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Newspaper Page Text
When the $50,000 is paid today in
the City Hall at Elgin it also will
cover doctor and hospital bills for, 40
persons, victims, of the epidemic of
last summer. Out of the $50,000 will
be taken the funeral expenses and
doctor bills paid for the 22 who died.
"With the payment of the $50,000
under the workman's compensation
law the Elgin company hopes to
close the "incident" that threatened
during the sweltering days of last
August to devastate the factory col
ony of 3,500 watch workers.
The epidemic broke June 1 and
raged until mid-August, when nine
victims were stricken in one day. It
began to subside when the watch
company on June 19 cut off the
source of the deadly plague the old
artesian well and gave its employes
pure city water to drink.
Elgin is a poor place to seek in
formation about the plague that left
22 families' in mourning and brought
sorrow and, in many cases, poverty
to the homes of 40 watch workers.
Tp tell tales out of the, factory is
to get fired, and Elgin is a town of
practically one industry watch
making. This is what Mrs. George Parkin
of Grove avenue, a former employe
of the company and wife of a watch
"I was one of the first victims of
the epidemic. "We didn't know what
ihe sickness was. The doctors didn't
seem to know at first, i Many of the
boys and girls were stricken at their
work tables; they would just topple
.over; then they would rush them off
"in taxicabs to the hospitals. It was
-awful to see the poor things stagger
ing down the steps; we knew many
of them would never come back.
"I was home, fortunately, when I
was taken sick. I thought I was poi
soned. Boils and sores broke out? on
my back and my face was covered
with brown patches. Then the fever
.came. I had to rive un work and pti
to the hospital. My Husband was J
sick enough to go, too, but ha just 1
had to keep at work. I was in the
hospital three months and two days.
I have been home a couple of
months, but I am still very weak and
the doctor is stilt attending me.
"I was dropped from the payroll
the day I reported sick. The com
pany is still paying' my doctor bills,
but the loss of work makes it very
hard for us."
A watchmaker named Cruse
mourns the death of a daughter, wb,o
naa Been employed in tne factory.
The family is in destitute circum
stances, some of his fellow workers
say. Cruse asked the company for
aid at Christmas. He was told he
should be glad to have his doctor
bills paid. He has not claimed dam
ages for her death and he is not on
the list of beneficiaries to be paid
A woman who lives across St.
Charles street from the watch fac
tory said: "I had read about the
Eastland I used to think of it when
I'd see those poor girls "and boys,
and some of the old women, come
out of the factory and totter to the
taxicabs that were waiting for them.
I'd see them going in in the morning
so bright and happy and in a few
hours they would be half carried out
marked by death."
s At this time it was possible only
to get 12 names of the 22 who died
from the epidemic. The names are
those of the victims whose families
have filed death claims against the
company" Their damages have been
definitely fixed. Att'y Geo. D. Car
berry, representing the family of Ru
fus W. Webb, managed to get the
highest claim for his clients. The
Elgin National Watch Co. will try
and recompense the Webb family fof
the loss of their principal breadwin
ner by paying out $2,900.
The other eleven victims are: Jas.
O'Rourke, Kathryn Gruno, Anna
Syring, Agnes Nicoll, Chas. Heldt,
Wilda Pruden, Martha Beth, Esther
Range, Emil F Block, Wilbur J.
Smith and Edith Anderson. The