EDHS News and Updates

"The 844": Joseph Went Without His Brother Edward

Chicago, Illinois -- The following individuals lost their lives in the tragic Eastland Disaster and are amongst "The 844" victims. We remember: Grandt, Clara (age 12); Gustafson, Theodore (27); Jacobsen, Oscar I. (27); Jagoda, Stanislaus (18); Jakubowski (Jackson), Ignatz (16); Jamieson, Charles (age unknown); Jannisch, Anna F. (Mrs. Fred) (20); Jarzembowska, Antoinette (19); Jaszka (Joschko), Emilia (18); Jaworski, Julia (16); Jaworski, Martha (21); Jelen, Wladuslawa (Lottie) (18); Jilek, Josef (24); Johnson, Edward (19); Johnson, Elizabeth (Mrs. J. N.) (27); Johnson, Elna V. (21); Johnson, Esther Randine (3); Johnson, Eva (19); Johnson, Gustaf Ander (36); Johnson, Harry B. (23); Johnson, Ida K. (Mrs. Louis) (33); Johnson, Louis H. (42); Johnson, Nels Peter (60); Johnson, Thomas (53); and Peternell, Joseph (28).

Joseph Peternell came to the United States from Austria in 1903. In 1910 he was living in the Hawthorne area of Cicero, Illinois with his widowed sister Mary, her two children, his mother Maria, and his younger brother Edward. Joseph loved and cared for his family deeply; he contributed all of his earnings to support the entire household.

Both Joseph and his brother Edward worked at the Western Electric Company, and the two brothers had planned to attend the Hawthorne Works employee excursion and picnic together on July 24, 1915. Edward, who was dating Susan Jordan at the time, changed his plans at the last minute and went out on a date with Susan instead.

Joseph decided to still go downtown Chicago to attend the picnic and excursion. He boarded the S. S. Eastland that fateful day and sadly never returned home to his family.

After the Disaster, Western Electric gave Joseph's niece a job. It was common for many of the Disaster victims' families to have the opportunity of a job at Western Electric after the tragedy.

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