Transcribed by Mrs. Suzanne (Deal) Sellers, of Dallas, TX, on 2 May 2001 from Xerox copy 

of newspaper in possession of Mrs. Roberta Annette (Wilson) Ralston of Avard, OK.    

Vol. LXVI. No. 55,  Price 2 cents, Wichita, Kansas, Friday Evening, December 22, 1916, 

Page 39.    
[This page is 7 columns wide.  The headlines and articles about the fire take up the left 

three columns, from top to the bottom of page.  The next three columns to the right and 

about one half a page long contain four photographs of the burned building.]    
[Headlines, Columns 1 and 2]


	 PROPERTY LOSS IS $200,000.    
All of the Bodies Taken From the Ruins Are

	 Burned Beyond Hope of Identification.    
Forty-five Children Who Lived There Were 

	Rescued and Taken to Places of Safety.    
Frozen Water Plug Handicapped the Firemen 

	in Their Effort to Cope With the Fire.    
Property Was Owned by the Masons of Kansas--Main-

	tained as a Home for the Aged Members of

		 the Lodge and Orphans of Masons. 

			 It Will Be Rebuilt.    

Jesse T. Brown, age 80, of Wichita

Mrs. Jesse T. Brown, age 60, of Wichita

Frank Ferris, age 80, of Atchison, Kas.

Mrs. Frank Ferris, age 78, of Atchison, Kas.

Gertrude Weigle, age 20, Burden, Kas.    

	Four adult bodies have been recovered from the debris and 18 inches of water in 

the basement.  They are burned beyond identification.    
[Column 3]



Armour, Jack K.			Logan, Nancy B.

Armour, Malcolm.		Mailey [or Malley?], Irving.

Armour, Thomas J.		Millet, D. Q.

Armour, James O.		Moore, Thomas H.

Armour, Rachel M.		Matney, Thomas. 

Barnett, Mrs. Ella.		Matney, Daisy R. 

Barnett, Mrs. Nancy.		Matney, Gene vieve A. [surely, Genevieve A.]

Barrows, Mrs. Julia A.		Matney, Hyacinth.

Blakemore, Mrs. Nancy.		Morse, James O.

Bradshaw, Mrs. Anna. 		Morse, John T.	

Burns, Mrs. Nancy J.		Morse, Dorothy N.

Beck, Joseph G.			Morse, Ramona L.

Best, Manzo.			Mowery, Frank.

Brant, Charles T.		Mowery, Elwood.

Brown, William K.		Mowery, Norwood.

Bumstead, John E.		Mowery, Osa C.

Curtis, Hugh D. 		Morton, Naomi R.

Casselman, George.		Morton, Merle A.		

Clark, William L.		Morton, Vesta C.

Deneke, Emma.			Newman, Maggie B.

Dodge, George E.		Newell, Laura V.  

Deck, Benjamin F.		Neese, Jerry.

Dundon, William.		Ragland, Z. V.

Dunscomb, E. J.			Reeder, David.

Dweiley, M. S.			Schmucker, Edgar.

English, Gladys R.		Schmucker, Lewis C.

English, Frank.			Schmucker, Martha.

English, Kenneth.		Smith, Dean.

English, Henry.			Smith, Francis B.

Elliott, James E.		Smith, Lawrence J.

Fluhrer, Regina.		Strahl, Clark W.

Fulton, Carl.			Smith, Gale A.

Fulton, Floyd.			Sadler, O. E.

Gager, Orcelia.			Seal, J. H.

Garvey, Rex.			Swafford, William.

Garvey, Claude.			Seward, Henrietta A.

Haskell, Olive M.		Townsend, Anna.

Hendrix, Fannie M.		Tilton, B. F.

Henshail, Catherine.		Warner, Celia E.

Hooser[Houser?], H. G.		Ward, U. I.

Ion, Adeline G.			Watkins, Frank M.

Ion, Ida.			Whitesides, John A.

Ion, Lillian.			Wright, A. C.

Ion, Morwydd.[sic]		Yates, Melissa.

Ion, Joseph.			Yates, David A.

Jones, Mrs. Nettie.		Zielkie [sic], Paul.

Kreger, Elsie V.		Burdick, Daniel P., Superintendent.

Kreger, Johnnie E.		Burdick, Annie., Matron. 


Stewart, Ettele.		Zaring, Emma.

Fry, Marie.			Davis, E. J.

Howard, Julia.			Reinert, L. B.

