from the cars, and large numbers of citizens were engaged in fur-
thering the distribution of these commodities, Aldermen Samuel
McCotter and B. G. Gill and Supervisor F. A. Pierce taking
charge of the rink. When they had thoroughly established their
depot, they had any number of assistants who had volunteered for
At the church headquarters, the ladies had organized an excel-
lent system of distributing male, female and children's wearing ap-
parel, as well as household supplies and furnishings, also maintain-
ing the kitchen and dining-room department. Among the ladies
present, and who were most efficient, were Mrs. J. W. Boyden,
Miss Eliza Cherrie, Mrs. E. P. Goodwin, Mrs. Orren E. Moore,
Mrs. C. C. P. Holden, Miss Sarah E. Stanley, Mrs. Joseph Medill,
Mrs. H. Z. Culver, Mrs. Thomas Wilce, Miss Julia C. DeClercq,
Mr-. II. L. Hammond, Mrs. William Ripley, Mrs. C. T,. Hotch-
[rs. Alonzo Snider, Mrs. P. Amick, Miss Kate Medill, Miss
Elinor Medill, Miss Birdie Reynolds, Miss Luella Lawrence, Miss
Emily Fowler, Mrs. Charles E. Culver, Mrs. Goodrich, Mrs. D.W.
Clark, Jr., Mrs. George I.. Scott, Mrs. W. W. Karwell, Miss C.
Sinclair, Mrs. Sawyer and Mrs. Todd. Mrs. Dr. Dickinson and
â– be W. Couzins, of St. Louis, had also reported for duty.
They had a great work under their charge, and they most faith-
fully and zealously performed it. Then, loo, with General Joseph
S. Reynolds, they had charge of the Lost and Found Department.
And that was a busy one; for be it remembered that men, women
and children were separated from each other many days, and there
were many affecting scenes at that church.
Mayor Mason arrived early that morning, and, in conjunction
with the committee, everything was done that could be to continue
the efficacy of the work. The mayor and committee issued the
following additional proclamation :
"The headquarters of the General Relief Committee are at
the Congregational Church, corner of Ann and Washington streets.
All of the public school buildings, as well as the churches, are open
for the shelter of persons who do not find other accommodations.
When food is not found at such buildings, it will be provided by
the committee, on application at the headquarters.
"Chicago, Oct. 10,' 71.
" R. B. Mason, Mayor.
" O. E. Moore and W. B. Bateham, West Division.
" J. H. McAvoy and N. K. Fairbank, South Division.
" M. A. Devine and John Herting, North Division."
The same committee issued the following notice :
" Headquarters General Relief Committee, )
" Chicago, October 10, iSyi. )
'J. W. Preston, Esq., President of the Board of Trade, is
hereby authorized to receive, on account of this committee, all
supplies for the relief of the destitute, and to distribute the same
to depots of supplies established in the city, under the control
and upon the order of this committee. He is also authorized to
hire, or press into service, if necessary, a sufficient number of
teams to haul such supplies.
" Orren E. Moore, Chairman.
" C. T. Hotchkiss. Secretary."
On the same day, the Mayor issued an order prohibiting the
use of kerosene, or other inflammable oil, in any barn or stable, and
forbidding smoking on the public streets, until a supply of water
was again had.
These proclamations were immediately printed, and thousands
were distributed in all parts of the city, and the police were strictly
enjoined to see that they were enforced. At the same time â€” 10:30
a.m. â€” at the suggestion of the writer, an ordinance was passed
fixing the price of bread, as follows :
"Section 1. That the price of bread in the City of Chicago,
for the next ten (10) days, is hereby fixed and established at eight
(S) cents per loaf of twelve (12) ounces in weight, and at the same
rate for all loaves of less or greater weight.
"Section 2. Any person selling, or attempting to sell, any
bread within the City of Chicago, within said ten (10) days, at a
greater price than is fixed by the ordinance, shall be liable to a
penalty of ten (10) dollars for each and every offense, to be col-
lected as other penalties for violation of City Ordinances.
"Section 3. This ordinance shall be in force from and after its
General C. T. Hotchkiss, city clerk, was directed to cause five
thousand copies to be printed, and at once distributed throughout
The demand for this bread ordinance was caused by numerous
unprincipled persons who took advantage of the great necessities
of those who had been burned out, and charged extortionate rates.
