General Slocum Disaster Brooklyn Daily Eagle June 16, 1904
Some Families All Gone Pathetic Scenes at Homes in This Borough From Which Victims Had Gone. Husbands Almost Frenzied Nobody Seems to Have Dreamed That There Was Danger in a Sunday School Excursion Although the terrible event of yesterday did not devastate the homes of Brooklyn as it did those of the East Side of Manhattan, the loss of life in
this borough will undoubtedly reach the number of more than a score.In Queens Borough nine more are dead.In this morning¹s list of dead and missing there appeared thirty Brooklyn names.Only one or two of these have been found among the living and it is hoping against hope to believe that those who escaped with their lives will communicate with their bereaved families any later than to-day.
In at least two instances in Brooklyn entire families have been wiped out.Grief crazed fathers are to-day searching the tiers of dead in the morgues and hospitals of Manhattan, with the pitiful hope of finding wives
and children, and according them Christian burial.
When an entire community is plunged in the depths of sorrow, individual griefs seem small and unimportant.But such griefs give an insight into the unutterable horror and pathos of it all.At such a time the only comfort that exists is the broadening sympathy of affliction shared.The story of the OELLRICH family, who lived, father, mother and five children, at 519 Willoughby avenue, Brooklyn is but one of many, but facts which in other cases are obscure are here clear and appealing. Fate of OELLRICHs Family
William OELLRICH is a grocer at Willoughby and Marcy avenues.His home is in the flat above the store.Yesterday morning, OELLRICH¹s family, consisted of himself, his wife Annie, and five children, Henry, 11 years old; Freddie, 8; Minnie, 7; Lizzie, 5; and the baby, Helen, only just past her second birthday. Mrs. OELLRICH had a sister, Mrs. SACHMANN, who lived in Rivington street, Manhattan, who was a member of the St. Mark¹s parish.Last week
Mrs. SACHMANN invited her sister¹s family to go on the Sunday school excursion.OELLRICH intended to go with his family, but early in the week was drawn for jury duty.When this happened Mrs. OELLRICH wanted to abandon
the outing, but OELLRICH urged her to take the children and go. Yesterday morning Mrs. OELLRICH rose early and dressed the children in their best.It was only a little after 8 o¹clock when the mother and five children trooped into the grocery store to kiss the father good-by.At 9 o¹clock OELLRICH went to court to serve on the jury.He left the store in charge of his cousin, Henry JAEGER. JAEGER was out in the afternoon, and while in the neighborhood of the
Broadway ferries saw the Eagle extra telling all that was then known of the tragedy.He hastened back to the store and found that OELLRICH had just returned from court.
"This is a fine day for the excursion," said OELLRICH, as his cousin entered the store.JAEGER saw at once that OELLRICH had heard nothing of the tragedy. "Have they got home yet?" he asked very soberly.OELLRICH saw from his
cousin¹s manner that something was wrong, and asked immediately what it was. "The Slocum met with an accident," said JAEGER. Without a word OELLRICH put on his coat and started for Manhattan.It was 1 o¹clock last night when he returned to his flat.JAEGER when he met him hardly knew him. "All Lost but Henry" "They¹re lost, every one but Henry," he said, and went into the flat. After going up and down among the dead and dying for ten hours OELLRICH
had at last found his oldest son lying in a hospital suffering from burns about the head.The boy¹s injuries were pronounced slight and the father was permitted to take him to the home of the SACHMANNS in Rivington street.
Long but vainly the father questioned the 12 year old boy for tidings of his mother his brothers and his sisters.Little Henry said that he was playing with some boys of his own age on the upper deck and had left his mother and the other children in the cabin down stairs.When the alarm of
the fire reached him the boy had tried to get back to his mother but the stream of people rushing up the stairway had prevented him and he had been forced back upon the deck.
"Everybody That Can Swim, Jump; It¹s Your Last Chance."
Then, Henry said, the smoke poured up around him so thick he could not see.A man in a blue uniform rushed by him shouting: "Everybody that can swim, jump!It¹s your last chance!"With that, Henry said, the man himself jumped over the side, and, scarely knowing what he did, the boy followed. He said he was picked up by a rowboat and taken ashore.From the time the alarm was given he did not see his mother, brother and sisters. VELBUCH*stayed in his flat all night.He did not go to bed.At the first streak of dawn this morning he went back to Manhattan and renewed his search.Up to noon nothing had been heard from him.
