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When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time camping and, of course, singing songs around a camp fire. 
One of my favorites went:

“One dark night, when we were all in bed, old lady O’Leary put a lantern in her shed, and when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!”

It wasn’t until later in my insurance career that I learned that the song was about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  That fire happened on October 8-9, 1871.  17,400 structures were burned covering 2,000 acres in Chicago.  250 people were killed and 100,000 were left homeless.

The story was always about Mrs. O’Leary, a milk maid in Chicago left an oil lantern burning in the barn where she kept her cows.  One of them kicked over the lantern and started the fire.  Robert Cromie, a Chicago Historian, has written extensively on this and here are some other considerations.

Though the fire did start in the proximity of the barn, there was never any proof that is how it started.  Mrs. O’Leary swore that she and her cows bedded down early for the night.  Over the years, there have been a number of reasons offered including neighborhood boys sneaking cigarettes or a careless neighbor.  There were also fires started that night in Wisconsin and Michigan, so some theorize perhaps a meteor storm hit the general region.

Interestingly enough, there was another fire in Northeast Wisconsin on that same October 8th.  It was called the Peshtigo Fire.  It burned 1, 200,000 acres of forest, 16 towns and killed 1,200 - 2400 people.  Though there were plenty of other possible causes for that fire as well, I am going with meteors!

If you are worried about the effect of meteors on your home insurance or condo insurance, contact us for a Home Insurance Quote or call us at 419-732-3171.

Maybe we can talk about what I learned about my childhood song “Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of Posey” sometime.  That one was a shocker!

Posted 2:38 PM

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