Beyond All Telling is the Result of a Fire in St. Francis School Building
This Afternoon—Seven Little Girls Dead—Many Others
Taken to St. Mary’s Hospital—Father Andrews, Prof. Musholt, and Three
Sisters Badly Burned—Most of the Injured Will Die.
An alarm of fire was turned in at 3 o’clock his [sic this] afternoon from St. Francis
school located on Vine street, between Seventeenth and Eighteenth street. The
department responded and the fire is well under control at this writing but not before
many children were badly burned.
The fire caught in the entertainment hall of the school building which is on the top
floor of the building. The children filed out of the school in regular order as quickly
The fire originated on the stage of the hall where a number of children were practicing
for a Christmas entertainment. While fire was being used in the exercise flames caught
some of the scenery and excitement reigned for a number of minutes till the children
were securely out of the way.
Some of the children were not taken from the stage quick enough and were taken to
near-by houses and their wounds are being dressed now.
The teachers in charge of the school worked heroically.
Later reports from the St. Francis school fire are more
distressing. Many little girls ranging in age from 7 to 8 years were horribly burned and it is
thought that most of the number will die.
Some of the little ones were burned beyond recognition. The scenes depicted at the time of the
fire were heartrending.
The children were thrown into a paroxysm of excitement and it was with great difficulty that they were
rescued from the building.
As was first reported the fire itself did not amount to much and was soon extinguished but not till
after terribly fatal results of human life.
Seven of the little girls who were burned died of their injuries. Many others who were badly
burned were taken to St. Mary’s hospital for treatment where the entire hospital corps were on hand
to dress their wounds.
Mr. Bernbrook, who keeps a store near the school, carried out one of the children who was badly burned.
Still Later Reports.
The latest and most authentic report from the awful scene which was visited by a
Journal reporter is to the effect that the fire started by the cotton batting suits of two little
girls, dressed to represent lambs, catching fire from the gas. They were badly frightened and rushed
pell mell into the throngs of other children who were in the building, also practicing for the
The children’s clothes caught fire instantly and the scene was an awful one, the flames covering
the two little girls dressed as lambs from head to foot and spreading among the other children,
setting fire to their clothes. All of them rushed about like mad and it was with difficulty that
any of them were rescued at all.
Father Andrew did heroic work and was seriously burned about the hands.
Sisters and Teachers Burned.
Prof. Musholt was also badly burned in his brave efforts of rescue.
Three sisters, namely: Sister Theotana, Sister Ludwigs, and Sister Reduitha, were badly
burned in rescuing the screaming and frightened children who ran through the halls and
around the building in agony, shrieking and begging to be saved. The sisters were taken
to the orphan asylum, St. Aloysius, near by, for treatment.
Names of the Children Dead.
Seven little girls are dead, namely:
ELEANORE [Elenora] WAVERING, aged 10 years, daughter of Anton Wavering.
CARLOTTA [Colletta] MIDDENDORF, daughter of W. H. Middendorf.
BERTIE [Birdie/Bernardina] FREUND, daughter of Joe Freund.
MAYMIE [Mary E.] FUTTERER, daughter of Charles Futterer.
JOSIE ROSWOG, daughter of Alexander Roswog. (See below).
NOT IDENTIFIED. Two little girls not identified, are dead at St. Mary’s Hospital.
MAYMIE [Mary E.] HICKEY, daughter of John Hickey, will die before morning.
List of Injured Children.
List of the injured children:
Daughter of John L. Soebbing.
CELIA [Cecelia] VONDER HAAR.
JOSIE [Josephina] BOHNE.
ELEANORE TEMPE, daughter of Henry Tempe.
A LITTLE WERNER GIRL. (See below.)
Others are badly injured, but the confusion is so great that it is impossible now to find out
their names. The cries of the parents mingled with those of the children, move all to tears and
it is heartbreaking.
Chief Schlag reports seven dead as given above. This seems to be official.
But for the noble work of the sisters and other teachers more would have been burned or dead.
Doctors and ambulances and carriages are on the grounds and friends are at hand to relieve the
suffering little ones whose moans are more than many can stand, and have unnerved even strangers
called to the scene by the awful fatality.
