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 Eleanor Emily “Little Miss 1565” Cook

Eleanor Emily “Little Miss 1565” Cook

Birth
Death 6 Jul 1944 (aged 6)
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 21931 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 Apr 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21931
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eleanor Emily “Little Miss 1565” Cook (17 Mar 1938–6 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21931, citing Northwood Cemetery, Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .