Thirteen years ago, December 30, last, Mrs. Johnson with her three daughters, Mrs. J.H. Spindler of Lowell; Mrs. Jennie Rife, and Mrs. E.C. Frady, of Chicago, with two grandsons, Burdette Spindler and Leon Frady, attended the Iroquois play that fateful day. Mrs. Johnson, the only one of the six escaped, by crawling on her hands and knees over a ladder stretched across the abyss from the third floor to a window across the alley, though fearfully burned at the time. A feat another woman attempted, but fell terribly mangled as the body reached the pavement below. The five children, though occupying the fifth seat from the stage on the third floor, were separated in death. The bodies, after three days of wearisome search, were located in four different morgues. Mrs. Johnson was so low at St. Luke's hospital that news of her terrible loss was withheld from her for a number of weeks, and she was perfectly conscious all the while.
A funeral train was made up the following Sabbath, bearing the five bodies with their kin and many friends to Lowell, where appropriate services were held at the M.E. church before a crowded house, and where the five caskets, laden with flowers, filled the entire space encircling the altar, after which they were borne to the cemetery.
This faithful mother and grandmother was all that such a one could be to her children, living thirteen years after the almost unheard of affliction, in anguish of spirit, to meet her own again, which she did on Sunday, March 25, at 10:30 a.m., after a three months followed by two days of quiet sleep, and like a babe in its mother's arms, passed away. Two days later services were held in Ludtow's Chapel, Chicago, conducted by Dr. Covert, of First Presbyterian church, and Dr. Lyon, Superintendent of the Howard Association, a cousin of the deceased; where true friends from Englewood and home, gathered to pay respects to a true friend and beloved neighbor. From there the remains were brought to Lowell by automobile.
Her life was eventful, born in Manchester, England, 69 years ago. arriving in this country with her parents at the age of five years, lived in Illinois 60 years and in Chicago 29. She was married in 1868 at Englewood, Ill., reared and educated four children, one son and three daughters. She was a member of Trinity Congregational church at Englewood.
A woman of royal English blood, living a life of remarkable self- sacrifice for humanity, caring naught for self in untiring effort for others that life might become less burdensome, hence more joyous to them. A great homemaker and home-keeper, never self-conscious and void of self-adulation, and after 49 years of perfect domestic felicity together, the writer pronounces hers the most unselfish life he ever knew, and after 69 years of patient toil for the Master, she truly dropped down in the harness so faithfully worn from the cradle to the grave.
Go to Mrs. J.G. Johnson, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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