As The Journal goes to press the injured are still being identifies and by morning the list will
All of the injured mentioned above will probably die. Some of the injured are worse burned than
Neighbors have opened their hearts and houses to help care for the stricken. Mothers and fathers
called to the school broke down entirely. Words cannot begin to tell the misery and sorrow that
Janitor Koelters was badly burned in helping to rescue children.
Little Werner Girl Reported Dead.
John Werner’s little girl is now reported dead.
The little Benz girl is burned.
The little Roswog girl is not dead, according to intest reports
[Source: Quincy Daily Journal, Dec. 22, 1899, Pg. 8-transcribed by Kayla Markley]
ELEVEN CHILDREN BURNED TO DEATH DURING A CHRISTMAS REHEARSAL
FOUR OTHERS SO BADLY INJURED THEY MAY DIE.
A Gas Jet Caused the Terrible Calamity.
LITTLE GIRL’S COSTUME BECAME IGNITED BY THE BLAZE.
In Her Terror She Spread the Flames Among Her School Mates.
DISTRESSING SCENES FOLLOW THE GREAT HORROR.
Fathers and Mothers, Almost Distracted, Seek Their Lost
Darlings—Heroic Priests, Nuns and Teachers Burn Their
Hands to the Bone Trying to Save the Little Ones—A Fire
With Little Loss to Property But Awful Loss to Life.
A flash of fire from a gas jet swept away the lives of eleven little girls at St.
Francis’ parochial school, at Seventeenth and Vine streets, yesterday afternoon, and severely
injured several others.
To-day the city is bowed in grief. No greater calamity had ever afflicted it.
Adding to the sadness of the disaster is the face that the children were rehearsing for a
Christmas entertainment. All were filled with the joy and gladness, which the Christmas
holidays bring, when the terrible stroke fell.
Eleven children were burned to death and four more were burned so badly that their recovery is
doubtful, and eight adults were more or less severely burned. The eleven dead and the four fatally
burned are all girls, ranging in age from 9 to 11 years.
Four of the girls were burned to death immediately, and the other seven died from their injuries
between 7 and 9:30 o’clock last night. The four girls still alive are in a critical condition.
The catastrophe happened in the school hall of the St. Francis school building, a large three-story
brick building. The children were rehearsing a play which was to be given as a Christmas entertainment
in the school hall next Tuesday evening. Sixteen of them were in the cast, and a winter scene was included.
Several of the girls were to represent lambs in the play, and their costume was made up largely of cotton batting.
The school hall is on the top floor of the building, and the stage is on the cast end. Some of the girls were
in a small dressing room above the stage putting the finishing touches to their costume. The room had been lighted
by an incandescent electric globe, but it had become broken, and a gas jet was used. The cotton batting of one of
the girl’s hats caught from the gas jet, and the flimsy stuff flashed up like powder. She communicated the fire to
the others, and only one of the sixteen escaped.
The awful work of the fire was done in less than ten minutes, but it was as quick and as cruel as powder. The little
girl rushed down the stairs to the stage, where the other girls were grouped, and in an instant they were all in flames.
Frank Musholt, the teacher, was on the stage, and hearing the cry of fire and seeing the flash of the flames, made a rush
for the dressing room. He was met on the stairs by a little girl all in flames, shrieking “Save us,” and in a few moments
five of them, all in flames, were screaming about him for help. Other teachers came to his assistance, and the burning
clothing was torn from the little ones, but the horrid fire had done its work.
Four children, Coletta Middendorf, Mary Althoff, Irene Freiburg and Mary Wavering, were burned to death in a few minutes,
and were taken out dead. Six others, Bernadina Freund, Addie Futterer, Olivia Timpe, Josephine Bohne, Wilhelmina Kottendorf
and Margaret Werner, were removed to St. Mary’s hospital frightfully burned.
Bernadina Freund and Addie Futterer died at 7 o’clock, Wilhelmina Kottendorf at 7:30, Olivia Timpe and Josie Bohne breathed
their last at 8 o’clock, and death relieved Margaret Werner at 9:30.