Mrs. Margaret SACHMAN, of Rivington street, Manhattan, the sister of Mrs. VELBUCH, who went on the excursion with her four children, was rescued, with two of the children, Annie and Charlie.The other two, Margaret and Herman, are still missing. Mrs. SACHMANN said that she was with Mrs. VELBUCH when the alarm was given, but was immediately separated from her.name* changed hereŠ typo ? All the DIECKHOFF Family Dead. Another Brooklyn family which was wiped out was that of Frederick DIECKHOFF, of 121 Fourth avenue.DIECKHOFF is a driver for the Consumers Pie Baking Company.He tried to get a day off to go on the excursion, but as the compnay was short handed, he did not go.He heard of the tragedy at 4 o¹clock yesterday and went at once to Manhattan.His family consisted of Mrs. Kate DIECKHOFF, his wife; Annie, 18 years old; Kate 15 years old; Mary, 12 years old; and William, 4 years.
DIECKHOFF found the bodies of his daughter Annie and his son William and identified them last night.The others have not yet been found. Wife and Two Children Given Up for Dead. William BOEGER, a happy man, left his home at 910 Putnam avenue yesterday morning with his wife and two children to start them off the excursion.He returned alone last evening, heartbroken, with the news that
the body of his girl Florence, 3 years old, had been recovered from the wreck.Then the distracted man went away to seek the bodies of his missing wife and little son Wilbur, 4 years old.All night long and up until a late
hour to-day he looked in vain. There were no more lovable or pretty children in the neighborhood than little Wilbur and Florence.They were general favorites.Florence, known
as "Dollie," because she resembled a big wax doll, had big black eyes and black curls, which reached to her shoulders.Wilbur had blue eyes, filled with expression, and true golden hair. The family formerly lived in Manhattan, and it is there that Mrs. BOEGER¹s mother, Mrs. Caroline HANNEMAN, lives.It was upon the invitation
of Mrs. HANNEMAN that Mrs. BOEGER and her two children went on the excursion.Mrs. HANNEMAN, frightfully burned and injured in other ways, is in the hospital on North Brother Island.She has yet to learn of the fate of her daughter and grandchildren. Mr. BOEGER is employed as a bookkeeper in Manhattan by a Monroe street firm.He accompanied his wife and children on his way to work as far as Grand street, where he kissed each one in turn and wished them a happy day. At noon, while at his desk, he learned of the catastrophe and immediately departed for the scene of the wreck.He arrived there soon after the body of his little girl had been taken from the water. Later he located his
mother-in-law among the injured and from her learned some of the details of the horrible affair. Mother-in-Law Told the Tragic Story. Their little party had been on the lower deck. Wilbur wanted to go above and the grandmother, with the child ascended.Then came the flames. Somebody grabbed the boy.She tried to reach her loved ones below.When
convinced that mother and child had made their escape Mrs. HANNEMAN leaped. She landed in three feet of water and was pulled out by rescuers.The body of little "Dollie" was found not far away.Mr. BOEGER has yet to learn what
fate befell his wife and little Wilbur. To-day kindhearted neighbors are caring for the BOEGER home.There has
been a steady stream of sympathetic people calling there, hopeful that the newspaper reports are untrue.No word of encouragement can be given to any of the number, for the anxious husband and father has not returned as he promised, if either of the missing were found.The body of Dollie still lies in a Sixth street undertaking establishment because her father has said that he does not wish to bring one home without the others. The news of the fate of little Wilbur and Dollie has cast a gloom over the men in the Ralph avenue police station.Wilbur introduced himself and
sister there some months ago.He was playing in the street in front of his home when some older boys annoyed him by throwing stones.Suddenly Wilbur took hold of Dollie¹s hand and started toward Ralph avenue, said: "Come on, Dollie, we will go and see Captain Miles O¹REILLY about this." And the two little ones trudged around to the station house hand in hand.Wilbur question every man in uniform to learn if he was Captain Miles O¹REILLY, until finally the pair were ushered into the captain¹s office.
