Jefferson County



Mt. Vernon Register News - March 27, 1942
Submitted By: Brenda Hereford and Nancy E. Davis


Victims of Tragedy in South Part of City Tentatively 
Identified as Lydia Jackson and Charles A. Stratton


Flames Had Engulfed House When Firemen Arrived. Sparks 
Ignite Another Home Two Blocks Away.

Two horribly charred bodies were recovered by firemen 
about 3 a.m. today from the smouldering(sic) ruins of 
a house which burned to the ground in the south part of 
Mt. Vernon. 

Fire Chief Paul Partridge said positive identification 
had not been made but that the victims of the early morning 
blaze had been tentatively identified as Lydia Bell Jackson, 
58, and Charles A. Stratton, 38.

Identification of the bodies was impossible. Firemen said 
that only charred torsos, bones and skulls were left when 
the bodies were dragged from the burning hot embers by use 
of ????.(unreadable word)

The (????????????) at 1:30 a.m. (????????????)at the Anchor
(?????????????????) over two blocks from the scene of the blaze 
he immediately summoned firemen.  On their arrival they found 
that the roof had toppled in and that the house was a mass of 
flames.(??? all unreadable words)

The house, alongside the Missouri Pacific railroad, was situated 
between Lamar and Onger and between 13th and 15th streets.

About 3 a.m. when the building had been reduced to a pile of 
smouldering (sic) embers, a boy in the crowd saw a skull in the 
northwest corner of the ruins. Firemen used a pike pole to drag 
the body of the man clear, after Coroner Ben Roeder had been summoned 
to the scene.

A short time later the body of the woman was found near the southeast 
corner of the ruins.  Her body was dragged clear by the same method.

The heat from the wind-whipped flames was so intense that it was an 
hour and a half after the arrival before firemen were able to begin 
their search for the bodies. 

Shortly after daylight this morning, firemen again visited the scene 
of the tragedy and armed with shovels, searched the ruins to make 
certain that only two persons had burned to death.

Auxiliary firemen, who serve the city without pay, helped search 
for the bodies.

A brisk wind whipped the flames carrying sparks over houses in the 
immediate neighborhood.  Firemen were spotted at different places 
to guard against other homes catching fire. 

This precautionary measure was credited with saving the home of 
Arthur Randolph, 1125 S. 13th, which is two blocks from the scene 
of the fire.  A fireman saw the wooden shingle roof of the Randolph 
home ignite from a spark.

Firemen immediately climbed to the roof and extinguished the blaze 
with a fire extinguisher.  The sleeping family was awakened.


Stratton Services

Charles A. Stratton was born February 9, 1904 in Jefferson county, 
the son of Roscoe and Jessie Yost Stratton. He formerly was a shoe 
cutter at the International Shoe Company but at present was employed 
by the Missouri-Pacific railroad. 

Funeral services will be held at Hawkins Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Saturday, 
conducted by the Rev. R. B. Guthrie, and burial will follow in Oakwood 
cemetery.  Friends may pay their respects at funeral home after 6 p.m. 
today. The casket will not be opened.


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