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1876 - THE HOLOCAUST. The Story as it Stood at Two O'clock This Afternoon. AN UNPRECEDENTED HORROR. EVERY HOUR ADDING TO THE LIST OF THE DEAD. THE CALAMITY NOT YET MEASURED.
A Hundred Bodies Recovered from the Ruins and a Hundred More Visible.
GENERAL FEATURES OF THE DISASTER.
Every hour since the fire in the theatre was extinguished has brought fresh and saddening evidence of the extent of the horror.
At first it was believed that few, if any, lives had been lost. About 7 o'clock it was known that at least twenty persons had been burned to death or smothred. By 9 o'clock the list of deaths had risen to seventy. At 11 o'clock ninety victims were counted, and now, at 2 o'clock it is evident that not fewer that two hundred persons have perished.
Details from Our Extras of This Morning.
The work of identifying the dead will be difficult, for most of them are burned beyond recognition. The only mode of identifying them will be by personal property found attached to the bodies. Thus far it is only evident that the flames made common havoc with men, women and children.
It is known that a man named DONAH, a brother of one of the letter carriers at the Post Office, was in the theatre, and he has not reported this morning.
No trace can be found of the actor, HENRY S. MURDOCK. He was on the stage, and it is thought went to his dressing room to save a part of his wardrobe and was caught in the flames.
Shortly before nine o'clock REV. FATHER HANLEY visited the theatre, and among the bodies recognized a brother of REV. FATHER KYLIE, of the Church of the Visitation, at Red Hook Point. FATHER KYLIE was also present, and identified the body of his brother by means of a watch chain found on the person.
Shortly after nine o'clock a body was taken from the ruins, charred and blackened beyond recognition. In the breast pocket of the coat were found a number of cards bearing the name "ABRAHAM BARNETT" in German text.
Bodies are constantly being removed from the ruins and are taken to the Morgue as fast as possible. It is now thought that the number of the dead will mount up to between seventy-five and one hundred. It is rumored that a number of the attaches of the theatre are burned. It seems certain that CHARLES LOTT and his son, who were stationed in the upper gallery, are among the lost.
The following is a list of persons reported missing. How many of them are to be found among the dead is as yet a matter of surmise; that most of them are there it's sad probability:
H. S. MURDOCH, 53 Concord street, actor.
MRS. PHILIP CADMUS, 28, 128 Fifth avenue, unknown.
GEORGE W. CADMUS, 30, 128 Fifth avenue, unknown.
HENRY TREEDON, 23, 112 Myrtle avenue, unknown.
GEORGE FARRELL, 17, 145 Myrtle avenue, unknown.
ANNIE TREMIG, 17, 54 Court street, unknown.
ROSINA FROIDEVAUX, 15, 257 Columbia st., unknown.
JOSEPHINE LUNT, 39, 452 Hart street, unknown.
CHARLES LUNT, 18, 452 Hart street, unknown.
MORRIS SOLOMON, 47, 103 Boerum place, unknown.
PHILIP SOLOMON, 24, 103 Boerum place, unknown.
LENA SOLOMON, 23, 103 Boerum place, unknown.
MARY SOLOMON, 22, 103 Boerum place, unknown.
DEBORAH SOLOMON, 20, 102 Boerum place, unknown.
HUGH DONER, 33, 117 Tillary street, unknown.
NICHOLAS COYLE, 35, Johnson and Duffield streets, unknown.
CHARLES OTIS, 180 Clinton street, broker.
MARGARET LUYDGATE, 48, 1,189 Atlantic avenue, unknown.
ADCLAIDE ROTHWELL, 30, 1,101 Atlantic avenue, unknown.
JOHN _________, 12, 1,191 Atlantic avenue, unknown.
EDWARD BLATTORE, 17, 71 Carlton avenue, unknown.
ANN MARTIN, 59, 37 Lawrence street, unknown.
CAROLINE BERRY, 40, Smith and Livingston streets, unknown.
JAMES DOONAN, 19, Kent and Willoughby avenues, unknown.
JAMES LANGATON, 19, 68 State street, unknown.
F. HAMPSON, 461 Dean street, unknown.
MRS. HAMPSON, 461 Dean street, unknown.
JAS. KERRIGAN, 29, 341 Water street, N. Y., unknown.
ABRAM LOWENTHAL, 18, 203 Fulton street, unknown.
JOHN MAGINNIS, 35, 11 Evans street, pressman.
F. MAGINNIS, unknown.
An Unknown Girl from New Jersey.
THOMAS LAMB, No. 211 Plymouth street.
GUSTAV AURBACK, No. 30 Hudson avenue.
JAMES LENNON, No. 194 John street.
CHARLES K. OTIS, broker, Henry street.
DANIEL STILL, age 19, No. 33 North street, South Brooklyn.
CHARLES BLACKFORD, age 33, wife and child, No. 212 Bridge street.
MICHAEL CONROY, aged 22, No. 256 Plymouth street.
WILLIAM HARTMANN, aged 22, No. 2 Myrtle avenue.
