Fire! Murder! Was Grim Tale of Earlier Times [1893]: No solution but one suspect left town, another hanged for eastern crime
Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 18 Sep 1947, 75th anniversary supplement, p. 70
Media Type
Item Type
Extract from the reminiscences of Mrs. L. A. (nee Esther Dunshee) Bower [Mrs. Lorin A. Bower], 1216 Ashland Avenue, regarding a suspicious fire east of the alley between Ninth and Tenth Streets [in 1893]. The house was occupied by a family named Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler's mother-in-law had been murdered and the house set on fire. Wheeler was not convicted, but was ostracized, and he left Wilmette for Colorado.

Mrs. Bower suspected that a man known as Henry H. Holmes, aka Dr. H. H. Holmes [born Herman W. Mudgett], was behind the murder/arson. Holmes had been accused of killing his wife's uncle on the south side to collect insurance on his life. Evidence had been insufficient at the time to hold him. Holmes had married a Wilmette woman [nee Myrta Z. Belknap] and built a house known as the Wilmette Inn, also known as the Holmes House. Mrs. Bower believes that much of the lumber used in the construction of the house was stolen from across the street where Mrs. Mary E. Gates (mother of the late Henry B. Gates) was building a house just south of the present Congregational Church. Holmes was indicted for murder later in Philadelphia. He was convicted and hanged. He left a wife [Myrta Holmes]and a daughter [Lucy Holmes] about seven years old in Wilmette. Library owns a complete transcript of the original reminiscence written in June 1941
Date of Publication
18 Sep 1947
Personal Name(s)
Bower, Lorin Mrs. (Esther Dunshee) ; Holmes, Henry Howard ; Holmes, Lucy ; Holmes, Myrta Belknap
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to United States law. No restrictions on use.
Wilmette Public Library
Agency street/mail address:
1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930
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Fire! Murder! Was Grim Tale of Earlier Times [1893]: No solution but one suspect left town, another hanged for eastern crime