Remembering Peshtigo

In honor of my late and beloved Uncle Rob who, on October 8th of every year, made us all take a moment to reflect upon one of the most horrific tragedies in our nation's history: The Great Peshtigo Fire, I do so again.

Peshtigo Fire
"What is Peshtigo?" you might ask. It is a reasonable question to ask, and one I asked my Uncle Rob when he stopped us all during dinner one night for a moment of silence. Of course he was shocked that I did not know - naturally as Peshtigo was not in my 4th grade curriculum as it was for him...

In 1871 the "worst recorded forest fire" swept through parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. In that fire the town of Peshtigo was surrounded by flames; the only refuge for the towns people and their animals was their nearby lake. There they gathered thinking logically that the fire could not hurt them, and there they all boiled to death.

The Great Chicago Fire, which just so happened to occur on the same day, is largely remembered as the worst fire in America's history. That fire claimed several hundred lives, while the Peshtigo Fire, now mostly forgotten claimed several thousand.

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2 Comments

This reminds me of something similar that I went through as a child. The two great fires of New Orleans, 1788 and 1794, were devastating to the city that I was raised in. The difference being that both fires were well-discussed in school.

Beautifully written - like words & music, words & music . . .

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  • Beautifully written - like words & music, words & music . . . ...

  • This reminds me of something similar that I went through as a child. The two great fires of New Orleans, 1788 and 1794, were devastating to the city that I was raised in. The difference being that both fires were well-di...

    Nick Gerakines
    Remembering Peshtigo
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