GEORGE STEVENS, aged 15, No. 214 Jay street.
GEORGE FITZGERALD, aged about 15, No. 70 High street.
HARRY WHEEDON, aged 25, No. 112 Myrtle avenue.
EMMA HAEDRACH, 7 years of age.
DORA HAEDRACH, 9 years of age.
LENA PARBAL, servant girl, 16 years of age. The two children above named were with the servant girl. They are the children of WILLIAM HAEDRACH, printer, who resides at the corner of Fulton and Nassau streets.
WILLIAM TURPINGTON, age 18, Fourteenth street and Fifth avenue.
MRS. H. PIERCE, age 44, Duffield street.
CORNELIUS FOLEY, No. 151 Degraw street.
_______ VALDES, age 18, Cuban, No. 62 Fulton street.
_______ ROSSELL, age 22, Cuban, No. 62 Fulton street.
HARRY WEEDEN, age 23, No. 112 Myrtle avenue.
JOHN McGINNISS, age 30, No. 38 Little Water street.
ISAAC LEISLER, aged 19, 362 Atlantic avenue.
JAMES COWAN, aged 21, 197 South Portland avenue.
EDWARD BENTLY, aged 17, 71 Carlton avenue.
THOMAS BOYLE, aged 24, 380 Adams st.
JOHN WOODS, aged 26, 101 Fleet place.
JAMES LEYDEN, aged 25, 199 State street.
ANGUS McCULLOUGH, aged 26, 294 Pacific street.
JOHN McCULLOUGH, aged 22, 294 Pacific street.
DONALD McCULLOUGH, aged 15, 294 Pacific street.
SAMUEL HAWKINS, aged 21, 81 Prince street.
JOHN McGINNIS, aged 35, 11 Evans street.
GEORGE LOGAN, aged 18, 190 Amity street.
HENRY SMIRTZ, aged 15, 289 Court street.
CHARLES SMIRTZ, aged 18, 289 Court street.
MARY MULVANEY, aged 18, 11 Little Water street.
CHARLES WROE, aged 49, 191 Prince street.
CHARLES WRAL, JR., aged 18, 191 Prince street.
CHARLES LOTT, aged 50, 464 Sackett street.
GEORGE LOTT, aged 22, 464 Sackett street.
JAMES CHRISHAM, aged 23, 232 Court street.
STEPHEN MAYHAN, aged 47, 66 Prince street.
DANIEL DAKIN, aged 22, New London.
_______ JACKSON, aged 35, 55 Hicks street.
JAMES CULLEN, aged 14, 41 Amity street.
JAMES McNEIL, aged 20, 160 Myrtle avenue.
JOHN POLLARD, aged 18, Flushing and Grand avenues.
WILLIAM POLLARD, aged 19, Flushing and Grand avenues.
GEORGE McLOUGHLIN, aged 23, 229 Fifteenth street.
JOHN MEWBERRY, aged 25, 285 Centre street.
JOHN TRACEY, aged 17, 242 Wyckoff street.
ROSE JACKSON, aged 35, 445 Atlantic avenue.
MATTHEW FADEN, aged 21, 209 Jay street.
LAWRENCE LAMB, aged 21, 311 Plymouth street.
WILLIAM DOLNON, aged 18, 229 Navy street.
CHARLES HARRISON, aged 14, 349 Bridge street.
EDWARD DELYEATREE, aged 19, 66 Smith street.
JOHN GUNN, aged 28, 246 Adams street.
GEORGE BOLDRIDGE, aged 22, 246 Adams street.
BENNITT BYRNE, aged 15, 233 Plymouth street.
JAMES McLEAN, aged 20, 169 Myrtle avenue.
JOHN WOOD, aged 23, 101 Fleet street.
HARRIET COLLINS, aged 14, 101 President street.
JOHN DEMPSEY, aged 18, 103 President street.
JOSEPH CIGLIER, aged 19, 296 Atlantic avenue.
DANIEL MOCKLER, aged 19, 94 Hudson avenue.
JAMES GOODWIN, aged 22, 495 Court street.
ARIURA ABRAM, aged 18, 341 Hamilton avenue.
GEORGE LARTIMER, aged 31, Pearl and Concord streets
CALEB LEVERICH, aged 35, 105 Clermont avenue.
MICHAEL CONROY, aged 18, 236 Plymouth street.
JAMES COLLOM, aged 13, 46 Amity street.
JOHN KENNEDY, aged 18, 81 Gold street.
LEWIS ALBERTS, aged 17, 266 Atlantic street.
ARMAUDO ALBERTS, aged 18, 266 Atlantic street.
PATRICK BRODERICK, aged 17, 85 Sackett street.
JAMES DOONER, aged 20, corner Willoughby and Canton streets.
GEORGE STEPHENS, aged 15, 214 Jay street.
MISS BROWN, aged 17, 520 Hicks street.
CALEB J. LEVERICH, aged 35, Clermont avenue.
FRANK GREEN, aged 18, 1,029 Lafayette avenue.