Mary Hickey ran from the building with her clothes on fire, and dashed up Vine street to Eighteenth a mass of flames. There
she fell, and was taken into Gehring’s butcher shop on that corner, from whence she was removed to her home. She lingered in
agony until 7:30 o’clock, when she died.
The other burned children were removed to their homes.
Coroner Haselwood will hold an inquest at 10 o’clock this morning.
COLETTA MIDDENDORF, daughter of W. H. Middendorf, 1322 Lind street.
IRENA FREIBURG, daughter of J. P.C. Freiburg, of 1432 Broadway.
MARY ALTHOFF, daughter of J. H. Althoff, 1628 Spring street.
MARY WAVERING, daughter of Anton Wavering, 1116 Elm street.
BERNADINA FREUND, daughter of Joseph Freund, of 505 North Thirteenth street.
ADDIE FUTTERER, daughter of Charles J. Futterer, of Twenty-fifth and Broadway.
OLIVIA TIMPE, daughter of Prof. W. T. Timpe, of 1811 Elm street.
JOSIE BOHNE, daughter of George W. Bohne, of 1107 Lind.
WILHELMINA KOTTENDORF, daughter of Joseph B. Kottendorf, of 2035 Cherry street.
MARGARET WERNER, daughter of John G. Werner, of 1313 Spring street.
MARY HICKEY, daughter of John Hickey, of 2231 Vine street.
THE FATALLY INJURED:
HELEN SOEBBING, daughter of Alderman John L. Soebbing, of 720 North Twentieth street.
LAURA MENKE, daughter of Mrs. Josephine Menke, of 718 North Twenty-second street.
ELENORA TIMPE, daughter of H. B. Timpe, of 1710 Oak street.
MARY VONDERHARR, daughter of George VonderHaar, of 1330 Spring.
All of these are children ranging from to 9 to 11 years.
THE OTHER INJURED:
FRANK MUSHORT, teacher of the school; hands burned.
REV. NICHOLAS LEONARD, hands burned.
REV. ANDREW BUTZKUEBEN, hands burned.
SISTER LUDWIGUS, face and hands burned.
SISTER THEOTHIMIA, face, hands, and arm burned.
SISTER RADULPHA, hands burned.
SISTER EPHIA, hands burned.
GERARD KOETTERS, arm badly burned.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Dec. 23, 1899, Pg.1-transcribed by Kayla Markley]
Those on the Stage.
There were sixteen girls on the stage preparing to rehearse.
They were Josie Bohne, Irene Freiburg, Addie Futterer, Bernadina Freund, Mary Hickey,
Wilhelmina Kottendorf, Coletta Middendorf, Elanora Timpe, Olivia Timpe, Laurena Menke,
Helen Soebbing, Mary Wavering, Margaret Werner, Mary Althoff, Josie Roszwog, and Mary
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig Dec. 23, 1899, Pg. 5-transcribed by Kayla Markley]
DEATH LIST IS TWELVE.
MARY VONDERHAAR DIED OF HER BURNS YESTERDAY.
The Twelve Victims Will be Buried This Afternoon.
THE FUNERAL SERVICES AT ST. FRANCIS CHURCH.
The Injured Are Going Nicely and It Is Thought There Will be No More Deaths
from the Awful Calamity—The Arrangements for the Funeral of the Victims of
the Fire in the School Hall.
Mary Vonder Haar, daughter of George Vonder Haar, one of the little girls
who were burned in the fire at St. Francis school, died at 5 o’clock yesterday morning at
the home of her parents, 1330 Spring street, thus bringing the list of dead up to twelve.
The other injured are doing as well as could be expected, and it is hoped that there
will be no further deaths from the awful calamity.
It was learned yesterday that the five girls in the little dressing room when the fire
started from the fatal gas jet were Laura Menke, Margaret Werner, Mary Fitterer, Lulu
Bauman and Bernadina Freund. Of these five only two, Laura Menke and Lulu Bauman, are
now alive. It was first reported that Laura Menke was the one who brushed up against
that gas jet and started the horror, but this is not true. Margaret Werner is the girl
whose hat was set on fire by the gas jet, and communicated the fire to the others.
