New Victim Information Posted: Alcock, Anderson, Bausman, Bosher

In the page on the people who died in the Richmond Theater fire in 1811, I have added new information about the following victims: a young boy by the surname of Alcock, Margaret Anderson, Adeline Bausman, and Polly Bosher.

It is important in any disaster to humanize the victims by remembering that these were real people, not just numbers in a history book. For example, Margaret Anderson was a young girl and the daughter of a headmaster, Leroy Anderson. He wrote a heartbreaking letter about his loss to a friend, US Congressman Matthew Clay. In it, he had the horrible task of breaking the news to Clay that his daughter, too, was dead.

Richmond, 31st Dec 1811. My truly unfortunate friend, By the mail of this mornning [sic], I received together your communications of the 28th and 29th inst. No human heart knows how to sympathise [sic] with you more feelingly than mine; but be assured, that after the lenient hand of time has, in some degree, soothed the anguish that now tortures your mind, you will less regret the painful disappointment which it becomes my duty, in answer to your last, to give your fond parental wish. Your beloved Mary, on that fatal night wore no ornament that could resist the action of the devouring element. It was the same case with the amiable Miss Gatewood and Miss Gwathmey. My own child, dear little innocent, had buckled round her neck that morning, a double gold chain, attached to a locket, with the inscription, “The gift of grand papa.” By this, her beloved relics were distinguished; and a communication of the circumstance, made in the kindest and most delicate manner by one of the committee. At first, precisely the same thought occurred to me that seems so forcibly to have influenced you; but after mature reflection, I determined, and oh glad am I, that I did! To consign her remains to the common tomb of her companions. My note to Mr. Temple, on this occasion, a copy of which I annex, will best explain to you my sentiments and feelings on this subject. Farewell, my dear friend; may Heaven tranquilise [sic] and console you.” [As published in the Richmond Enquirer of 1/11/1812]