Then Wilbur said: "Captain Miles O¹REILLY, there are some very bad boys around on our street, and I wish you would arrest them." Captain O¹RELLY smiled, drew the children to his side and said they should not be further annoyed.That is one reason why there is many a heartache near the BOEGER home to-day. Three Families Victims Of the many families on whom the calamity fell with appalling force that of the KIRSCHERS at 185 Russell street is especially pitiable.Three entire, families are practically wiped out of existence.The KIRSCHERS occupied a three story flat in Russell street and the families consisted of the grandparents, two married sons and the families of the latter.The two married sons are in business together and did not accompany their relatives on the ill-fated General Slocum yesterday. Mrs. Elizabeth KIRSCHER and Mrs. John KIRSCHER, Jr. had made arrangements to attend the excursion with their children and persuaded the elder KIRSCHER and his wife, who was somewhat sickly to go out for the sake
of the ride.The children, Freddie, who is now lying in the hospital beside his mother; George, who was first reported missing, but later said to be in the hospital; Stacy, Elsie, and Harold, a baby 1 year old.Under just what circumstances the elder KIRSCHERS and their daughter in law and two children lost their lives will perhaps never be fully known.John KIRSCHER, Jr. and his brother went to the scene of the disaster yesterday as soon as they
learned of the terrible calamity and had not returned to their home up to noon to-day. Neighbors who live nearby are in entire ignorance of the exact fate of the family, excepting such information as they received from a relative of the family over the telephone from Manhattan. August SCHNEIDER, the musician who lives at 322 Stanhope street, and who lost his wife and two children was nearly out of his mind this morning and it was with difficulty that friends restrained him from doing harm to himself when he talked of the scene on board the vessel yesterday.Which
the fire had made such headway that it was known serious danger might result SCHNEIDER took his five month old child in his arms and with his disengaged arm around his wife led her and the two elder children, Katie and Amelia, to
a place in the forward part of the boat.In pressing forward the crowd crushed in so closely that his wife became separated from him and he made a grab for her, catching her sleeve, but the sweep of the crowd, that had now become a frenzied mob, separated them again and he was hurled against the rail of the boat.He turned back again in a vain effort to find his wife and children, but the fire made such headway that he could get but a few feet from the rail when the scorching flames compelled him to leap for safety into the raging waters with his child in his arms. The tugboat Director, Captain John McAllister, of Quay and Franklin streets was among those that assisted in the work rescue.Captain McAllister ran his boat as near alongside as he dared and picked up seventy-five persons floating in the water.He ran his boat close to the
forward part of the burning steamer and many from the Slocum jumped from the deck of the latter to the tug.One woman whose name could not be ascertained landed squarely on top of the pilot house unhurt.
Albert BUCHMILLER, a painter in Greenpoint avenue, whose home is at 79 Calyer street, is mourning the loss of his little family, including his wife Anna, 40 years, and his two sons, Arthur, 10 years, and George, 11 years.
Mr. BUCHMILLER went nearly frantic when the news came yesterday that the Slocum had burned, and he dropped his work and rushed to the scene, where he remained all through the night looking for his missing ones. On account of the disaster the Lutheran Church in Russell street, of which the KIRCHERS were members, posted a notice in front of the church grounds postponing all summer festivities until further notice. Policeman PFIFER Loses Wife Mrs. Charles E. PFIFER, wife of Policeman Charles E. PFIFER, attached to
the Vernon avenue station, was lost.Her body was identified this morning at the morgue. Mrs. PFIFER is the daughter of Frederick FREESE, a saloonkeeper in East
Houston street, Manhattan, and who is also a director of the Consumers Brewing Company of this borough.Mr. and Mrs. FREESE with another daughter, were on the excursion, and at the time of the outbreak were engaged in
looking in the engine room of the boat. Mrs. PFIFER had stepped away, and while the FREESE family were saved, she was killed.The unfortunate woman was to have celebrated the first anniversary of her wedding to-day. Mother Alive, Her Two Children Gone A scene similar to that repeated at many other houses of mourning was enacted at the home of Charles BECK, 69 Marcy avenue, this forenoon, when
his wife, Louisa, reached there in the company with several relatives.Mrs. BECK was formerly a member of St. Mark¹s Church, and had been in the habit of attending the excursion every year.She in the company with her two
children, Grace Edna, 4 1/2 years old, and May Louise, 6 1/2 years old, attended the ill-fated outing.She was almost too hysterical to tell a connected story, but says that in the panic she was torn away, in the wild rush, from her two children, and though she searched frantically for them, never caught sight of their faces again. During her search she was thrown down and trampled under foot and
finally found herself in the water.She does not know how she came to get into the water, but believes she was forced over the edge of the burning boat by the maddened mob.She was rescued and taken to the Lincoln Hospital.She was located there by her frantic husband and when able to
leave this morning was assisted to her home by relatives.She managed to compose herself until she reached the house, when she broke down and became hysterical.Her shrieks were heart rendering and she called constantly for
her two children.A number of relatives were gathered in the stricken home including Mrs. BECK¹s aged mother and father and their weeping added to the pathetic scene.