Laura Menke was in the little room with the others, but when her clothes caught fire
she jumped out of the window onto the stairs, then down to the stage and then on down
the two flights of stairs on Twenty-second street, between Vine and Elm. Her lips, forehead
and all one side of her face are frightfully burned and she suffers excruciating pain, but
it is now thought that she will recover.
Mary Futterer, whose little body lies among the dead, was the girl who dashed down the stairs
from the dressing room at the first cry, and was met on the stairs by Prof. Mushelt with her
clothes all in flames. The professor tore off his coat and wrapped it around her, but she jumped
out of his arms and dashing on down the stairs ran into the group of girls in the wings of the
Lulu Bauman was at the back of the room, and when the flash of fire came her clothes caught with
the rest. She is 12 years old, and realized the danger. She was dressed as an angel, and quickly
tore the burning cotton off her clothes, and then crouched down in the corner to keep away from
the flames. She retained her presence of mind, and working as quickly as she could she tore the
clothing from the other girls in the room, and then pushed a couple of them out of the door and
down the stairs to the stage. When the other four girls had gotten out of the little room Lulu
ran down the stairs onto the stage, and passing the group of burning girls went to the room where
she had left her outer garments. Quickly donning them she ran out of the building and to her home
at 2204 Vine street. She is painfully burned, but will recover, and owes her life to her presence
The daughter of Joseph Geers, of 1526 Chestnut, was one of the little girls on the stage, and was
painfully burned on the arm, face and shoulder, but escaped from the building among the first. Mr.
Geers was the first man who rushed into the building after the alarm, and did everything possible
to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate. Seeing that oil and lotions were needed to relieve
the burns of the suffering children he ran over to Schmeideskamp’s drug store and there met Peter
Pinklemann, who instructed him to buy oil and anything else that might be needed and he would pay
John L. Soebbing stated last night that his daughter, Helen, was out of danger, and would recover.
Wild reports were circulated yesterday a sto [sic as to] the condition of the injured, but none of
the rumors were true. All of the injured are doing well, and there will probably be no more deaths
from the awful horror. One report was that the physicians had found it necessary to amputate Father
Andrew Butzkueben’s hand, but there ws [sic was] no truth in it. He was badly burned on the hand
and arm, but amputation will not be necessary. Rev. Nicholas Leonard was not hurt at all. Another
report was that one of the sisters had died, but they are all doing nicely. Sister Ludwigus is
burned, the worts [sic worst] of any of the four sisters, who were injured, and she is doing as
well as could be expected. All of them will be removed to-day to St. Mary’s institute, at Eighth
and Vermont streets.
The whole community is in sadness over the awful horror, and it has thrown agloomover [sic a
gloom over] Christmas. The Christmas entertainments in the Catholic churches have been postponed,
and the whole community sympathizes with the parents whose loved ones have been so suddenly taken
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Dec. 24, 1899, Pg. 1-transcribed by Kayla Markley]
FIRE VICTIMS AT REST.
Bodies of the Twelve Little Girls Burned to Death at St. Francis School Buried
Sunday—Over 3,000 People Witnessed the Services at the
Church and Many More Failed to Gain Admittance—Thousands of People at the
Andrew’s Feeling Remarks Over the
Remains, During Which He Came Near Breaking Down—‘Twas a Day of Sorrow and
Heartaches—Sister Theotama is Not Yet Out of
Danger as a Result of Her Heroic Efforts to Save
Life—Story of Hilaria Geers’ Narrow Escape.
The remains of the twelve victims of the St. Francis school catastrophe were tenderly laid at
rest in one common lot in St. Boniface cemetery, at 5 o’clock Sunday evening. Despite the cold snow storm raging
at the time the interment was witnessed by the largest crowd ever seen at the cemetery. It is estimated that
10,000 people were upon the grounds during the afternoon.
Sunday morning the bodies at Freiburgs’ morgue were removed to the homes of the parents. Early in the
afternoon the white caskets, covered with floral tributes, began to arrive at St. Francis church. There
were two sets of pall bearers who carried the caskets into the church, placing them in a double row in front
of the altar. By 2 o’clock the church was well filled with mourning parents and relatives. Surrounding it,
clamoring for admission was a crowd of several thousand. The entire management of the funeral had been entrusted
to Joseph Freiburg and he had stationed officers at the doors with instructions to admit none until the relatives
and school children had been seated.
