The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.
the old men and the weaklings should take the work in hand.  They did it willingly enough, but had they refused the troops on guard would have forced them.  It was ruled that every man physically capable of handling a spade or a pick should dig for an hour.  When the first shallow graves were ready the men, under the direction of the troops, lowered the bodies, several in a grave, and a strange burial began.  The women gathered about crying.  Many of them knelt while a Catholic priest read the burial service and pronounced absolution.  All Thursday afternoon this went on.

In this connection the following stories are told: 

Dr. George V. Schramm, a young medical graduate, said: 

“As I was passing down Market Street with a new-found friend, an automobile came rushing along with two soldiers in it.  My doctor’s badge protected me, but the soldiers invited my companion, a husky six-footer, to get into the automobile.  He said: 

“‘I don’t want to ride, and have plenty of business to attend to.’

“Once more they invited him, and he refused.  One of the soldiers pointed a gun at him and said: 

“’We need such men as you to save women and children and to help fight the fire.’

“The man was on his way to find his sister, but he yielded to the inevitable.  He worked all day with the soldiers, and when released to get lunch he felt that he could conscientiously desert to go and find his own loved ones.”

“Half a block down the street the soldiers were stopping all pedestrians without the official pass which showed that they were on relief business, and putting them to work heaving bricks off the pavement.  Two dapper men with canes, the only clean people I saw, were caught at the corner by a sergeant, who showed great joy as he said: 

“’I give you time to git off those kid gloves, and then hustle, damn you, hustle!’ The soldiers took delight in picking out the best dressed men and keeping them at the brick piles for long terms.  I passed them in the shelter of a provision wagon, afraid that even my pass would not save me.  Two men are reported shot because they refused to turn in and help.”

Many of the dead, of course, will never be identified, though the names were taken of all who were known and descriptions written of the others.  A story comes to us of one young girl who had followed for two days the body of her father, her only relative.  It had been taken from a house on Mission Street to an undertaker’s shop just after the quake.  The fire drove her out with her charge, and it was placed in Mechanics’ Pavilion.  That went, and the body rested for a day at the Presidio, waiting burial.  With many others, she wept on the border of the burned area, while the women cared for her.


On Friday eleven postal clerks, all alive, were taken from the debris of the Post Office.  All at first were thought to be dead, but it was found that, although they were buried under the stone and timber, every one was alive.  They had been for three days without food or water.

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The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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