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IRVINE, Matilda 'Tilly' 1857-1880


Posted By: S. Ferrall - IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 1/12/2022 at 16:51:07

Poor Tillie Irvine - In the opinion of the 'Davenport Democrat' there can be no doubt whatever that the Miss Tillie Irvine who was burned to death with the destruction of a building at Fort Collins was the estimable woman by that name who formerly lived in that city. In fact she was reared at the home in Davenport for the orphans of union soldiers.

She was brought to the institution when a child, with a little brother and sister, and remained there until she became of an age when the law requires the orphans to leave the home and make their own way. After departing from the institution she found a good home with the family of Mr. John L. Mason, of that city, where she proved an honest, industrious cheerful young woman, and Mr. and Mrs. Mason became warmly attached to her.

She attended the city high school for some time, and then entered Lillibridge's commercial college, from which she graduated with high honors - all the while having her home at Mr. Mason's. In February, 1879, she, with Miss Lizzie Wagner and Miss Fletcher, went to Denver, believing they could obtain profitable employment there. Miss Irvine worked in Denver, copying and keeping books until three months since, when she went to Fort Collins.

Two weeks since a letter was received from Miss Irvine by a lady friend in Davenport in which she mentioned the fact that she slept over the store. The ill-fated young woman had quite a number of acquaintances in Davenport who deplore her death and feel shocked at the awful manner of it.

Miss Irvine was brought to the Orphans' home from Lansing, Allamakee county, Iowa. She was about twenty-two years of age at the time of her death.

~Weekly Rocky Mountain News, February 18, 1880

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The following additional particulars of the awful death of Miss Tillie Irvine, mention of which was made in these columns last week, we find in this week's 'Davenport Democrat':

Mr. A.L. Welch states to the Denver Tribune that his mother and Miss Irvine were in a room together, the former having just recovered from a severe attack of typhoid fever. When they were aroused by the flames, they found themselves cut off from escape through the hall, they being in an up-stairs room; Mrs. Welch urged Miss Irvine to jump out of the window to the awning below, but Miss I. replied "No, I will not until I have dressed myself." Mrs. W. again urged her to fly from the danger and jumped out herself and was almost killed.

The 'Fort Collins Courier' says:
Mrs. Welch heard Miss Irvine exclaim "My God what shall I do?" the last words she was heard to utter. Whether in contemplation of her awful situation, she swooned or became bewildered, and was unconscious of what was passing is not known. She does not seem to have made any effort to save herself, which she cou'd have done by following Mrs. Welch.

Her remains were found directly under the room she occupied. Within fifteen minutes from the time the fire was discovered the walls fell in, and the whole mass was enveloped in one sheet of flame. Not a single thing was saved, not even the wearing apparel of those who escaped.

Miss Irvine was a quiet, modest, unassuming lady of about 23 years, who by her lovable characteristics had won the regard and high esteem of all favored with her acquaintance. She was industrious, painstaking, diligently laboring with marked success to discharge the duties of her position - that of book-keeper. Miss Irvine had been in Mr. Welch's employ about eight months, and had won, by her assiduity and correct methods, the confidence and esteem of her employer.

But two brief hours before the dreadful disaster which put out her young life, in a conversation with a friend, she modestly disclosed her plans for the future, giving directions, if anything should happen to her, for the disposition of her savings and how she wished to be buried.

Miss Irvine had no relatives in [Fort] Collins; but a fond mother living in Yankton, Dakota, is probably at this moment mourning over the untimely death of a loved one, miles beyond her reach.

Miss Irvine was buried in the 5th inst. under the auspices of the Good Templars, and it is said that a suitable monument is to be erected over her grave.

~Lansing Journal, Wednesday, February 25, 1880; pg 8

Note: The transcriber does not have access to the February 18th issue referred to in the above news article.


Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins, Larimer co., CO
Died in the Welch Block Fire
07/14/1857 - 02/03/1880
22 yrs 6 mo. 18 days
(source: findagrave memorial & gravestone photo)


See her entry on the Allamakee co. Orphan page - link below:

Irvine children

Allamakee Obituaries maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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