These extortions were practised, not only by bread-venders, but to
a large extent by the owners of all kinds of vehicles ; but as rigid
instructions had been given to take forcible possession of any such
vehicle, in the name of the city, the practice was very soon aban-
doned, and legal rates and honest policy adopted. Regular police-
men, in addition to the specials, were at the church constantly, in
case of any emergency. Officers John Reid, John ilickey, and
many others, remained there for many days. The roughs, the in-
cendiaries, and bad characters of all classes and kinds, as a rule,
gave Chicago a wide berth during those days of great excitement
Genera/ Relief Work. â€” Relief work of every sort was
now being thoroughly done. Most of the churches had
taken hold with a will, and were cooking provisions and
feeding the hungry. Then, too, nearly every church had
a special relief bureau, where all necessary articles were
supplied to the unfortunates who belonged to their de-
nomination or congregation. Alonzo Snider and Miss C.
Sinclair, with large numbers of assistants, had arrange-
ments whereby they could feed, to ihe extent of five thousand
daily, at the Green Street (old) Church. They distributed soups,
vegetables, meats, bread, coffee, tea, etc. Every train, on every
railroad entering Chicago, brought in supplies; and these trains
were continuously coming. It seemed as if the railroads ami
people throughout the country had joined together for this laud-
able work. Some of the roads had entire trains of supplies for
the relief of our sufferers. These trains came from Dearly every
city and hamlet within a radius of three hundred miles of Chicago,
THE BURNING OF CHICAGO.
and they, being made up of car-lots, showed that committees had
commenced working early on Monday Those receiving the sup-
plies from the roads were fully occupied. Teams were continually
hauling goods to every part of the city, general rendezvous being
Seven car-loads of cooked and uncooked provisions, blankets,
bedding, clothing, etc., arrived early in the day from Springfield,
111., also six car-loads from Fort Wayne, Ind. ; and Mayor H.
Ludington, of Milwaukee, sent six car-loads of cooked provisions,
and telegraphed that Milwaukee would find homes for ten thousand
homeless people. Hon I). W. Munn brought in two car-loads of
cooked provisions, early in the day, from Cairo, 111. Very large
quantities, too, came in from villages which were located away
from the railroads.
Money Contributions. â€” Not alone were provisions and other ne-
cessities being received, but telegraphic advices of large sums of
money forwarded were constantly arriving, as the following
" You are authorized to draw on Kidder, Peabody & Co., of
this city, for $100,000, for the relief of the sufferers by the late fire.
"Wm. Gaston, Mayor.
Boston, Mass., October 10, 1871."
Others were received from A. T. Stewart, New York City, for
$50,000; from James A. Weston, Manchester, N. H., for $15,000;
from the city of Erie, Penn., for $15,000; from Troy, N. Y., for
$10,000; from Montreal, Canada, for $10,000; from Albany, N.Y.,
for $10,000; from Brooklyn, N. Y., for $100,000; from Philadel-
phia, Penn., for $100,000; from Pittsburgh, Penn, for $100,000;
and A. Belmont & Co., Duncan Sherman Â»S; Co., and Brown Broth-
ers sent a contribution of $5,000 each ; E. B. Harlan drew a check
on Governor J. M. Palmer, payable to the order of the writer, for
$5,000; and Kidder, Peabody & Co. sent an order for $100,000;
making a total of $530,000. These amounts, by telegraph and
otherwise, together with some fifty others, in smaller amounts, were
received during the day of October 10, 1S71.
Exodus from the City. â€” Great numbers were leaving the city
and G. DeCIercq and A. G. Lane, who had charge
of the Transportation Department, had all they
could do to furnish them passes. The committee
had adopted a form of pass to be given, and had a
large number printed. On Tuesday morning, it
established an office in the main north entrance to
the church; and a line of applicants for passes
Governor John M. Palmer, in a proclamation, dated October
10, J 871, said:
" A fire of unexampled magnitude has devastated the City of
Chicago, depriving thousands of our citizens of shelter and food
and clothing. Under these painful circumstances, I call upon you
to open your hearts for the relief of the suffering. Contribute of
your abundance everything that you can â€” food, clothing, money ;
organize committees and systematize your efforts. Remembei
those, our fellow citizens, who have always responded so nobly to
And on the same day the governor called an extra session of
the Legislature, to assemble on Friday, October 13, and recom-
mended the consideration of the following subjects :
" 1st. To appropriate such sum or sums of money, or adopt
other legislative measures as may be thought judicious, necessary
or proper for the relief of the people of the City of Chicago.