FRANK PICKFORD, aged 18, Patchon avenue.
STEWART HAND, aged 20, State street, corner Smith.
FREDERICK HURB, aged 22, Livingston street.
THOMAS ROBINSON, aged 19, 25 Willoughby street.
MORTIMER CAVANS, aged 19, 474 Hudson avenue.
________ REUSH, 88 Nelson street.
The dimensions of the awful calamity which has befallen the City of Brooklyn in the destruction of its principal theatre by fire and the consequent loss of life have not yet been realized. Enough is known, however, to make it certain that the catastrophe ranks among the most fatal of the kind every recorded. The theatre, which was built by MESSRS. KINGSLEY & KEENEY, and finished in 1871, was opened in the Fall of that year, under the management of MR. and MRS. F. B. CONWAY.
After MR. CONWAY'S death, MRS. CONWAY assumed control, and at her death her daughters succeeded her. Their management, however, was not successful, and in the Fall of 1875 MESSRS. SHOOK & PALMER, of the Union Square Theatre, New York, became the lessees. The theatre was elegant in its appointments, and under the new management promised to continue to be one of the most attractive places of amusement in the two great sister cities. The value of the building was estimated at $100,000, and the stage properties and wardrobe were valued at $25,000. There was an insurance of $40,000 odd on the one and none on the other.
The Cause Of The Fire.
According to the statements of all parties who profess to know anything as to the origin of the fire, it began on the stage. The Business Manager, MR. ROGERS, who may be supposed to possess the most accurate information on the subject, says that one of the pieces of canvas out of which trees and soforth are made, was broken from its fastenings and hung from the files immediately over one of the border lights near the centre of the stage. The canvas had begun to amoulder and the paint on it to crackle, and the carpenter was directed to ascent to one of the grooves and remove the dangerous object. He could barely reach it with his hand, and he drew it hastily up. The rapid motion through the air of the half ignited and highly inflammable canvas, caused it to burst into a flame, which rapidly spread to the adjoining material, equally susceptible. All efforts to extinguish the flames were abortive, and the carpenter had to retire to save his own life.
The Spread Of The Conflagration.
The actors on the stage who were engaged in the last act of "The Two Orphans" were aware that an incipient fire was overhead, but they proceeded with their parts in hopes that the danger would pass away. Soon, however, sparks began to show themselves and the unmistakable crackling of fire was heard. Then an ember dropped on the stage, and the canvas which formed the roof of the hut in which the scene enacted was supposed to take place, burst into flames. With the rapidity of thought the fire ran along the inflammable material until the woodwork caught and the whole stage was enveloped in flame and smoke. The burning fragments of scenery began to fall and the actors quitted the stage. Soon afterward a tremendous rush of air, setting in from the stage toward the place of exit, brought the flames with it. They crept up the woodwork and along the furniture, and the end soon came.
There were 1,200 people in the house, 320 below and 900 on the other two floors. As is usual in such cases, the terrible record of the fire is to be attributed, not to the ruthless power of the flames, but to the panic. From all that can be learned, there were ample time and means of egress for the theatre to have emptied its occupants into the open air uninjured. Down stairs was by no means filled, and those in the orchestra seats and dress circle could have passed out in a minute or two. The gallery contained about four hundred and fifty persons, and theses could have all descended in safety, if they had observed the same order which ordinarily marks the egress of the occupants of the upper tier.
But it would seem that the sudden alarm overpowered the reason and self control of all alike. With few exceptions, the audience in the orchestra rushed headlong toward the doors. Those in the dress circle followed suit, and the most fatal and appalling evils resulted. Bereft of that calmness and self possession which enables one to use caution and to take advantage of every favorable chance, leaving him also at liberty to aid others and to facilitate order, the panic stricken throng dived headlong forward, using brute force to escape the disaster which was yet comparatively distant, and which was only converted from an ordinary accident into an awful calamity by that very ruthless and reckless haste. The weaker went down before the charge of the stronger, and women and children were the sufferers, as usual. In the body of the theatre and in the corridor scores were crushed and jammed almost to death, and many were thrown to the floor and trampled on.
In the gallery the scene as depicted by hasty eye witnesses was one that baffles description. Men in the agony of fear, goaded on by the indications of the swift approach of an enemy whose touch was death, became wild beasts. The smile kindled by the sallies of wit was transformed into the scowl of despair. The laugh was supplanted by the howlings and oaths of desperation. The hands which had applauded became weapons of onslaught and ruin. Every man's hand was against his brother, and in the hideous strife all were jammed and glued into a palpitating, shriecking, purposoices mass. Some escaped by an early flight; all might have been delivered. But, because unreason prevailed and an ignorant neglect of order, the majority of that unfortunate throng died horribly.
Whether suffocation did the work, which is probable, or physical pressure destroyed the mechanical action of the organs of life, or the yielding of the burning floes opened the abyss of fiery death, will never be known. The charred and disfigured remains furnish but one brief fact - they died.
The Brooklyn Eagle
New York, New York
December 7, 1876
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