Peshtigo, WI "The Great Peshtigo Fire," Oct 1871 - Frightful Number of Deaths

Peshtigo had nearly 2,000 inhabitants. The village was mainly owned by the Pestigo [sic] Company, of which WM. B. OGDEN, of Chicago, is President and chief owner, and THOMAS H. BEEBE, also of Chicago, general manager. W. A. ELLIS is the resident manager at Peshtigo. It was the chief point of the company for its large operations on that river, and there were concentrated all the offices, stores and general head-quarters. It is about seven miles from the harbor at the mouth, with which it is connected by a railroad. It is also on the highway from Green Bay to Escanaba, between Oconto and Menominee, and is to be a station on the Northern Extension of the Chicago North-Western railway. Among the main features of the place was the extensive pail and tub factory, one of the largest and most complete in the United States, and quite new, having been run less than a year.

There was also an extensive mill for the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, and a variety of wood-work. The company also had a large hotel and boarding-house, and a great number of dwelling houses - one of which, the residence of the local manager - was as complete as all the modern improvements could make it. There were also the company's shops, for the building of cars, logging sleds, and all the implements required by this great lumbering concern.


We are informed that the exact number of houses in Rosiere was 180, of which there are but five left. In addition to the names of the dead first reported, we get the name of GABRIELLE MANFORT. The villages of Rosiere and Messiere form the Town of Lincoln. Both are burned. At last account at least twenty-one persons were missing. Among the dwellings burned at Dykesville are those of PAUL FONTAINE, PIERRE LIGOT, and JOSEPH TONNARD.

At the burning of SCOFIELD's mill, town of Brussels, and settlement, nine lives were lost - six men and three women. HAULOTT's mill, in the town of Humboldt, was burned on Sunday.

A letter from Forestville, Door County, says that a settlement of six families, on the west side of the town of Brussels, was burned Sunday evening. But one family escaped. They at one time gave up for lost. All the buildings were burned, and thus far thirty-four dead bodies have been found and buried. A large amount of stock was burned. The Kewaunee Enterprise brings news of additional destruction in the towns of Ahnepee, Pierce, Kewaunee, Casco and Carlton.

A telegram from Green Bay, Oct. 12, says:

The northern steamer is just in. Three hundred and twenty-five bodies have been found and buried at Peshtigo up to last night. The river will be dragged today, and it is thought 100 more bodies will be found. Between sixty and seventy dead bodies were brought into Oconto last night. The loss of life on the east shore - in Door and Kewaunee Counties - is appalling as the terrible news comes in. Those left are houseless and almost naked.


The New York Times, New York, NY Oct. 17, 1871