Title: Firefighter
Birthdate: 1855
Death Date: February 9,1888
Plot Location: Section 101, Lot 2, east part, south line

Screenshot (2004)

There were ten children in Bob’s middle-class family as he was growing up. Five of the six boys learned the stone cutting trade from their father. Not all of them stayed with it, though, including Bob.

The family home was at 2206 Locust Street where he lived and went to work with his brothers and father. Looking for a change, he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department in November of 1881. Two years later, in November of 1883, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Kirkpatrick walked the aisle at Ninth Presbyterian Church to become his bride. They started their married life at 801 South 18th Street, then moved to 5th Street to be closer to his station.

Bob responded to a fire on February 2, 1888 at a five-story brick building on 6th Street. One of the four businesses operating there was a pants and children’s clothing factory for the Wanamaker Department Store. He helped carry a hose to the fourth floor but it wasn’t noticed that he was missing until after the fire was out. 

A search and rescue team went to the fifth floor where part of the roof had fallen in. They discovered a closet almost hidden from sight by a pile of debris. They found him inside, slumped over, where he had suffocated. His chief gave this reaction to a reporter:

The sadness felt by Lizzie was compounded by the fact that she was seven months pregnant with their only child. Robert Jr. was born April 9. Just ten months and two days after that, her baby boy died of meningitis. It was only 12 years later that she died of a stroke at age 42. All three share the gravestone picture here in the first section of the Yeadon side.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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