Davis, Emma.


Jesse T. Brown, Wichita.

Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, Wichita.

Frank Ferris, Atchison.

Mrs. Amanda Ferris, Atchison.

Gertrude Weigel, [sic] diningroom [sic] girl, Burden, Kas.    
[Text from Columns one and two]

	"The Kansas Masonic Home, in West Wichita, was destroyed by fire early today with 

a loss of $200,000.

	Five of the 108 adult residents of the home are believed to have lost their lives.

	All of the 45 children who resided there were rescued.

	Four bodies of adults, burned beyond all hope of identification, have been taken 

from the ruins.  It is impossible even to determine the sex of the bodies.  They have been 

taken to the I. W. Gill morgue.

	The fire started at 2:16 o'clock this morning in the boiler room.

[left hand edge of page is deteriorated part way down]

	....ter plugs greatly handicapped the fire department.  The

	...heroic rescue work among both the children and adult

	...the home.


	...ive persons who are believed to have died in the fire are

	...rown, age 80 years, a member of Masonic Lodge No. 99 of

	...nd his wife, age 60 years; Frank Ferris, age 80, of Atchi-

	...and his wife, age 78 years; and Miss Gertrude Weigle, age 

	...who was employed in the dining room at the home.

	...odies were found in the basement buried in debris which

	...d by water 18 inches deep.  They were burned so badly

	...ismembered and some of the firemen who recovered them

	...t instead of there  being four bodies there may be only

	...ce carried on the building and contents amounts to $90,000.


	...ness of Paul Zeilke, [sic] a 16-

	..., who was on watch in the

	...until midnight, probably 

	...ible for the failure to dis-

	...e in time to save the build-

	...lives of the inmates.

Young Zeilke [sic] went to sleep during 

a watch.  He was wakened up by 

a crackling of flames about 2 o'clock.

The boiler room was a seething fur-

nace of flame fed by crude oil.  Zeilke [sic]

was scorched in making his escape.

Excited by the flames, Zeilke [sic] ran to 

the instrument board in the boiler

room to turn off the motors that drove

the oil pumps.  Instead he switched

off the lights from the entire build-

ing.  This left al [sic] parts of the home in

darkness and tremendously handi-

capped the firemen in the rescue.    
	Water on the Flames.

	Meanwhile the pumps continued to 

pour crude oil on the flames until the

motors were consumed. ....

	'The interior of the home was tin-

der,' said Fire Chief A. G. Walden. ....

	Col. Tom Fitch was uncertain where

the fire started.  He was inclined to 

believe that it originated in the laun-

dry and not in the boiler room. ....    
	18 inches of Water.

	It was nearly 10 o'clock when the 

debris heaped in the basement in eigh-

teen inches of water was cool enough 

for firemen to dig for bodies. ....  Su-

perintendent Burdick was called.    
	Two  Bodies Were Taken Out.  [continued in lower part of Column two]	


	At 11 o'clock ... rescue work was 

stopped. ....

	As soon as the fire was under control 

and all the Home inmates rescued had

been taken to places of safety, the task

of checking up began.  This was tedi-

ous work as men, women and children 

were bundled up and taken to any 

homes that were opened to them as

rapidly as they were taken from the

burning building.    
	They Began to Report.


	By noon all but five of the 108

persons living at the home had

been accounted for.  The missing 

at that hour were:  Mr. and Mrs. 

Jesse T. Brown, members of Wich-

ita Lodge No. 99; Mr. and Mrs.

Frank Ferris, members of an

Atchison lodge, and Miss Ger-

trude Weigle, 20 years old, a din-

ing room girl. 


	In all there were 108 residents and 

employes [sic] living at the home.  Of these

thirty-one were men, twenty-one wo-

men, twenty-seven boys and nineteen

girls.  The ten employes [sic] brought the

total to 108.

	Four of the oldest men in the home

were taken to the residence of W. J.

Gilbreath, 522 South Elizabeth Avenue.

These were:  W. M. Swofford, [sic] 92 years

old; E. S. [sic] Dunscomb, 83; U. I. Ward, 78,

and W. K. Brown, 61.  Mr. Swofford [sic] is 

the oldest inmate of the home.  He

has been there sixteen years.  His con-

dition was reported serious and under

the doctor's orders he and Mr. Duns-

comb were removed to the hospital.    
	In the Hospital List.

