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L. D. Brown
Berwyn Illinois

"The steamboat Eastland, carrying over 2000 passengers was just leaving the docks at the foot of La Salle St. when she capsized, carrying over one thousand men, women and children to their deaths." L. D. Brown, Berwyn Illinois 26 July 1915


Editor St. Marys Journal

St. Marys Ont

Dear Sir --

Never in the history of Chicago has such a marine disaster taken place as that which occured on Saturdy morning July 24th.

The steamboat Eastland, carrying over 2000 passengers was just leaving the docks at the foot of La Salle St. when she capsized, carrying over one thousand men, women and children to their deaths.

This boat with four others had been chartered to take the employees of the Western Electric Co. and their families to a picnic across the lake at Michigan City Indiana. A happy day was anticipated, and as the Eastland, the first boat to be loaded, took on her passengers, the docks rang with the laughter of the merry crowd. But all at once the boat was seen to list and then roll over carrying with it the merry makers to a terrible death. The passengers were caught like rats in a trap. Hundreds hemmed in between the decks and in the hold never had the least chance of escape. Others more fortunate in getting clear of the ship as she went over were picked up from the river by boats, but many of these, unable to swim, perished and were carried down the stream

Nets were thrown across the stream at several points below where the accident occured in order to catch the bodies as they were being acrried down towards the can and frequent examinations of these nets were made by divers.

The Western Electric Co. employs some ten thousasnd people from all parts of the city and the surrounding suburban towns, and this tragedy has cast its gloom over all. As the dead were recovered from the river or from the hold of the ill fated ship, the scenes enacted were heart-rending. Women fell unconscious and strong men wept. In some cases families have been wiped out, fathers and mothers have lost all their children, and of other families none but a father or mother is left.

Mr. Harrington, a neighbour of ours, is one of those rescued. He was on the lower deck at the time of the accident and was carried under when the boat went over. Being a good swimmer he succeeded in making his way through the water to one of the portholes in the ship, through which he was drawn by rescuers.

Thus this day which had been such a happy one for the Western Electric Co's employees and their friends, ended in the most terrible anguish almost before it had begun. The whole city has been plunged into mourning, and for many years Chicago will look back on today as one of the most terrible in its history

Yours
3142 Irving Ave.
Berwyn Ill
July 26th 1915

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St. Marys, Ontario St Marys Journal Newspaper, Thursday August 5, 1915 edition

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