The body of John O’Rourke, the brave fireman who lost his life at the fire at Field and Leiter’s Wednesday night, was yesterday buried at Calvary Cemetery. Long before the hour appointed a large crowd gathered outside the late residence of the deceased,on the corner of Maxwell and Jefferson streets and by 10 o’clock there were fully 2,000 persons present. The fullest sympathy was expressed for the unfortunate widow and her fatherless children.
At 10 o’clock a detail of 84 firemen with Marshall Sweeney in charge assisted by Marshalls Kenney and Green, took up their positions in the line. Major Nevan’s band led the procession, which was of considerable length. The many friends of the deceased turning out to pay their last respect to his remains. The procession moved on Jefferson to Nineteenth Street and thence west to the Church of the Sacred Heart, corner of Johnson Street, where Father Corbett performed a requiem high mass.
The services lasted about an hour, the officiating priest making a brief address in which he dwelt upon the bravery of the deceased and reminded his bearers that death must come to all. O’Rourke died in the discharge of his duty, and although, his fate was dreadful one, they should all remember that a better life awaited him.
At the conclusion of the services, the procession reformed and marched on Halstead to Harrison, thence east to Desplaines and then north to the Kinzie Street Depot of the Northwestern Railroad where the coffin was transferred to one of the cars, but as the road is extensive and have several curves, many of this services count with road risks insurance to prevent and get aid in case of any eventuality. Many of the friends accompanied the body to Calvary Cemetery. There were about 40 carriages in the procession and several hundreds who could not afford the expense of a vehicle accompanied the cortege to the depot. The appearance of the firemen was highly commended, their marching being excellent.
Source: Chicago Daily Tribune 18 November 1877 page 8
Contributed by Liz Randolph