Chicago, IL Eastland Disaster, Jul 1915 - Met Death on the Eastland

Eastland on Her Side, photo from Funeral for Disaster Victims, photo from


Miss Mary Hefferen Loses Life in Great Disaster.


Was Sister of William and John Hefferen of Heights.

Arlington Heights, too, felt the horror of the great tragedy that overwhelmed Chicago last Saturday morning in the sinking of the steamer Eastland in the Chicago river at which time over 1,200 men, women and children were swept to an untimely death as the great lake steamer took its fatal plunge. Miss Mary Hefferon, a former resident of this village, having been born and raised here, was among the many hundreds whose lives were sacrificed in the worst maritime accident Chicago has ever known. She was a sister of William and John Hefferen of this place.

As soon as news of the terrible disaster reached Arlington Heights, relatives of Miss Hefferen, knowing that she intended on making the trip on the Eastland, hurried to the city. No trace of her was found until three o'clock the next morning, when Mr. and Mrs. Collins, neighbors of Mrs. Hopkins and intimate friends of Miss Hefferen, found her body among the victims at the Second Regiment Armory. They were told by policemen that the body had been taken from the water about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

The tow girl chums who accompanied Miss Hefferen on the fateful day were both rescued. They said that the three were on the top deck when they noticed the boat was listing to the port side. Miss Hefferen, they said, was very calm and cautioned them not to get excited. They were swept off the deck into the water and saved, but Miss Hefferen was struck by some heavy piece of rigging and pinioned in the wreckage. When taken from the water her body was found to be badly crushed and one arm was broken. There was no water in the lungs, showing that death was not caused by drowning but that in all probability she was killed instantly when struck by the heavy object that crushed her body.

Deceased, who was the daughter of the late John Hefferen Sr., was born in Arlington Heights March 18, 1875. She secured her education here, being a graduate of the grammar school. She moved to Chicago twenty-one years ago, worked four years as a clerk in the Boston Store, and for past 17 years had been an employe [sic] of the Western Electric Company, working her way up to the position of assistant floorlady.

The funeral took place Tuesday morning, services being held at the home of her sister, Mrs. Thomas Hopkins, 3682 Parnell Ave., and at Nativity church, 37th St. and Parnell Ave., at 10 o'clock. There was a large attendance of relatives and friends and the floral tributes were profuse and beautiful. Many from Arlington Heights were present to pay a final tribute of respect, among them being MR. and MRS. WILLIAM HEFFEREN and family, MR. JOHN HEFFEREN, MR. and MRS. HENRY FIRNBACH, MRS. LAUTERBERG and daughter, MRS. EMIL SIEBURG, MRS. CHARLES PETERSEN, MRS. CHARLES FITZPATRICK, MISS FLORA TRAUB, MR. FRED LORENZEN and MR. NICK KOLLE. The remains were laid at rest in Mt. Olivet cemetery.


We wish in this manner to express our heartfelt thanks to the many good neighbors and friends for their expressions of sympathy and acts of kindness since the death of our loving sister Mary, and to assure those who so thoughtfully sent floral tributes that their kindness will not be forgotten.
Wm. Hefferen & Family. John Hefferen.

The Daily Herald, Chicago, IL. 30 Jul 1915