EDHS News and Updates

"The 844": Spotlight on Eastland Victim Charles Bender

Chicago, Illinois — Beginning this week, the Eastland Disaster Historical Society will be commemorating the lives of "The 844" victims who perished in the Disaster in 1915.

This week, we honor and celebrate the lives of the following 16 people who were among The 844 who perished in the Eastland Disaster:

Marya Adamkiewicz (age 9); August Adler (29); Caroline Schroth Affeld (36); Marie Albertz (20); Lena Albrecht (17); Kathryn Allen (25); Hattie Althaler (22); Allen Anderson (4), Alfred Edward Anderson (36), Anna Selina (Mrs. Alfred Edward) Anderson (35), Maurice Alfred George Anderson (7); Anna Anderson (26); May C. (Mrs. Gustav) Anderson (38); Otto E. Anderson (43); Robert Axel Anderson (22); and Charles C. Bender (22).

Charles Bender was one of The 844. Charles (pictured below) worked for his family at the grocery store they owned which was located very close to the Western Electric Hawthorne plant in Cicero, Illinois.

On the fateful morning of Saturday, July 24, 1915, Charles was to take the steamer Eastland across Lake Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana. From there, his plan was to board a train to Shallowboy, Michigan to visit his girlfriend, Pauline Olach for the weekend. 

Charles boarded the Eastland, but sadly never made it to Michigan City or Shallowboy. He perished when the ship rolled into the Chicago River. His body was later found under a piano on the ship.

Read more about The 844 and other passengers here.

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