Farm - The Saint Report
summer of 1871 must have been a real scorcher in the midwest because
on October 8th of that year, three of the 12 worst wildfires in United
States history occurred simultaneously in Peshtigo (Wisconsin), Chicago,
and lower Michigan. The
Peshtigo fire caused 1,182 fatalities and the destruction of 1.2
million acres of timberland, Chicago's consumed 17,450 structures
and killed 250, and the lower Michigan fires destroyed 2.5 million
acres and left 200 dead.
celebrating feast days today include Marcellus, Simeon, Pelagia
the Penitent, Thais, and Reparata.
today include Chevy Chase (1943), Paul Hogan (1939), Jesse Jackson
(1941), R.L.Stine (1943), and Sigourney Weaver (1949).
It was a big
news day. If Dan Brokaw read this, I'll bet he'd be salivating. Being
a newscaster (or a television evangelist for that matter) must give
one a somewhat unattractive ambivalence toward natural disasters.
Here is a strange
little story from a survivor of the Peshtigo fire:
helped pick up the dead and make rough boxes as there were not
enough caskets. He put as many as five of a family in one casket
as they were just bones. They found people who were not burned
at all, just suffocated. Many saved themselves by going in the
water with blankets wrapped around them, and some got down in
wells and were saved that way. Chickens, sitting in their perches,
were suffocated, not burned, and fish were on top of the water
from the intense heat. Father said he found a young lady beside
a log – she wasn’t burned at all and had such a nice head of curly
hair that he couldn’t resist cutting a lock off. He always carried
it in his purse and frequently showed it to us. My parents took
a family of five who were burned and cared for them until they
recovered...Father said he had seen so many terrible sights that
he couldn’t bear to live there any longer, so they moved back
to Jacksonport and lived there most of the rest of their lives.
I have written what my parents told me of the fire of ’71 and
I know that all the items are true.
possessed the man to cut the lock of hair from the dead girl's head?
Was it a posthumous rescue of some sort or merely the taking of a
Leaving a cockfight about 30 years ago (that's a whole 'nuther story--it was my first and last cockfight), I saw a dead rooster beside
the barn that held the arena. Without thinking why, I went over to
the bird and pulled out of feather. I still have it. Did it seemed
wrong that after such a brave fight, nothing of the creature should
be left? Did the saved feather give significance to the death? Maybe
the lock of hair did the same thing...a sort of weird amelioration
of meaningless waste?
I think too much.
to October 9
to October 7
to the Farm