New York, NY Park Place Building Explosion - Ellis and MacDonald



Circumstances point to the deaths of William H. Ellis and W. G. Macdonald, who composed the bookbinding firm of Ellis & Macdonald at 76 Park Place. No word from or of those two men had been received by their respective families up to a late hour last night. Both are known to have been at their place of business yesterday noon.

Mr. Ellis is a bachelor, who lived with his mother and three unmarried sisters at 228 Hart Avenue, Brooklyn. He had but recently bought the house in which they reside. The family were distracted with anxiety last night. They hoped for the best, but their sorrow overwhelmed their hope. "Our brother would surely have come home, or have sent us some word, it he was alive," said one of the sisters. "He would not keep us in suspense." Mr. Ellis was in the habit of taking his luncheon in the ill-fated restaurant, and it is feared that he was there when the crash came.

Nothing had been heard from Mr. Macdonald by his family up to 10 o'clock last night. In as much as it was the custom of the firm to close the bindery at 12 o'clock Saturdays, it is believed that Ellis and Macdonald left their establishment together. These young men have been associates and partners for many years. They were printers together in the Transcript office during the Tweed régime. After the downfall of the "ring" and the suspension of the Transcript, the two comrades went into partnership in the bookbinding business. They met with very fair success and were doing nicely up to about two years ago, when they were burned out. Last Spring they congratulated themselves upon having almost entirely recovered from the effects of the fire.

Mr. Macdonald's wife and three children were to have met him yesterday at Jewett's Wharf, Brooklyn, at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon for a trip to Rockaway. They waited on the pier until 4 o'clock P. M., and then went home. News of the disaster in Park Place soon reached Mrs. Macdonald and almost prostrated her. She felt that there was no hope of her husband being alive, for she knew that so long as he possessed the power of speech and action, he would, under such circumstances, speedily send her some word to relieve her anxiety. She said that her husband was very methodical, and never failed to keep an appointment.

Miss Mary Ridden was the forewoman of the firm, having been in their company for about ten years. Mrs. Macdonald went to the scene of the accident last evening, but could not find Miss Ridden. She does not know where that lady lived, except that it was in Brooklyn. Her name is not in the Directory.

Mr. MacDonald was an active Republican and a delegate to the Kings County General Committee from the Twenty-sixth Ward. He was born in Edinburgh, but came to America twenty years ago. He formed the firm of Young, Ellis & MacDonald, with offices at 59 Beekman Street, sixteen years ago, but removed into the Park Place quarters eight years ago. The firm did most of Martin B. Brown's work and all of the bookbinding for the New York Central Railroad Company. Mr. MacDonald was a member of Hill Grove Lodge, F. and A. M. and organized the Twenty-sixth Ward Burns Club. He was Treasurer of the Rockaway Avenue Congregational Church.

Theodore A. Liebler, of the firm of Liebler & Mass, has a house at 539 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn. He was twenty-eight years old, and a son-in-law of August Walther, a retired millionaire, who has been in Europe with his family for several years. Mr. Liebler sent his family to the Oscawana Lake House, near Peekskill, a month ago, and his house in Brooklyn was shut up last night. He visited the house twice a week but was not there at any time yesterday.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Aug 1891