THE PESHTIGO FIRE (PT 1 OF 2)
First- my apologies to Wisconsinites for my pronunciation of Peshtigo, which should see an accent on "Pesh"., not "Ti" as I have done. I relied totally upon visual research and not audio. The story: On October 8, 1871, an area of Northeastern Wisconsin half again the size of New Hampshire was utterly destroyed by a cyclonic wildfire which was being driven by winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Somewhere between 1500 and 3,000 people were killed, and the damage to farms, homes, and livestock was beyond measure. Twelve communities were literally wiped out. The little town of Peshtigo suffered the most fatalities. On that same day, far away from Peshitgo, a cow kicked over a lantern in Mrs. O'Leary's barn in Chicago, starting a conflagration that destroyed most of that city. It was Chicago that received all the headlines- yet the Peshtigo fire still stands and America;s deadliest fire ever. This includes the eyewitness account of the Catholic pastor Father Perrin- whose account served as the basis for the handful of articles and books that followed. We offer this episode parts 1 and 2 in the memory of those who suffered loss in the Peshtigo Fire.
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