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Survivor Stories of the Peshtigo Fire

This page is dedicated to the people who lived to tell of their survival and stories of the Peshtigo Fire.

From the family of survivor descendant: Lily Worrall

William Eamer born ca 1815 was an Innkeeper and lived in Cornwall township, Ontario, Canada, until the late 1860s when the family left to settle in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. The family is listed in the Wisconsin census of 1870. The census includes William his wife and 3 children; Philip, James, and Mandy. Perhaps his other children Sarah Jane and Mary Ann were married and stayed in Canada, or, perhaps they died young. Mandy was known as Mandy Melvina Eamer - she died in the fire. The maiden name "Burton" (for Mary Ann Burton Eamer) will be new to your list of those who died.

Peshtigo was a small town a few miles from the Peshtigo River. It was the centre for the lumbering business of northeastern Wisconsin. In 1871 there was a major fire in the town and William’s wife Mary Ann  [Burton] and daughter Mandy perished. William’s son Philip Arthur was also injured in this fire. he was plowing at the time of the fire and  saved himself by covering his body with earth, however he suffered great shock and loss of memory. He recovered and went on to marry Annie Alguire of Roxborough Township Ontario and they had three children.

We have not found a record of how William and son James survived the fire.

William’s son James travelled west to Edmonton, Alberta in the 1880s. He owned property in Edmonton and a Ranch near Leduc Alberta. An early  telephone directory of the Edmonton area lists his address as 9915 Whyte Avenue. James married but had no children and died circa 1930.

Philip and Annie had three children, two of whom were twins. They travelled west to Edmonton, Alberta in 1885 where Philip’s brother James had recently settled. They did not stay long in Edmonton, before travelling to Wisconsin in 1889. The family made the long journey by covered wagon. They lived in Wisconsin for a short time and eventually returned to Cornwall Township in Ontario. Philip died 19 Jan 1912 at  the age of 65. His wife Annie Alguire died 23 Feb 1940 at the age of 95 years.

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