add another hundred million to this sum and a fair estimate can be reached of the loss. All the leading merchants who have been seen express their determination to resume business at once. This includes the heavy houses of John V. Farwell, Field, Leiter and Co., Sprague, Warner and Co., and others.

In the City there it no water except what is gotten from the lake. Very grave fears of outrages by thieves on the West Side are felt. General Sheridan, who has been a hard worker all through the fire, is still asking for troops from different points, to keep order. All business and work is suspended and every one it intent on securing, first something to eat, next shelter.

The suffering on the North Side is heart-rending. Men, women and children -- fifty thousand of them -- huddled together like so many wild animals ; and, in another place, seventeen thousand Germans and Irish praying for relief ; helpless children asking for bread ; heart-broken parents, who know not which way to turn or what to say, nothing to do but to await the distribution of supplies which at best must be a slow proceeding, as there are parts of the burnt districts over which it is almost impossible to travel. Women in the pains of child-birth, and patients who have been aroused from beds of sickness to save lives that at best were nearly spent -- all exposed to the rain of last night and the cold, raw winds of today. Several deaths have occurred in Lincoln Park, and three women have brought children into the world only to die. There are people who, in the bitterness of their souls, ascribe the calamity to God's judgment. A German said to me: "This is a second Sodom and Gomorrah, and the curse is on it." Another night must be spent in Lincoln Park and the brick fields of Division street, and yet another and another. Each train and extra are loaded to their fullest capacity, taking people away who, in many instances, have no place to go to, yet can't stay here ; and every train is obliged to leave five times as many as it takes.

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