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Charles Oscar Norby 1883-1922


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 4/28/2011 at 19:39:52

C. O. Norby Loses Life In Tuesday’s Fire
Burned to Death When Fire Destroys Three Business Buildings
Body Is Recovered Later
Loss by Fire Estimated at $50,000.00 – Partly Covered By Insurance

Chas. O. Norby lost his life in a fire yesterday that destroyed the C. E. Cavin building, corner of Seventh and Lincoln streets, occupid by the E. M. Brenneman jewelry; the H. H. Tosdal building, where the fire started, occupied by the Norby & Gleason Self Serve grocery, and the A. A. Bixby building in which Pettit Bros. had their meat market and grocery. The second floor of the Tosdal building was occupied by Dr. D. J. Linebarger, chiropractic, and H. G. Delaney, photographer. Flats over the Brenneman jewelry store were occupied by Henry L. Fritz and Russell Henneman. The Brenneman jewelry stock was carried out and partly saved. Although damaged to a great extent. The household furniture of Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Fritz was carried out by friends and their loss is not so great. They were in the country visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grover McCall when the fire started but came to town as soon as notified. All the furniture of Russell Heneman was saved but damaged by being carried out. Nothing was saved from the Norby & Gleason Self Serve grocery store where the fire started from an overheated furnace. Pettit Bros. met with the same fate and did not save anything from their meat market and grocery. The saddest of it all is the death of Chas. O. Norby, one of the proprietors of the grocery. When the fire alarm came in Mr. Norby was notified at his other place of business on south Sixth street and hastened there to assist if necessary in removing the stock. H. W. Thompson, who conducts a garage on south Sixth street rushed out of his place of business when the fire whistle blew and met Mr. Norby just as he turned into the alley back of the First Trust and Savings bank and watched him run down the alley to the back door of the store and go inside. This is the last seen of him alive. It is presumed on entering the store he rushed to the basement and soon after four firemen, Roy Jones, Curt Youman, Bert Baldwin and J. P. Koster arrived at the back door and entered. They also started for the basement but about this time an explosion took place and flames poured forth from the basement entrance. Mr. Jones and Mrs. Youman were severely burned. The large plate glass front was blown out and by this time the entire store was on fire. People standing in front of the building were blown from the walk by the force of the explosion and many were injured. Leo Brawford was severely cut about the head and body and taken to the Estherville where it was found he had a severe cut on his neck, barely missing his jugular vein, Chas. D. Bixby had a cut on the back of his head and several others were slightly injured. The explosion came from a small barrel of kerosene in the basement and the force was terrific. The fire company was on the job in a very short time and worked hard to save the buildings. Zero weather made their task a hard one but they never flinched. They climbed to the top of the Groves block and fought hard with two lines of hose to extinguish the flames and succeeded in keeping them under control and saved the Groves block and the Edwards Feed barn but it took courage and hard work to do it. Bystanders were in the street suffering with the cold but what must the firemen have suffered with their clothes drenched with water and covered with ice. The boys are deserving of a lot of credit for the manner in which this fire was handled.

Chas. O. Norby, who lost his life in this fire, was one of the popular young business men of Esthrville. He had spent nearly all his life in this city. He was widely known on account of this business experience and his friends were legion. It was only yesterday that we called at his place of business, found him in his always happy disposition and when we left he said, “Come back again. I want to see you this afternoon.” Little did we think it would be our last words spoken to Mr. Norby. This is the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. Something over which we have no control. It was the tragic end of a well spent life. Mr. Norby was thirty-nine years of age, right in the prime of life. He is going to be missed by his daily business associates as well as at the family fireside. He leaves a heart broken wife and two fatherless children, an aged mother and two brothers to mourn his shocking death.

The body was recovered from the debris about 5:30 last evening. It was lying on its side facing the south. From the position of the body he evidently realized he was being overcome by smoke and endeavored to find his way out but fell just as he reached the stairs leading to the room above.

Funeral services will be held in the Presbyterian church at three o’clock Friday afternoon and interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. (Estherville Democrat, Estherville, IA, December 13, 1922)

The Funeral of Chas. O. Norby
There was a very large number of friends and relatives in attendance at the funeral of Chas. O. Norby Friday afternoon. There were many beautiful floral pieces and the grief of those present was sincere.

Rev. Gilbert Voorhies delivered a very comforting sermon to the sorrowing relatives. The Estherville quartette consisting of Messrs. Ed. and Selby Broms, Fred Albertson and Mr. Manthey sang two selections, favorites of the deceased.

Interment was made in Oak Hill cemetery, George Letchford, Fred Kilgore, Hans Sconberg, Henry Graaf, Ed Strube and Walter Gleason being the pall bearers. The first four were former employers of Mr. Norby.

A large delegation of the Elks lodge were in attendance at the funeral and accompanied the body to its last resting place. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, December 20, 1922)

Mrs. Clara Lawrence returned to her home in Ames Monday after having been called here by the death of Chas. Norby. She is a sister of Mrs. Norby and Mrs. Jay Howard. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, December 20, 1922)

Among those from out of town who came for the funeral of the late C. O. Norby, were his sister, Mrs. Brown and brothers Will, of Williston, N.D., and George Norby of Shovely, Minn., also Mr. and Mrs. Frederickson of Sherburne, Minn., and Mrs. Ham of Ottawa, Ill. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, December 20, 1922)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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