...he couldn't swim... ...I seized my son... ...was at the wharf...
Mrs. Anna Fitzgerald of 5216 West Twenty-third place told of saving herself and son, Edward, 5 years old, from the Eastland wreck. She watched her husband go down, but clung to her son. Her husband, William Fitzgerald, was missing, and she said he was drowned.
"The three of us were on the deck, and we were thrown into the water," Mrs. Fitzgerald said. "I seized my son, Edward, while the boat was tipping, and after we struck the water I clung to him around the neck. We drifted toward the wharf, and I caught hold of some piling and half pulled myself up.
"I shoved little Edward up to some men, who reached down and grabbed him. That was the last time I saw him, but I know he was saved. I clung to some piling until some men pulled me up. My husband disappeared after I struck the water with my boy, and he was drowned, for he couldn't swim."
Son William Walter Fitzgerald had to be at work and could not accompany his family to the picnic. He was at the wharf as the tragedy claimed the lives of his father and younger brother.
Please direct questions and comments to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1998-2003 Eastland Disaster Historical Society. All rights reserved.