The missing children are described as being very pretty with long golden curls and dressed nearly alike.
Wife and Daughter Missing A scene with the same pathetic circumstances occurred in the home of August LUTJEN at 101 Clymer street.Here the elder LUTJEN, with his son,
August were confined to bed suffering from shocking burns about the body. His wife, Kate, whose dead body was recovered, had not yet reached the stricken home at noon, but was expected every moment.A daughter, Marguerite, is missing, together with Mrs. Ella BOLTON, who lives in the
same house and accompanied the family on the excursion.
The elder LUTJEN had charge of the lunch counter on the excursion when the cry of fire came and he dashed in search of the members of his family together with his son.
He was unable to locate her, and his son, who was looking for his sister Marguerite, caught sign of a girl wearing a blue waist, the same as that worn by his sister in the swirling mob, and managed to fight his way near enough to grasp the sleeve.He was then forced away, but retained his hold on the material, which was torn away from the waist.The sleeve was still in his grasp when picked up unconscious in the water.He had been burned by the fierce flames, as was his father, who was also hurled into the eater by the rush of the panic stricken crowd.Neither father nor son saw anything of Mrs. LUTJEN or the daughter after that.Relatives identified the body of
Mrs. LUTJEN in the morgue, but have been unable to find a trace of the missing girl. The husband and daughter of Mrs. BOLTON, who lived in the same house and accompanied the LUTJENS to the excursion were out searching for the missing woman. It is understood that she went to the excursion contrary to the wishes of her husband.This, however, could not be positively ascertained. Daughter Rescued, Mother and Brother Lost Another house of mourning was that of Mrs. Lucy HENKEN, at 169 South Second street.Mrs. HENKEN was accompanied by her son, Charles, 19 years
old, and her daughter, Lucy, 15 years old.The latter was rescued after she had been forced to leap overboard, by a young man who sustained her in the water until both were rescued. She does not know the name of her rescuer.
The body of the son Charles was identified in the Morgue, but Mrs. HENKEN is missing.The rescued girl was credited in the early news of the disaster yesterday with having saved the lives of two children, but this she denies.She was searching for her mother and brother during the panic, when she was forced to leap into the water by the young many.She was taken to the Lincoln Hospital, but was able to return home last night.She was still suffering from the shock this morning. Great Grief of a Mother Upon Finding Her Babe¹s Body Mrs. Lena REKANSKI, a hard working widow, living at 337 Fifth street, tried to drown herself in the East River shortly after 3:30 this morning,
after discovering her idolized daughter, Wanda, aged 10 years, among the bodies of the dead on the pier.Mrs. REKANSKI allowed her daughterto attend the one affair of its kind during the entire year. The excursion of
her Sunday school was the one little thing Wanda dreamed about and told her mother most of during the months just passed.In company with a girl friend, Lena GOETZ, aged 12, who lives in the same house with Wanda, the
latter set out for the pier at the foot of Third street yesterday morning after kissing her mother goodby.
It was with a heart sick with grief and eyes red from crying that Mrs. REKANSKI was assisted out o the pier shortly after 3 o¹clock this morning. She had given up hopeof again seeing her child alive and she looked
searchingly into the faces of the dead children.She was about to come away, feeling that none of the long line belonged to her, when she saw a hand.It was the hand of her baby.With a shriek that resounded through
the dock house, the woman turned and fell across the body, hugging and kissing the dead figure of the child.