" 2d. To enact such other laws and to adopt such other meas-
ures as may be necessary for the relief of the City of Chicago and
the people of said city, and for the execution and enforcement of
the laws of the State."
In addition to this official action, the governor telegraphed to
the mayor as follows :
" Springfield, October 11. '7/.
" R. B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago: â€” Legislature is called for
Tuesday, 13th of October. Send down a committee to suggest
measures for the relief of your people. Everybody is disposed to
aid you, and it is desirable that some of your senators and repre-
sentatives come. John M Palmer."
Committees from the entire surrounding country continued to
arrive with proffers of help. These representative committees had
to be cared for, and tho=e who had their homes left untouched, and
not fully occupied by sufferers, gave them a hearty welcome. Some
of the committees, however, remained at the church, making tem-
porary beds of the mattresses and blankets. They were perfectly
willing to " rough it," if by so doing they could in the least help
those whom they had come to serve. At 7:30 p. m., the Cincinnati
BAIL BOAP PASS.
Rail Road Pass
__A. Sufferer ly
the late Fire to
â– ^JflWrwrn BOief Cam-
extended for nearly a block west on Washington Street. They
issued a ticket to each, similar to that here reproduced. These
passes were filled out, and the managers of the various railroads
running out of Chicago accepted them. This, of course, was
but a temporary expedient, and other modes were subsequently
adopted for this service. The number that applied on Tuesday
was legion. It was thought that fifteen thousand persons left
the city on Monday and fifteen thousand more on Tuesday, or
nearly one-third of all those who were burned out. All trains
leaving the city that day had all the passengers they could carry ;
freight trains also carried many passengers during those early days
succeeding the fire.
More Help promised. â€” From telegraphic and other advices re-
ceived during the day, it appeared that nearly every city and hamlet
in the country, from Maine to California, and also from Europe,
were taking active measures to send forward contributions for the
sufferers. These advices continued arriving during the entire day
delegation arrived, headed by Hon Josiah L. Keck and
General A. T. Goshorn, and the following members of the
delegation : Richard Smith, Hugh McBurnie, Benjamin
Eggleston, Thomas G. Smith, E. V. Brookfield and Alpheus
Cutler. They brought with them seven freight cars, loaded to
their fullest capacity with supplies of all kinds. That day
brought about great results for all those unfortunates who had
been burned out. At 8 o'clock p. m., Alderman W. B. Bate-
ham, who had just come in from the North Side, and others
who had been to other portions of the burned district, re-
ported that " every homeless soul had shelter, food and
water, and that the sick and injured, so far as known, were
provided for." Now, when it is remembered that on Monday
noon, only thirty-two hours previously, all seemed chaotic,
and that the fire was raging on the North Side, the work
which had been accomplished in that short period of time
seems almost incredible.
Scenes among the Sufferers. â€” The committee having in
charge the lost and found had been instrumental in bring-
ing together whole families whom the fire had separated.
Mothers had been enabled to find their children and children
their parents. At about five p. m., a poor German woman,
almost distracted and heart-broken, came rushing into the
church with the words, "I have lost my boys, my poor
boys," giving the names and ages of each to the lady at
the desk of the " Lost and Found Department." She was nearly
insane with grief ; her children had been separated from her
in the midst of the fire, and she mourned them as dead. A
gentleman who was in the crowd heard her wails, and, com-
ing quickly to her side, told her that her boys were safe, and at
his house, and stated that he found them on that terrible
Monday, wandering aimlessly about. The joy of that mother
can not be described. There were many similar meetings during
those fearful days, but in the morning, it was reported that
there were more than two thousand children unaccounted for.
besides a very large number of adults of both sexes and all ages.
Eight dead bodies, or parts thereof, were laid on the sidewalk
in front of Mathias Mamers's jewelry store, at the southwest
corner of Harrison and Jefferson streets, one of them being that of
Jacob Wolf, of No. 95 Harrison Street, in whose place, Mr.
