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.    
**    
THE WICHITA BEACON
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]
FIVE PERSONS LOSE LIVES;
	 PROPERTY LOSS IS $200,000.    
All of the Bodies Taken From the Ruins Are
	 Burned Beyond Hope of Identification.    
ONE OF THE ADULT RESIDENTS STILL MISSING.    
Forty-five Children Who Lived There Were 
	Rescued and Taken to Places of Safety.    
THE FLAMES BROKE OUT ABOUT 2:16 O'CLOCK.    
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.    
	THE MISSING.
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.    
	BODIES RECOVERED.
	Four adult bodies have been recovered from the debris and 18 inches of water in 
the basement.  They are burned beyond identification.    
[Column 3]
MASONIC HOME ROSTER; 
	PERSONS WHO ESCAPED.    
			ACCOUNTED FOR.
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. 
		EMPLOYES [sic] ACCOUNTED FOR.
Stewart, Ettele.		Zaring, Emma.
Fry, Marie.			Davis, E. J.
Howard, Julia.			Reinert, L. B.
Davis, Emma.
			THE MISSING. 
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.
	THOSE THOUGHT TO BE DEAD
	...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.
	...Y WANTED TO SLEEP
	...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. ....
	__________________    
SHE LOST HER LIFE
	FOR WEDDING DRESS    
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.
	___________________    
A CHILD'S APPEAL
	SAVED HIS BROTHER    
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 
standing.  
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)]    


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