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Zadah & Zella Hobson - (1894)


Posted By: Pat Hochstetler (email)
Date: 3/1/2008 at 18:28:09

Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa
January 19, 1894, page 7


The two Children of Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Hobson Meet that Terrible Fate at Their Home in Des Moines.

Word came to Winterset by telephone last Saturday forenoon that the dwelling house occupied by Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Hobson and their two children, two little girls, Zadah, little past three years of age, and Zella, between one and two, had burned, causing the death of their little ones.

The family moved to Des Moines only about a year ago. Mr. H. is a son of ex-Coroner J. M. Hobson, and his wife is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Morris, of this city. They lived at or near the corner of West 6th and Chestnut streets.

The facts of the terrible catastrophe, as nearly as can be known, are about as follows: Mr. Hobson had gone to his work in the morning as usual, leaving the family all well and happy. They lived in the second story, the lower rooms, or basement being occupied by other parties. About 11 o’clock Mrs. Hobson stepped over to a neighbor’s house, about twenty feet away, on an errand, leaving the baby by the sofa, and the other child just inside the kitchen. She was gone but a few moments, in fact did not sit down at all, but stood with one hand holding the door while she spoke of the object of her call. When she got back to her own door she was horrified to see smoke and flames issuing from the room where the children were left. The alarm was given. She tried desperately to fight her way into the room and rescue the children, but to no avail. Firemen and others were soon on the scene. One fireman, after repeated efforts, searching three different rooms, finally found the dead bodies of the children, charred and blackened with the fire. They were in the same room in which their mother had left them.

Two theories were held with regard to the fire. There was no fire in the room when Mrs. Hobson left. One theory is that they got possession of matches and in their play struck them, and accidentally set fire to their clothing or some combustible material in the room. Another theory is that the fire originated in the basement rooms occupied by others, and found its way through the floor. But the real facts can never be known.

The grief of the distracted parents was heart-rending. Death in any form is terrible in such a form its terrors are aggravated a thousand fold. The remains were brought to Winterset for interment, and the funeral services were held in the Methodist church Sunday afternoon. The sympathy of the whole community for Mr. and Mrs. Hobson is heart-felt and sincere. Every kindness was shown to them that could be shown. Yet none but those who have met affliction, can realize how little even the sympathy of friends and neighbors can assuage grief, grateful as it is to the wounded heart.


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