Mamers was at the time of the discovery of the fire, on the evening
of the 8th.
Alderman Bateham reported that night having seen twenty-
HISTORY OF CHICAGO.
seven dead bodies during the day, some so mutilated as to be
bevond recognition. One of the horrible sights seen by him
was near the Sands Brewery, and which manifested a mother's love.
The spectacle presented was that of a dead woman, who had first
dug a hole in the sand, and therein placed her child, and while
beading over it, to protect it from the fire, both had perished in the
flames. He passed through very many trying scenes among the
wounded, crippled and dying.
There were many interesting incidents at the church during
the same period, some of which, are worthy of preservation. In
one part of the room, a group of colored children were huddled
together, their ages ranging from two years upward ; the baby had
a doughnut, trying to nibble it, while the others were playing
around, heedless of their lost condition. Elsewhere was a group
of five German children, the eldest, probably twelve years of age,
a girl, who was a mother indeed to the others, the youngest of
whom, was about four vears old. She carefully attended to their
every want, and said that she hoped their parents might be safe,
but as the children had been separated from them when their house
first commenced to burn, she was fearful that they had perished in
the flames. Another, an intelligent looking lady with a baby in
her lap, and two other children cuddled down by her side, was
sorrowing grievously at the supposed loss of her husband, whom
she seemed to know was burned, while the two children were sob-
bing as though their hearts would break â€” the baby being the only
one in the group who was composed.
Tuesday was the children's day at that church, and it was one
of the busiest days ever known to a relief or any other organization.
Hundreds of children found their parents during the day, who had
been lost from them since Sunday night or Monday morning.
While the crowd was not only around the church, but extended for
a long distance up and down the streets, a German woman had
found her way to an open window, where she could see the working
masse:, inside. She attracted the writer's attention by her distressed
gestures and appearance, and he sent an officer to bring her in. In
answer to a question as to what was wanted, she said that her hus-
band had been crushed, thereby losing a part of his right side and
shoulder, but was still living, and she had come for help. Then
she swooned, and Dr. Rauch had her taken away and kindly cared
for. These trying scenes were of frequent occurrence on Tuesday.
Work done by the Committee. â€” There had also been a small
army fed and cared for in the church on that day by the ladies.
Alonzo Snider, with Miss C. J. Sinclair, reported having fed nearly
five thousand during the same period at the Green-street Church.
Clothing of all kinds, blankets, bedding, and indeed everything
needed to make comfortable those who were in distress, had been
distributed. Telegrams were continually coming in, informing us
of very large sums of money being collected. It was well known
on that Tuesday evening, that more than $1,500,000 had been con-
tributed by the people throughout the country, and the outlook
Wednesday was much brighter than it was twenty-four hours be-
fore. The scene was now changed ; there had been rain ; the fire
had exhausted itself ; a glorious day's work had been done ; and
all felt more cheerful ; and the great numbers of committees from
abroad gladly observed this fact, as one of the many excellent re-
sults of their visit. Our reports footed up that night, as a part of
the day's work, six hundred and fifty wagon-loads of cooked and
other provisions, clothing, bedding, etc., delivered to the homeless,
and two thousand and fifty-four wagon-loads of women and chil-
dren brought to the churches, school-houses and other places of
shelter. During the same day, Evanston had distributed twelve
wagon-loads of cooked provisions to the homeless in and around
Lincoln Park. This statement of work performed during the day
includes only those teams under the supervision of the General Re-
lief Committee. There were, no doubt, more than two thousand
private conveyances carrying homeless people to places of safety
and shelter during the same period. Then, too, there were all
kinds of private conveyances, hauling supplies from the cars and
storehouses to the needy.
Organisation by the Churches. â€” At 11 p. m. Tuesday, the out-
look was one of great encouragement. Rev. Dr. Goodwin had
been busy all day conferring with representatives from other churches
in regard to forming committees in their respective organizations,
thus paving the way to establishing regular relief committees in
connection with the various religious denominations, to more par-
ticularly look after those connected with their own societies, espe-
cially those not likely to apply for public relief. lie called a meet-
ing of those interested in this work at the residence of Dr. N. S.