Several of the mourners, fearing a panic from overcrowding, requested that no one not a relative be admitted, but
Mr. Freiburg allayed their fears with the assurance that with the aid of the police he would be able to handle the
crowd in such a manner as to make a panic almost impossible.
The members of the police department assisting at the funeral were Chief Ahern, Detective Koch, Patrolmen Purcell,
Fischer, Laurich, Kroner, Coleman, Recker and Requet.
After the arrival of the twelfth casket, the police threw open the doors to the public and in a few minutes the
spacious edifice, which will sent nearly 2,000, was filled with men, women and children. The seating capacity was
taxed to its utmost and hundreds packed the aisles, the gallery and the stairs leading to the same. The crowd within
the four walls of the church, it is believed, numbered more than 3,000.
As each casket arrived at the church and was borne up the central aisle Oscar P. Huck, who presided at the organ,
played Schurz’s funeral march. As the caskets were placed in position: in front of the altar a Franciscan father
placed two candles upon each. The rule prohibiting flowers to be brought into church was allowed to be broken for the
reason that there were so many flowers, which, if removed, could hardly have been returned to the caskets to which they
belonged. Father Andrew, when informed of the difficulty and confusion which might follow the removal of the flowers,
consented to their being brought into church. In fact the disconsolate and unhappy priest favored anything that would
please the parents of the dead children.
It was close to 8 p. m. when the funeral service proper was opened by Rev. Father Hillarius, assisting Father Andrew,
who with the choir, sang the Miserere. Father Andrew chanted the prayer Liebra, the choir singing it. This was followed
by Father Andrew blessing the bodies, after which he delivered a short but very touching sermon in German. His references
to the dead moved all to tears and when he finished there was not a dry eye in the church. At times it appeared that the
ordeal was proving too much for him and many present feared that he would break down. A collapse had also been expected
by the Franciscan fathers, who had one of their number ready to proceed with the service in case the expected should happen.
But fortunately Father Andrew’s strong will power gave him strength to bear up through the trying scenes of the day.
The fathers of the monastery realized that Father Andrew had suffered much from nervous excitement as a result of his heroic
efforts at saving the lives of the little ones during the horrible conflagration and had implored him to give up all thought
of conducting the funeral service, which Father Andrew said he would insist on doing if it proved the last act of his life.
It is such devotion as this that has kept the good priest so near and dear to his large congregation.
In opening his sermon Father Andrew said that he did not know what to say to console the parents and relatives of the dead children.
He himself, he said, needed consolation as much as they did. Many telegrams and letters sympathizing with the congregation he said,
had been received from bishops and priests all over the land. A cablegram expressing sympathy had also been received from the head
of the Franciscan order at Rome.
Father Andrew recalled with what a joyous spirit the little ones had entered into the preparations for their Christmas entertainment.
They were happy now, he continued, and would celebrate Christmas with Jesus. But the poor parents and himself, and the sisters who had
fought the flames so heroically, would indeed have a dreary Christmas.
One of the sisters he incidentally mentioned, would probably lose her hands as the result of the part she took in the work of rescue.
This statement brought fresh tears to the eyes of all within his hearing and there were evidences of a struggle within the bosom of
the sorrow-stricken priest as he imparted this sad information.
After reciting the proverb: “Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me, for Such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” Father Andrew stated
that there was an unknown power which gives parents at such times strength to bear up.
In closing he feelingly said: “Not My Will but Thine be Done.”
After the sermon six of the bodies were carried to as many hearses, the police forcing a passageway through the crowd. The bodies were those of
Mary Hickey, Olivia Timpe, Mary Althoff, Mary Wavering, Bernadena Freund and Margaret Werner. These were immediately sent on their way to the
cemetery, the hearse bearing the Hickey child turning off at Eighteenth and Broadway for St. Peter’s cemetery, where the body was buries in the
Before the return of the hearses the thirty-six carriages were filled with mourners and proceeded to St. Boniface cemetery. Ahead of this long
column of carriages was a procession on foot, composed of Father Andrew and the assistant priest in their vestments, the acolytes, Franciscan
fathers school children faculty of St. Francis college and the students who had not gone home for the holidays. While en route to the cemetery,
the long column chanted the litany.
