1875 - Burning of French Catholic Church
The sad disaster caused by the burning of the French Catholic church at Holyoke, Massachusetts, still causes great gloom in that part of the country. The deaths number about 80. A considerable number of the victims were French Canadians, and their charred and mangled corpses have been sent to their relatives in the Dominion for burial. On the 29th of May the services for over 48 victims were performed at Holyoke, in the basement of a partially completed Catholic church, a vast crowd being in and around the building. The coffins were brought in one after another and placed on a dais raised in the center of the room. After about 35 coffins had thus been placed the platform gave way, causing a momentary panic. Women shrieked and fainted, and several were carried out. After the excitement had subsided, the dais was repaired and the other coffins were brought in. Funeral sermons were pronounced by priests from Worcester and Springfield, and a procession over a mile in length followed the remains to the French Catholic Cemetery at South Hadley Falls, on the Connecticut, near Holyoke.
June 22, 1875
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