Mrs. O'Leary

Mrs. O'Leary

The Chicago Evening Journal of October 9, 1871, claimed that the fire was caused by "a cow kicking over a lamp in a stable in which a woman was milking." Although this newspaper contained no illustrations, this contemporary drawing printed by the Kellogg & Bulkeley Company could very well have accompanied the Journal account of the fire. The drawing was entitled somewhat erroneously "The Cause of the Great Chicago Fire Oct. 9th 1871" and included the ominous sub-title: "A Warning to All Who Use Kerosene Lamps: Never forget that more lives have been lost, and more comfortable homes burned up by a Careless Use of this light than any other ever introduced into common use." Mrs. O'Leary gained instant (but unwanted) fame after the Chicago Fire. This picture at least portrays her in a sympathetic manner. Other artists weren't nearly as kind.