	The hospital list early this morning

included the following:

	Louis [sic] Schmucker, Irving Malley, 

Jimmie [sic] Armour [James Ogden Armour], John [sic] Kreger, G. C.

Castleman,[sic]  William Dundon, J. S.[sic]

Whiteside,[sic]  Mrs. Ella Barnett, Miss

Ettell [sic]  Stewart and Mrs. Regina Fluh-

rer.  Miss Stewart, one of the ma-

trons was overcome by smoke.  John [sic]

Kreger, a boy, had badly frosted feet.    
	Doctor Calls on the Ill.

	Dr. J. W. Cave visited all of those

reported ill from exposure or suffoca-

tion.  Several who had been taken to

private homes were ordered to the 

hospital. ....

	The Masonic Home chapel, ...

became admin-

istration headquarters this morning.

Here Henry Wallenstein, Superintend-

ent Burdick, Frank Harris, John

House, Gifford Booth, Harry Jones, C.

K. Bothwell, Colonel Tom Fitch, Ran- [continued in lower part of Column three]

som Brown and many other Masons

labored to check up [on] the living.  Under

direction of Mrs. A. J. Applegate a

house-to-house canvass was made to

locate the missing members of the

Home family.

	Tonight the chapel will become a 

dormitory for men, cots were secured

and bedding provided. ....

	Hundreds of offers of aid were re-

ceived during the morning.  Mr. and

Mrs. C. K. Bothwell found temporary

homes for thirty-six of the unfortun-

ates.  M. W. Woods of Sedgwick House 

offered to take twelve.  Individual 

Masons agreed to care for one or/more

until the home can be rebuilt. ....


Gertrude Weigle, 20 Years Old, After

	Aiding in Making Rescues, Died

		While Recovering a Gown.


	Miss Weigle was employed in the 

children's department of the home and

was to be married in the spring.  She

had been working for some time on a

wedding gown and had taken great

pride in showing it to friends and the

children under her care.

	According to [the] children, Miss Weigle

was one of the first persons to leave 

the burning building.  She gave a great

deal of her time to caring for the

thinly-clad children as they were taken

from the building, thinking that the

fire would soon be extinguished.

	When one of the firemen told her

that there was probably no hopes for 

the dormitory, at least, she rushed by

him, telling the children she had been

caring for that she would be back just

as soon as she had recovered her dress.

	They waited in the chapel till fire-

men took them away, but Miss Weigle

did not return.  The children fear that

she perished while attempting to res-

cue her wedding gown.


Heroic Firemen Answered the Boy's

	Call and Rescued a Boy from

		a Closet.

	'My brother's in there:  oh, Mister,

can't you get him, too?"

	This piteous appeal from a cold-

stricken, 8 year-old boy in the arms of 

Fireman Harlo McCall, ...

drove firemen back into the

third floor death trap when they had

believed all of the children saved. ....

	Going on hands and knees, Firemen

McCall, Ray Morris, William Offen-

stein, Thomas Sladek, A. M. Williams

and Bert Furnas fought their way thru

sixty feet of hades. ...Morris...

found a partly open closet door.  This

meant unexplored space and children 

might be in that black hole.  ....    
	Huddled in a Corner.

	Fumbling blindly among heaps

of clothes, the firemen found three

	(Continued on Page Nine) [ I do not have page Nine--SDS] 	    
[Columns four, five and six.]    
Ruins of the Masonic Home in West Wichita

[four photos of the Home]

	TOP PICTURE shows the front of the Kansas Masonic Home after it was destroyed by 

fire early today.  Ice formed from the water thrown by the firemen.

SECOND PICTURE from the top is the view from the West end of the building showing the 

complete destruction.  

THIRD PICTURE is a view from the South side of the building showing only the wall is 


BOTTOM PICTURE is a general view showing the North and East fronts of the ruined building."    
[Genealogical notes:  The Armour children listed in the roster are the younger children of 

Samuel "R" Armour and Margaret (Kincaid) Armour, who were both deceased by 1915.  They are 

buried in the Hillside Cemetery at Sedgwick, Harvey Co., KS.  Samuel "R" Armour was at one 

time the postmaster at Clearwater, Sedgwick Co., KS and at his death in 1915, he was the 

mayor of Sedgwick, Harvey Co., KS. (from information and obituary given by Robert Stuart 

Armour, grandson of Samuel "R" Armour)]    

This page created for Sedgwick County KSGenWeb by John Schunk ( Not to be reproduced or redistributed without permission.