Davis, No. 770 Wabash Avenue, on the nexl day (Wednesday), to
"organ;/ lief committee for the help of burned-out
church members and other worthy people." The Hon. Joseph
Medill was appointed to represi il In. Goodwin's Congregational
Church on the special relief committee, Rev. Robert Laird Collyer
for the Unitarian denomination, E. ( Lamed for the Episcopalian,
Mrs. Tyler for the Baptist, Dr. N. S. Davis for the Methodist, and
many other delegates for other churches whose names are not re-
membered. At that meeting a course of action was formulated,
which resulted in collecting large sums of money and goods from
church members who were not burned out or crippled beyond their
ability to give.
Committees continue to Arrive. â€” The writer remained Tuesday
night at the church. Everything that was taking place throughout
the city, of extraordinary character, was immediately reported to
the headquarters. Wednesday morning more committees came
from abroad, many from cities in Canada and in the Middle and
Eastern States. The one from Hamilton, Canada, was at the
church by daylight, and had come well prepared ; so in fact had all
the committees. It was estimated on Wednesday that representa-
tives of more than one thousand committees had visited our head-
quarters since Monday noon. They did not come simply to make
their donations and then remain spectators, but to consult with our
people concerning their needs. The governors of most of the
Western States, as well as some from the Southern and Eastern, had
also visited us, and invariably brought words of good cheer and
More thorough Systcmatization of the Committee. â€” Early in
the morning the committee assembled, when C. C. P. Holden
treasurer, stated that large sums of money had been contrib-
uted, and were then en route, some of which were coming to him
personally, and by drafts, payable to his order ; and he suggested
that these sums should be placed in the treasury of the city, where
the entire city would be responsible to the contributors. He,
therefore, tendered his resignation as treasurer of the Relief
Organization, and moved the appointment of David A. Gage
â€” the city treasurer â€” to that position. Mr. Hoiden's resigna-
tion was accepted, and David A. Gage then became the treasurer
and custodian of the world's contributions to the sufferers by the
fire. This action gave entire satisfaction to the numerous commit-
tees then present and representing the contributors. At the same
meeting the committee presented a series of by-laws, which were
passed, for a thorough svstematization of the work, and especially
for the receipt and disbursement of all moneys. The by-laws were
as follows :
" 1. All supplies of provisions and clothing will be received
and distributed by the General Relief Committee, of which O. E.
Moore is chairman and C. T. Hotchkiss secretary. Headquarters
of the Committee, corner of Ann and Washington streets.
" 2. All contributions of money will be delivered to the city
treasurer, David A. Gage, who will receipt, and keep the same as a
special relief fund.
"3. All moneys deposited at other places for the relief of
this city will be drawn only by the mayor of the city.
" 4. No moneys will be paid out of the Special Relief Fund,
except upon order of the auditing committee. George Taylor, city
comptroller ; Mancel Talcott, of the West Division, and Brock
McVickar, of the South Division, are hereby appointed such audit-
" 5. Railroad passes from the city will be issued under the
direction of the General Relief Committee, corner of Ann and
" Relief Headquarters, Chicago, Oct. u, 1871."
The New York Train. â€” Colonel James Fisk, Jr. and Jay
Gould, both of the Erie Railroad, had telegraphed on Monday
that they were preparing a train to carry supplies to the Chicago
sufferers, and on Wednesday, at 10 o'clock a. m., the train left
New York. It consisted of seven carsâ€” heavily loaded with pro-
visions and other supplies. It made fifty miles an hour to Port
Jervis, reached Susquehanna at 3 p. m., and was reported at
Elmira making unprecedented time to that point. Dense crowds
of enthusiastic peopje were assembled at the depots in the princi-
pal towns, and many attempted to throw bundles on the train as it
flew past. On the evening of that day, Colonel Fisk telegraphed :
" We received to-day, since the departure of the lightning relief
train at 10 o'clock this morning, over ten thousand consignments
for the sufferers at Chicago, which were forwarded by the express
train at 7 o'clock this evening. It would be almost impossible to
enumerate the contents of the packages or their value ; but as far
as we can judge, taking the entire shipment, nothing could be more
appropriate had a month been occupied in the selection. I find
that in a single consignment there were shipped one hundred coats,
one hundred pairs of trousers, one hundred vests ; while another
consignment included four hundred barrels of sugar and coffee ;
and still another, one hundred barrels of flour. We have, from