Still screaming, the woman was led away and walked with great pain until she came to where the gang planks were laid on to the steam Fidelity.Then she started as though to go aboard the boat and no one cared to stop her.A
hundred eyes followed her every move, however, when she was seen to stop midway up the gang plank the men stood spellbound. But only for a moment.At the instant she swerved, and would have allowed herself to drop off the gangplank and into the river between the boat and the pier, three strong deck hands grabbed her and lifted her off
her feet and carried her back onto the pier.Seeming to recall that her effort to kill herself had proved unavailing, the woman again started to scream, and became so hysterical she had to be taken into the offices of the
Charity Department on the pier. When the woman¹s condition did not improve with treatment she was taken into Bellvue Hospital under orders from Acting Superintendent RICKERTS and there treated. The father of the GOETZ girl is at the pier, having insisted on staying through the night.
Dr. DARLINGTON stayed through the night until nearly 5 o¹clock, when he gave instructions to three of the Health Department boats to patrol the East River from the Battery to the spot where the "General Slocum" went down. The boats will keep a look out for floating bodies. At 5 o¹clock Acting Superintendent RICKARD of Bellvue Hospital, quitted
at the pier, after working all night in his shirt sleeves and hatless to aid the bereaved relatives who visited the pier. Brother Identifies Sister Henry HARDINCAMP, who is about 24 years of age, identified his sister,
Mary, aged 11, early in the morning.Mary was to have celebrated her birthday to-day.Herny came to the morgue looking for his father, John and brothers Frank and Harold who, with his sister Mary, were among the missing. Henry threw himself across his sister¹s coffin, and it required the combined efforts of several men to tear Henry away from his sister¹s coffin. The sight that rendered many women spiritless was that of two women who died clasping their infant babies in their arms.One of these women was
packed in ice in a box numbered 209.This woman, who was well dressed, was very beautiful in life, and the child on her breast was a beautiful one. There was a peaceful expression over the faces of mother and daughter which
caught at the hearts of the women who looked on the sight.
No. 332 was the body of a woman who also died with an infant baby hugged close to her breast.The woman¹s eyes were wide open in death.The sight of the two women and the two dead babies caused many women to faint and strong men to grow pale. Boy the Sole Survivor of One Family
Fred HARTUNG, aged 16, spent the night on the pier.So far as he can tell, he is the sole survivor of his family, numbering besides the mother, Mrs. Louisa HARTUNG, four daughters, Elsie, Clara, Milly and Francis.None
of them has been heard from among the dead thus far.
The HARTUNG boy said when the fire broke out he jumped to a tug and was saved.He did not know where his sisters were.He heard afterward that his mother had grabbed Milly and jumped with her, and they were probably drowned.Between 5 and 6 o¹clock this morning the crowd was very small about the pier, only the officials moving about. When the steamer Fidelity had been relieved of the four identified bodies that she had brought from North Brother Island to the foot of East Twenty-sixth street, about 10:30 o¹clock this morning, she left with seventy boxes, in which she will bring back about that number of bodies still lying
at the island.The Fidelity is expected to return about 2 o¹clock.Mrs. Catherine DIAMOND and her brother of 79 Madison street, went to the pier this morning and identified the body of their mother, Mrs. Catherine
BIRMINGHAM.In her paroxysms of grief, Mrs. DIAMOND ran to jump from the gangplank leading from the pier, when she was caught by W.D. HOWARD, a Bellvue Hospital nurse.She was carried into the office of the Superintendent of Outdoor Poor, where she remained in a dead faint for many
minutes. She was able to leave the scene with her brother.
Young Man¹s Mind Unbalanced Over Loss Policemen were ordered by Captain GALLAGER to keep a close watch on
Charles SCHMIDLING, 19 years old, of 119 East Seventh street, this morning. SCHMIDLING had been on the pier since 3 o¹clock in the morning looking for the bodies of his mother and two sisters.He finally began to weaken under
strain and about 10 o¹clock was talking incoherently and gesticulating.He was kept from going out on the pier, as were many who showed they were no longer able to endure the strain. Acting under orders from police headquarters, photographers are engaged at the morgue this morning photographing the unidentified dead.The photographers will be used for identification purposes when the bodies can
no longer be exposed to public view. I am not related & have no other info.