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Monday, October 11, 2010

There'll be a Hot time in the old town tonight!

Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Old Mother Leary left a lantern in the shed;
And when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said,

"There’ll be a hot time in the old town, tonight."

Folklore / Fact -

Those are some Lyricks to the old song in referral to the Great Chicago fire. In an anuual memory of the date our work place had fire safety instruction this week, which is an annual event probably started because of the anniversary date of the Great Chicago fire. [There was also another big fire Peshtigo, Wisconsin in another area with a big amount of destruction said to perhaps be due to Metors fragments falling. I think they need a song in competition] The Chicago fire which burned for two days began on October 8, 1871 at 13 Dekoven Street of Chicago an area that held many German and Irish immigrants.. Many lives of families would not be the same after that.

I have taken an interest because M&M mentioned this fire and the song.
He mentioned the song in association of the O'leary cow and the fire, which was said as a cause of early death of Williams sibling Margarete.
When I told him I hadn't heard about any other Meyer other than grandfather's brother William or his sisters; he told me that so many of the brothers and children died so very young, and others in mid life. He mentioned Young Fred dying from a burst appendix shortly after his marriage. As you already know the story of Williams brother Fred or Fritz dying at Lombard. As for the mentioned O'leary, who had the cow my brain gets a bit fuzzy in recall of the details because he departed so much new information to me in that short amount of time on a work break. But I thought he said that the family lost the sister Margaret, who had been married to Stille or Stile. She may have been known as Catherine or Elisabeth. She may very well have been Liese who we know came with Fred in 1869 supposedly first to Galena, Illinois.

If she had been Liese and came in 1869 to Galena, she would have had to marry very quickly or have gone to Chicago to work and live.

I hadn't much luck in marriage searches for Jo Davies. However, I am thinking she may have come with another married name, and that AIDA, and the Meyer book [ my sources] neglected to mention it. In the bigger scope of Illinois marriages I had this:
-1873-10-29 2 /66 8 CLINTON
The 'H' would have to be an error. [ Don't you just hate people adding a 's' to the name Meyer!]

Now imagine being trapped in a fire situation with a language handicap and location knowledge limited. If she had an infant already and she died, most likely the infant by her side would have perished too.

At any rate, the idea of folklore, or family stories blown out of proportion is something to keep in mind [grin]. No doubt that people with theories and proven information is still a good read. It often times has distracted me as I have attempted to find anything on Catherine Margarete Elisabeth Meyer - Stiles . I have actually searched and browsed some sources a few year ago. I am sure today today, I would not have to weed through so much information of a more glorified nature to something more substantial as a genealogist.

Genealogy - For Genealogists -
In fact I just recently noticed Footnote has a special of the month on the Great Chicago fire, and if it is free I want to pursue it. I will have to make time. See here. It seems to be a good place for me to start again. Or at least look it over. I am going to make time for it, folks!

Now I had trouble narrowing down my search at Footnote which is now part of's holdings. So I am including this link I found to help make searching there easier.

If you don't mind I will save more fuzzy details of mention of the other Deceased siblings of William Meyer's and the hunts for other discussions.

In conclusion and not about Margarete Meyer Stile
I guess I can't help but say that like Grims fairy tales and Aesop tales, I suspect that what was written and said and know to all in fun will stick. Probably three hundred years after we are gone, there will still be the little tale of the poor old Kate O'leary's cow despite proof of it not being true it will stick. It will be part of us in some way just as the fairy tales lived on with our ancestors' descendants. It can be a little mind boggling when you think about the power of a good story.

Below in the various articles about Chicago fire you may read a little on the ghost writer for Michel Ahern who is said to have written about Kate O'leary. I myself want to read more about a reference to a Rockwell Painting. Or you might follow up on the Footnote link.

Further reading and sources:
Sources Sources:
Copyright © 1996 by the Chicago Historical Society and the Trustees of Northwestern University
Last revised 10-1-97


  1. I saw a lot about the anniversary of the fire on TV and in the newspapers this weekend. But your post was the first I read in a blog! It's very interesting because big fires happened in many major cities, and affected lots of ancestors. Boston burned to the ground several times, so did San Francisco. My grandmother remembered the Salem, Mass. fire and told us stories, although she was very, very young at the time.

  2. yes, San Francisco, I remember reading a bit, I was surprised how much and fast it burned. It sounds so miminal sometimes when you read it. Or suppose if I had said well the settlers in the plains in the early days [Mn for one] had a few insect problems. But the grasshoppers were determining staying or leaving factors sometimes for the settlers.

    i could say more about the family and the fire, but haven't found anything to stick with the family lore by M&M.

    I bet the shows on tv were interesting!



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