Little Miss 1565

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Google Little Miss 1565

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Birth: Mar. 17, 1938
Death: Jul. 6, 1944

On the sultry Thursday afternoon of July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, approximately 8,600 persons, most of them women and children, entered the Big Top tent of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus to watch the performance. Shortly after the show began, a small fire broke out along the side of the Big Top, and quickly spread to the roof of the canvas tent, which had been waterproofed with paraffin thinned with white gasoline. As the fire quickly raced over the top of the tent, the panic-stricken audience began a desperate stampede to escape from the few entrances. In less than ten minutes, 168 persons had been killed and over 480 persons severely injured. Two women, a man, and two children were burned beyond recognition, and are buried in the Northwood Cemetery in unidentified graves. One small blonde child, about 8 years old, and identified only with the coroner’s number 1565, was never identified despite a complete lack of burns and no damage to her face. No one claimed the body, despite widespread publicity and publication of her photo in nationwide magazines. The fire is described in detail in the book, “The Circus Fire: A True Story” (2000) by Stewart O’Nan. The cause of the fire was never determined, although in 1950, a man confessed to setting the tent on fire (his account is inaccurate, and no evidence against him could be found). In 1991, Fire Lieutenant and Arson Investigator Rick Davey wrote in his book, “A Matter of Degree” (1991), that he had identified Miss 1565 as Eleanor Emily Cook, daughter of Wesley W. Cook and Mildred Corintha Parsons Cook, however, author Stewart O’Nan disputes this identification, claiming discrepancies in the dental records. She is currently buried in the family plot as Eleanor Cook, next to her brother, Edward, who also died in the fire. Mildred Cook was severely burned in the fire, and thus, was unable to identify her children. The site of the fire, the vacant lot bounded by Barbour Street, Cleveland Avenue, Hampton Street and Kensington Street, is now the Stowe Village Housing Project (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)Cause of death: Harford Circus Fire
Northwood Cemetery *
Hartford County
Connecticut, USA
*Former burial location
Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Apr 29, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 21931

Joe added this

I actually remember sitting with my grandmother as she was listening to the news reports and saying her rosary.
The old house was on route 6 which was one of the main roads to Hartford at the time. I remember a steady stream of ambulances going by the house on the way to Hartford. I was not quite 4 years old at the time.
Never did go to a circus even 70 years later!!!!

A day in the life of Alphonse and Rose

July 6th 1944

Click here.

This picture is much more than just a picture.

Rose and Alphonse

I have more pictures to show you if I get the permission to show them.

This I can show you though.

It’s a picture of a granddaughter.

I can’t recall who sent it.

Ann Bérubé

Ann Bérubé



I know Alphonse and Rose must have been devastated when they broke the news about Ann.

article about Ann Bérubé


How I met your ancestors? – Episode One: Montreal 1964

13 or 26 episodes?

I still don’t know if I should go that far and risk boring you to death about how I met your ancestors.

How I met your ancestors?

With this death certificate!

 acte de deces leo lagace senior

Honest! My grandfather Léo Lagacé’s death certificate.

This is exactly how I met your ancestors back in 2009. Before I saw this death certificate I knew nothing about my grandfather’s family, nor his father, nor his mother, nor his siblings,…let alone how I could link him with his famous ancestor André Mignier dit L’Agacé.

Soldier of the Régiment Carignan-Salières Illustrator Francis Back

soldier from the régiment de Carignan
artist Francis Back

The only thing I knew was that he had a brother named Adélard seen here with his wife Émilienne Côté and their three daughters.


famille Adélard Lagacé

Author’s personal collection via an old aunt

The death certificate was sent to me in 2009 by Val d’Or Lagacé, who at that time, was the secretary of the Association des familles Lagacé-Lagassé inc. Val d’Or is now the new president. I never met Val d’Or in person only through this death certificate which opened the door to my search for my unknown Lagacé ancestors.

There was a name on that death certificate:

Nom de la mère (mother’s name)


That had to be the surname of my grandfather’s mother.

And there was her given name…


The hunt was on for H. Alexandre and for my grandfather’s ancestors!

Léo Lagacé and two of his sons in 1933

Montreal, 1933
My grandfather Léo with his two sons, one of which was my father

Author’s personal collection


Finding your ancestors was the easy part.

Stopping was the hardest part. And it still is.

Pierre 1949

Moi… on the hood of a Hudson taxi cab in 1949
Author’s personal collection

Let’s roll!