EDHS News and Updates

"Survivor Story": Charles Carroll and Irene McDonald

Chicago, Illinois -- Charles Patrick Carroll was a 32-year-old electrician at Western Electric Company and Irene Mary McDonald was a 20-year-old Western Electric Company employee when they survived the Eastland Disaster together.

Charles and Irene eagerly made their way to the upper deck of the cranky ship to enjoy the scenery of the Chicago River and watch people board the ship. When the Eastland began to roll into the river, Charles saved their lives by helping Irene grab onto the ship’s railings. Together, they clung to railings until rescuers assisted them off the capsized ship and onto the docks.

A few months after the horrific disaster, on November 25, 1915, Charles and Irene married each other in Chicago, Illinois. They lived in the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago and had six children together: Mary Rita (Nov. 10, 1916-unknown), Rose Anna (Oct. 17, 1918-Feb. 4, 1921), Thomas Joseph (Dec. 25, 1920-Jan. 30, 2012), Charles Patrick (Jan. 5, 1923-May 28, 2004), Donald Francis (Mar. 27, 1927-Apr. 2, 1977), and Grace Ann (Jul. 24, 1932-Jan 9, 1986).

Charles was born on December 31, 1883, to James and Rose (nee McCabe) Carroll. Charles died on August 31, 1934, in Cicero, Illinois. Irene was born around 1895 in Chicago, Illinois, and died about 30 years after her husband.


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