Shortly after their arrival at the eleven new made graves, the hearses bearing the remainging [sic remaining] six bodies arrived. Each casket
was set over the grave and Father Andrew prayed the Benedictus, the Franciscan fathers and brothers singing the same. This over interment
followed and with it a scene that touched the strongest hearts. The agony of the weeping mothers, moaning fathers, together with the sobs
of the other relatives was painful to all spectators, many of whom were compelled to turn from the heartbreaking scene.
The bodies were lowered one at a time and it was after 5 o’clock hen the last of the mourners left the cemetery.
It was a well-managed funeral, not a hitch occurring anywhere. In this connection we wish to state at the request of Joseph Freiburg, that
he desires to publicly thank the police for the assistance they rendered in handling the crowds at both the church and at the cemetery.
The lot in which the bodies were buried is 16x32 feet and is located in the north part of the cemetery. The graves are eighteen inches apart,
lying in two rows, six on the east side and five on the west, with a three-foot walk between the rows. In the center is preserved a place for
the $1,000 monument which is to be built by popular subscription.
It has been suggested that all moneys collected on the sales of tickets to entertainments which were declared off out of respect to the dead
and St. Francis congregation, he placed in the monument fund.
Alderman Wavering started the fund with a $50 subscription. Manny Dick has expressed a desire to subscribe a good sum and a large number of
others will come forward likewise. The indications are that the $1,000 will be raised in a very short time.
Both the St. Francis school house, the scene of the disaster which robbed so may homes of their Christmas pleasures, and the church, were
draped in mourning during the funeral.
Father Andrew’s left hand, which was painfully burned in his efforts to save the lives of his precious little friends, was heavily bandaged
in black during the funeral services.
The pall bearers were Herman Rakers, Edward Damhorst, John Grave, Frank Willers, Fred Hildebrand, Lawrence Jochem, Herman Jochem and
Joseph Tepe [sic Tempe]
At St. Peter’s cemetery there were a large number present to witness the interment.
THE VOICE OF THE COMFORTER.
Whispered a Voice mid the sadness and gloom,
Unto the agonized hearts at the tomb;
Voice not of earth, but of the realm above,
Telling of Him and His wonderful love.
Love that is influlte, love that doth leaven,
Love that said, “Such is the Kingdom of Heaven”;
Tenderly, gently, the Word did unfold,
Softly and sweetly, the Message was told:
Not in this life is there aught to impart
Solace and balm for such wounds of the heart:
Trust in the Christ, in the promise He gave;
Look to the life that doth lie past the grave.
Safe in that Mansion of Heavenly light,
Clothed in their beautiful garments of white,
Waiteth thy little ones, part of the sheep,
Watch over whom doth the Shepherd e’er keep.
Angelic voices attuned to the glee,
Ready to join in the welcome to thee;
There, with the faithful, surrounding the Throne;
There, where no sorrows or partings are known.
HOW THE INJURED ARE GETTING ALONG.
To give in detail the injuries sustained by those dead and the agonizing sufferings
of those still living, as a result of the holocaust which visited St. Francis school,
during last Friday’s rehearsal of the Christmas entertainment to have been given by
the school children, would but add to the sorrow overhanging the community and intensify
the grief of the mourners. It is generally known that it is all horrible enough and that
words would fall in an attempted descriptive and detailed report.
The dangerously injured who are still alive are Sister Theotama, Laura Menke and Elenora
Timpe. These, it is hoped and expected, will recover, but all will be living reminders of
the awful fire that robbed the entire community of its heretofore merry Christmas. The
Timpe girl had a very high fever Christmas eve, but her attending physician thinks that
he has it about broken and that if no other complications set in she can recover. The Menke
girl’s condition is much the same. Poor Sister Theotama’s condition is pitiful in the extreme.
She has not yet quite recovered from the shock and in her delirium she recites the awful scenes
in which she took such a prominent part and became a heroine whose name will go down is history.
In her agony and excitement it is only natural that she should want to die, a wish that she is
said to repeatedly give utterance to. Frequently she has asked the anxious hearts about her bed
to stop doing for her so that she might join the little ones, whom she had drilled for their
Christmas entertainment to be given to their parents and friends, thus proudly showing the
advancement made by them at school. Much harrowing information has been kept from the noble
sister since the fire and she does not nearly know the worst. It is possible, but we hope
not probable, that her attending physician will have to notify her within a day or two that
one and perhaps both of her hands will have to be amputated to save her life.
Sister Ludwiga, who also became a heroine in her battle to save the little innocents from
the ravages of the cruel flames, is doing as well as could be expected. The palms of her hands
are so badly burned that they will always be stiff and disfigured.
Sister Ephren’s hands, which were also painfully burned, are healing nicely.
The three sisters are now being tenderly cared for by the sisters of St. Mary’s institute.
Sister Rudolpha, whose burns are not so serious, is being cared for at the Orphan house.
The sisters were all teachers and there will be no school until other teachers can be provided.
Father Andrew continues, to the surprise of all, to bear up under the terrible strain to which he
has been subjected. He was up and around all day yesterday and was up again early this morning.
The collapse, which everyone predicted would follow the burial of the victims, we are glad to be
able to report, did not occur. The father’s burns are healing. And in a short time he will be able
to use his hands again.
Prof. Muscholt is carrying both of his painfully burned hands in bandages and under instructions
from his physician and Father Andrew will remain at home for at least a week.
Gerhard Koetters, whose left arm was severely burned, is recovering nicely.
HILARIA GEERS WAS SAVED BY FATHER ANDREW.
Hilaria Geers, aged 16 years, the daughter of Joseph Geers and the granddaughter of Henry Freiburg,
has recovered from the shock she suffered. She says that she owes her life to Father Andrew, who met
her just as she was leaving the stage by the stairs, caught her in his arms and with his hands tore
the burning clothes from her body. Her hair was also burning when Father Andrew took her in his arms.
It now develops that the little daughter of Henry Kakner of 1419 Spring street, who was on the stage
when the disaster occurred, ran up into the loft over the stage, where, badly frightened, she remained
until late in the evening. While she was hiding in fear, her parents and relatives made a vigorous search
for her and failing to find her had about come to the conclusion that she was among the victims. Late in
the evening, after the excitement had passed, the little girl came out of the loft and went to her home.
The damage done to the building by fire will adjusted some time to-day by the insurance companies, Chris
Freiburg and Henry Brinks acting for the trustees. The trustees are W. H. Middendorf, John Werner, Clemens
Willers and George Damhorst, sr., Father Andrew always acting with them. As the trustees either lost children
or relatives in the catastrophe, the two named were made a committee to relieve them of the task of visiting
the scene of so much sorrow and agony. The loss to the building will prove slight.
THE PROGRAM THAT WILL NOT BE GIVEN.
The program that was being rehearsed for the Christmas entertainment which was to have been given to-night
was found in the school hall yesterday. Omitting the musical selections the fire started while the class that
was to present the ninth scene was preparing to take the stage. The program which had been prepared by Sister
Theotama, and which Prof. Muscholt says was being carried out, as follows:
Entrance march—Misses E. Bernbrook and B. Wewers.
Pony Ride (piano)—A. Einhaus.
My Country (drill)—By the boys.
Fun and Frolic— M. Rupp and C. VonderHaar.
Playing Soldiers— Third grade.
Coquettish Smile—Misses E. and L. Rupp.
Topsy Turvy Drill— Second grade.
Triumphant march—Misses K. and J. Bickhaus.
A Telephone Message— Florence Bernbrook.
Santa Clause (pantomime) — Fourth grade.
Erika—Miss R. Rupp.
A Living Picture—Christmas.
Careless Elegance—Misses B. Vonder Haar and G. Bickhaus.
Students of Sorento—Miss A. Gerber.
Stille Wacht—Miss A. Schmitt.
Ocean by Moonlight—Misses L. L. Van and G. Schmitt.
La Grace—Misses B. Wowers and E. Bernbrook.
Le Trot Da Chevalier—Misses L. L. Van and E. Eiff.
Slihersterne—Miss R. Rupp.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Journal, Dec. 26, 1899, Pg. 8-transcribed by Kayla